Friday, August 1, 2008

Maria, Meredith, and Investor Psychology.

I caught the replay of Maria's interview with the very bright Meredith Whitney who is the financials analyst over at Oppenheimer. I said long ago that Oppenheimer should lock her up to a long term contract as she is top notch. The only one on Wall St. with a brain and some balls to call it like it is. I suggest the other banking analysts look up the word emasculate as it seems fitting.

Some may ask why do you watch pompom TV (CNBC) when you complain about them so much. Well, for starters, there are very few financial journalists at the network. Most are just pretty faces, cheerleading what they pick and choose, towing the line, afraid to ask pointed questions. Maria had a perfect opportunity yesterday with her Greenspan interview, not to embarrass but to challenge and question past policies and statements of the former Fed Chair yet failed miserably. But rest assured her network will hype the interview as bold and cutting edge. They, Maria and her lot, seem afraid of angering the guests and more inclined at the ingratiation game. What a shame.

As to why I watch CNBC. I watch because it is reflective of the general lumpinvestorate, which is a good gauge for me to judge current investor psychology. You disagree? In the Maria/Meredith interview Maria asked the following question regarding the financials. Can these stocks go back to their old highs, in 3, 4, 5 years. Regular readers know I often complain how the average investor measures his bargains by how many points from the top it has sold. You also know I have said that you can learn more by someones questions than by their answers.

This being said here is Maria, just like the average stock market investor, still fixated on the old highs of these stocks. This is an identical replay of the dot com and tech debacle. Everyone was buying those stocks, QCOM, NT, and JDSU to name a few, at 30-50% off their highs. Dreaming of sugar plums and riches when these stocks returned and bettered these old high water levels. Well, we know what has happened since. Yet here we have Maria Bartiromo, the money honey, acting just like the masses. Now you know why I watch, as the pretty people anchors mirror the market sentiment.

Other than that an interesting part of the interview was when Maria asked Meredith if she thought Lehman would survive and Meredith hummed and hawed and finally said "I don't know?" Ya think she was scared of Lehman sicking the lawyers after her making her life miserable.

I continue to remind you all do not listen to these bottom callers. The bottom will be very visible in hindsight. You can miss the first 10, 15 or even 20% of the up move because if it is for real, there will plenty available for us all. It also would serve us well to remember that the bottom will come when all have given up trying to call it, and even then many new names will rise from the ashes. Look at tech, and who rose out of the ashes of that mushroom cloud, Google, Baidu, names that were not even around in any meaningful way in 1999-2000. Something to think about as shill, after shill, after Cramer, after shill continually harp the bottom is in.

Good speculating to you all and no matter what anyone tells you, never ever forget that "an investor is a speculator who made a mistake and will not admit it".

Open Positions:
Long 6 units Currencyshare Japanese Yen ticker FXY @ $88.55 stop at $91.40
Long 4 units Currencyshares Swiss Franc ticker FXF @ $97.70 stop at $93.82
Long 1 unit Ultrashort Dow ticker DXD@ $50.12 stop at $58.62
Long 1 unit Ultrashort QQQ ticker QID @ $37.05 stop at $42.87
Long 2 units Hecla Mining ticker HL @ $8.50 stop at $8.09
Long 2 units Ultrashort 20yr Treasury ticker TBT @ $67.85 stops at $69.24/68.32
Long 1 unit Ultrashort Financials ticker SKF @ $119.60 stop at $114.38
Short 1 unit Int'l Bus Machines ticker IBM @ $129.05 stop at $131.54


Raj said...

Thanks for your posts as I enjoy reading them everyday. Great point on how bubble TV continues to (mis)lead people. Indeed the most interesting moment yesterday was when the commentators were waxing enthusiastic over a mere job loss of 51,000 and how positive it was for our economy. While I enjoy reading your comments, I wonder whether some of the subjects of your comments also read and enjoy them. I hope they do.

Also, are you following SRS as well as SKF since Commercial RE is on its way down as well.


Harleydog said...


I appeciate your kind words. I agree that the constant spin by the pretty ones on pompom TV can be fascinating. As for them reading, well, I would be so lucky if the glitterati of finance read little ol' Prudens Speculari.

as for SKF and SRS they are both long time acquaintances of mine who I would take out for drink if I could, as that's the least I could do for them given what they have done for me $$$.

to say I follow them closely wold be an understatement. I have no current position in SRS and was just stopped out of SKF late Friday afternoon.

I expect to be involved with both again soon but as always I will let the tape tell me when.

thx for reading and taking the time to post a comment, much appreciated.