Posts tagged ‘The Reformed Broker’

Turkey Stuffing, Wall Street Style

There will be no shortage of turkey stuffing this year, thanks to a story from Joshua Brown’s The Reformed Broker site (Wall Street Turkeys…Full of Stuffing).

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, which turkeys did journalist Terry Keenan roast?

Timothy Geithner: A fledgling economy and aggressive fiscal measures have painted a big target on Geithner’s back. I don’t fall into the “let’s lynch Geithner” camp, but Keenan feels “It’s a fair bet President Obama’s least-popular appointed official won’t be around to roast next Thanksgiving. “

John Thain: The former Merrill Lynch CEO and Bank of America executive who spent $1.2 million redecorating his Manhattan office made the list too. The man referred to as “I-Robot” may be difficult to cook, but regardless the article claims he is seeking to find employment running a different public company in the mean time.

Larry Summers: As the Director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, Mr. Summers has done a respectable job of flying below the radar, but not low enough to escape his past as Harvard University’s President (and the associate poor performing endowment).

Jeffrey Immelt: GE is no weakling, weighing in around $170 billion in market cap, but Keenan highlights the fledgling performance of NBC over the last two decades as reason to stuff this turkey.

Vikrim Pandit: The CEO of Citigroup survived a tumultuous period in 2009. Keenan however underscores how:

“His image suffered a big blow at the hands of Andrew Ross Sorkin, who paints an unflattering portrait of Pandit in his best-selling book, Too Big to Fail. If Pandit can’t play the “source game” to his advantage, it’s hard to see how he’s up to the much tougher task of reviving Citi’s fortunes.”

Now that we’re done with the turkey, could you please pass the stuffing.

Wade W. Slome, CFA, CFP®

Plan. Invest. Prosper. 

DISCLOSURE: Sidoxia Capital Management (SCM) and its clients own certain exchange traded funds (including VFH), but currently have no direct positions in BAC, GE, or C. No information accessed through the Investing Caffeine (IC) website constitutes investment, financial, legal, tax or other advice nor is to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. Please read disclosure language on IC “Contact” page.

November 25, 2009 at 2:08 am Leave a comment

The Halloween Indicator Buried at Cemetery in 2009



Statisticians, economists, speculators, and superstitious investors have been known to get spooked by scary patterns. Tomorrow marks the end of the menacing six month period of supposed underperformance that starts in May and ends on Halloween. The so-called “Halloween Indicator” has popularized the expression of “sell in May and walk away.” The indicator obviously has not followed the alleged tendency in 2009, as there has been more “treat” than “trick” for investors over the last six months. The S&P has rallied about +22% (excluding dividends) with only one day left in the trading period. Numerous academics have studied the phenomenon and not surprisingly there is some debate regarding the validity of various studies (see past study) – differing opinions have risen to the surface, depending on the number of years compiled in the data.

Here is what Mark Hulbert at MarketWatch had to say on the subject:

“Over the Dow’s history up until the last 12 months, there were no fewer than 17 occasions (15% of the years) in which both the winter months turned in a net loss for the stock market and the summer months produced a gain. There furthermore were 45 years (41% of the time) in which the stock market during the summer period did better than it did over the winter months that immediately preceded it. So the stock market’s performance over the last 12 months is hardly exceptional. It would take a lot more than the recent seasonal missteps to convince a statistician that this long-term pattern has stopped working for good. “

Other calendar effects besides the Halloween Indicator include, the January Effect, Monday Effect, and Presidential Cycle. Even though some pundits point to evidence supporting calendar effects, in many cases the data is proved to be statistically insignificant.

With Halloween just around the corner, here’s Sidoxia Capital Management wishing you a larger bag of treats rather than tricks in your quest in following calendar effects.

Wall Street Halloween Costume Ideas:

Short of ideas for Halloween costumes this year? No need to fear. Here are a few bloodcurdling Wall Street costume ideas with the help of Joshua Brown at The Reformed Broker and our friends at Forbes:

Bernanke Mask

Top Ten Scariest Wall Street Halloween Costumes

 Forbes Halloween Masks

Halloween Index:

For those that would rather get there treats from the stock market rather than a candy bowl, perhaps you may find a sweet idea from Stockerblog’s Halloween Stock Index.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Wade W. Slome, CFA, CFP®

Plan. Invest. Prosper.

DISCLOSURE: Sidoxia Capital Management and client accounts do not have direct positions in any of the Halloween Stock Index companies with the exception of long positions in WMT for some Sidoxia accounts. No information accessed through the Investing Caffeine (IC) website constitutes investment, financial, legal, tax or other advice nor is to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. Please read disclosure language on IC “Contact” page

October 30, 2009 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

The Yuppie Bounce & the Lemming Leap

Source: Gary Larson – Where’s Your Preserver?

Source: Gary Larson – Where’s Your Preserver?

Making money in the stock market is a tough game, and most people don’t beat the market because like lemmings the average investor follows the herd mentality to underperformance. So, should Wall Street analysts and the media be crucified for their analysis? The short answer is yes. Certainly there are some exceptional analysts and journalists, however most of them merely report what is happening or are looking in the rear-view mirror. Beyond that, the vast majority of commentators prey on emotions of the public and masses by pushing them into knee-jerk selling panics at the bottom and also getting them frothing at the mouth to buy at market peaks. Can I understand why they offer such bad advice? Yes. Quite simply, the incentive structures are wrong.

If you are an analyst or journalist, the number one priority (incentive) is not to be wrong, because if they are mistaken, then job loss becomes a bona fide risk. However, if they throw in some fancy language and mix it in with a lot of caveats, there virtually is no risk of being wrong. If factors happen to change, no worries, their opinions can change too. Therefore, most analysts huddle together in tight packs reporting the same news du jour as everyone else, while mixing in a fair dosage of fear and greed to drum up more interest. These incentives align well for the journalists/analysts but unfortunately not for the average investor.

Joshua Brown over at the Reformed Broker recently wrote an excellent piece highlighting his so-called “Yuppie Bounce” example. Last winter, as all the discretionary consumer stocks (Joshua Brown calls them “waster stocks”) were getting pasted, the pundits were advising investors to pile into defensive stocks. Lo and behold, this was the absolute worst time to follow that advice. Mr. Brown gives a superb Starbucks (SBUX) versus Wal-Mart (WMT) example showing how SBUX has effectively doubled over the last nine months just as WMT flat-lined.  

Source: The Reformed Broker (Joshua M. Brown)

Source: The Reformed Broker (Joshua M. Brown)

Investing is like a game of chess, so although a current move may sound logical, it’s more important to think about decisions multiple steps into the future. Most successful long-term investors don’t follow the conventional lines of thinking, and they are generally swimming against the tide. Therefore, if you are going to jump in with the other lemmings, make sure you have your life preserver with you.

DISCLOSURE: Some Sidoxia Capital Management and client accounts HAVE direct positions in WMT at the time the article was published. No information accessed through the Investing Caffeine (IC) website constitutes investment, financial, legal, tax or other advice nor is to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. Please read disclosure language on IC “Contact” page.

September 1, 2009 at 4:00 am 1 comment

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