Stock picking is dead; long live stock picking!

As human beings, we have a tendency to look backward instead of forward. 

Psychologists have illustrated this tendency with experiments demonstrating hindsight bias and recency bias.  Nowhere does this seem more evident than with respect to economics and, particularly, the stock market.

As support, see the Wall Street Journal’s article today: ‘Macro’ Forces in Market Confound Stock Pickers

The article’s point is that stock pickers, with a few exceptions, have not shined brightly in their performance over the last couple of years as macro-economic “forces” have over-whelmed stock picking ability.

Fair point, but only if we drive best by looking through the rear-view mirror instead of the windshield.

It’s true, gold, U.S. Treasuries and cash did best over the last two years.  It’s true, too, that bonds and cash have beat stocks, as a whole, over the last 12 years. 

But, that’s history, not the future.  As Warren Buffett put it, if the past were the best guide to the future investments, librarians would be the billionaires.  They are not.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the title of the article, too.  Confound.  CONFOUND!  The word means overthrow, defeat, ruin according to my Oxford English Dictionary. 

Not a reference to short term under-performance; not a temporary set-back that may reverse; not in contradiction to all financial history; but, confound! 

Isn’t this from the same popular press that said Warren Buffett was washed up in 1999 because he didn’t “get” the Internet?  Aren’t these the same folks that fawned over the housing boom and how home prices could never go down?  Check, and check.

And, now, they’ve pronounced stock picking is ineffective, done, washed up.  To me, that sounds like an excellent reason to bet that stock picking is about to come back in a major way.

Remember, the popular press called for the Death of Equities in 1979, just 3 years before the greatest, 20-year bull market in history. 

It may not happen tomorrow, or even the day after, but a headline like that leads me to believe that stock picking is about to experience a renaissance.

Stock picking is dead.  Long live stock picking!

Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, financial, tax, or legal advice. The opinions, estimates and projections contained herein are subject to change without notice. Information throughout this blog has been obtained from sources believed to be accurate and reliable, but such accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

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Stock picking is dead; long live stock picking!