Here’s Why Technical Analysis Gets a Bad Rap

There are a lot of people who don’t believe in the merits of technical analysis. It doesn’t make sense to them that you can look at past price movements and determine future price movements. If stock prices are driven by earnings, how can a chart provide any insight? Well, yea, stocks are driven by earnings…

Caught Up in the Minutiae

The recent Wall Street Journal article, The Dying Business of Picking Stocks, has generated a lot of buzz over the last day and a half. Despite the tidal wave of money going out of stock picking and into indexes, and the thousands of articles that accompany them, it’s still not entirely clear what it means to be…

Genius Does Not Always Understand Itself

Today on The Halftime Report’s fifth anniversary show, legendary investor Carl Icahn was asked for his thoughts about the market. At one point he says that he looks for “things that are obvious, but not apparent.” I thought this was an interesting sound bite, but what does that really even mean?  While many of the…

When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain

A good litmus test for whether or not I enjoyed a book is to go back and see how often I marked it up. This one passes the test, my pen got a lot of exercise during the reading of  Giles Milton’s When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain. I’d guess just 10% of…

Looking Back at the End of a Secular Bear Market

This week in 1982 marked a major milestone in the history of the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 1,000- its highest levels in nearly a decade- and it was on the precipice of saying sayonara to a 16-year bear market. A new secular bull market was right around the corner and…

A Spec of Sand on a Long Beach

Over the weekend I listened to Russ Roberts’ interview with Jason Zweig, who made an excellent observation of how vast the financial markets are and how little time investors spend thinking about this: I think if there’s one overriding theme to the book, one of the things I’ve tried to get across in The Devil’s…

Forget Investing Like Buffett, Try Investing With Him Instead

John Hempton recently wrote an excellent piece about why nobody can even come close to replicating how Warren Buffett invests. He notes that even the acolytes don’t pass the sniff test: Find any investor who models themselves off Warren Buffett and look at what they do. And look at their investments against a twenty punch…

The Difference Between Life Insurance and Credit Default Swaps

Every day, shortly before nine o’clock, a man with a red hat stands in a square and begins to wave his cap around wildly. After five minutes, he disappears. One day, a policeman comes up to him and asks: “What are you doing?” “I’m keeping the giraffes away.” “But there aren’t any giraffes here.” “Well,…

They All Have One Thing In Common

All of the great investors, from Seth Klarman and Howard Marks to Warren Buffett and Phil Fisher, have one thing in common- their ability to clearly communicate their philosophy. Great investors need to be masterful in delivering their message in order to see their clients or partners through difficult times. Jack Bogle rightfully gets all…

Beating Your Own Investments

Add Julian Robertson and Howard Marks to the long list of billionaires that are less than optimistic about the future. All the reasons they cite are unfortunately very compelling, but pessimists always sound intelligent. You can probably count on one hand the number of investors that were actually able to capitalize on their pessimism. But…