"Just Buy Something"


That was a headline of a story on Real Money (disclosure: I write for them), on the day the Dow managed to get through 11,000 for the first time since June 2001.

As financial advice, I found it stunningly irresponsible — at the very least, suspect.

But it got me thinking — like magazine covers, perhaps headlines can also be a tell as to the general gestalt of market participants.

So let me ask you: Have any particular headlines stood out to you? Are they the big mainstream publications (WSJ, NYT, WaPo, FT, CNN) or smaller MSM (LAT, BusinessWeek, BBC, CSMonitor, Wired, The Economist) or online sites (Slate, MarketWatch, TheStreet.com, News.com) or even Blogs?

I’m curious if this was a one off, or the start of something more significant — and possibly telling.

Please use the comment section to post your favorite — include headline, publication and URL. I’ll gather a list of the best and republish it later this week . . .

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

31 Responses to “Astonishingly Irresponsible Headlines”

  1. Michael says:

    The morning daily newspaper top headline (above the fold) is “Dow back above 11,000″, subheading Investors riding wave of enthusiasm, showing interest in technology stocks.

    Also Dow 11,000 was 3rd story, 10 minutes into ABC World News Tonight and the 2nd story on Today Show with Katie asking Alexis Glick if it was too late to buy.

    When general news sources pick it up, we’re within spitting distance of some kind of a top.

  2. when they are yelling

    you should be selling


    understanding markets
    a speculator WAITS till he KNOWS he is right, meanwhile a gambler constantly guesses
    one must have a plan, with fixed rules, patience & DISCIPLINE, to be able to implement ones plan
    almost everybody, knows next to nothing, about the mysteries of money
    learn, what not to do, then work on, what you need to do
    work on the real deal, and know how you are going to get paid

    Duncan Robertson

  3. Colin says:

    Well, something that did perk my ears up today was when a guy on the morning show I listen to was talking about jumping into the market and making some easy money. When casual conversation on a non-news radio program turns to stocks — the first time I have heard such talk in literally years — it makes me uneasy.

  4. Michael C. says:

    “Just Buy Something”

    I don’t even have to guess. It smells and tastes like JJ Cramer.

  5. Emmanuel says:

    I think that you’re writing for the wrong group of people, Mr. Ritholtz, if you’re looking for realistic assessments of the market. Here’s another wonderfully titled piece from Real Money:

    “Don’t Overthink This Market: It’s Best to Follow the Money, Not Fundamentals”

    Yipes! These guys might be the cyber-equivalents of CNBC.

  6. Roberto says:

    Barry I am not a fan of realmoney.com or thestreet.com, mostly because of things like this and the relentless pumping of stocks by Cramer & Co, but I am really starting to gain some respect for you. Kudos to you for pointing this out and I gave you hat tip at my blog. Keep it up.

  7. Huckleberery says:

    I haven’t seen any great headlines today… but I’ve gotten a little concerned with thestreet.com having Lenny Dykstra making stock picks the past few months.

  8. todd says:

    After soaking in the financial media over the last few days I have compiled a Bull/Bear look at the market for 2006. According to market makers, these areas are looking…

    -commodities in general
    -large caps
    -mid caps
    -small caps
    -technology in general
    -US stocks in general
    -housing (soft landing)
    -luxury consumer goods
    -heavy industry
    -Latin America
    -international stocks in general

    -US auto makers

    WAIT >>>> Update 1/9/06 – GM upgraded by Goldman Sachs. LOL


  9. Cappy says:

    I found this CNNMoney article very telling:


    Basically they recommend to the couple to take out 500k home equity to buy:

    36% Large Cap Stocks
    27% Foreign Stocks
    18% Small Cap Stocks
    10% Bonds
    9% Other

    Meanwhile they are going to have to be paying a lot of money to service their 500k loan :)

  10. B says:


    I couldn’t believe that link. That guy should have his CFA license revoked. To take bubble profits, which will surely diminish and put them in the stock market when every single second year of the Prez cycle has been rocky and statistically has a high probability of declining is the most irresponsible thing I think I have ever read.

    And Bush wants to privatize SS? What? So we can rely on this advice for the only retirement many will have with the end of defined benefit pensions………….

  11. rob says:

    Cramer better watch out before he loses Rev Shark and with his departure, half his subscribers. thestreet.com has become a mess.

  12. stockman says:

    Rev Shark is good. Thoughtful, one of the least emotional unbiased trader/writers out there. I can come here for Barry, but if the Shark left I would have no reason to continue with Real$. Too much good information out there. I agree with your comment rob.

  13. Roberto says:

    I agree on Rev Shark. I always wonder why he stays.

  14. Uncle Jack says:

    Smart Money magazine:

    “Ignore the bears and dig in”

    The cover photo is on my blog:

  15. The Stalwart says:

    Headline of the Day

    Just Buy Something!–found on Realmoney.com by Barry Ritholtz. Shocking, but then again not shocking, from a Cramer publication. Funny how he’s cries of Buy, Buy Buy get louder as the market moves higher.

  16. GRL says:

    I read that CNN/Money article linked by Cappy, telling the 46 year old couple to take out a $500,000 arm to refinance their $250,000 first, 30,000 HELOC and remaining debt, and put the remainder into stock and bond index funds.
    Yuck, yuck, yuck.
    It’s not so much the arm that concerns me. Yes, it’s true, it’s a $500,000 time bomb that could explode if interest rates spike upward. However, the possibility of, say, a dollar crash notwithstanding, a huge spike up in interest rates is not the most likely outcome. Indeed, people like Bill Gross seem to think short term rates, at least, will go down and long term rates may follow, at which point the couple can refi their arm.
    What does concern me is the advice to invest in index funds. If people like Barry and, say, John Mauldin (http://www.2000wave.com/archive.asp) are right, index funds are going to turn out to be the absolute worst way to invest in the next ten years. Mauldin suggests some kind of “absolute return” investment, which index funds definitely are not. In any case, the fundamental assumption the article makes, that over the long run stock returns are going to exceed the interest rate on the mortgage, is open to extremely serious question. For a more realistic assessment of future index fund returns, check out John Hussman’s commentary (http://www.hussmanfunds.com/weeklyMarketComment.html).

  17. royce says:

    That CNN link is incredible.

    “This is very aggressive,” says Van Slyke. “For them to catch up, they’ve got to be unconventional.”

    Yeah, and if one of them loses a job, they could be in danger of losing their home as they struggle to meet a mortage payment that is twice what they’re paying now. You can almost hear the gears clanking in this guy’s head. If they’re sure enough the market will tank, they should simply sell the house and move into a rental until the market cools.

  18. David Silb says:

    CNN Money has “As Goes January” meaning as goes January so will the rest of the year. This superstition continues and in fact maybe at one point it held some water. Probably when it took a longer period of time to collect data. Now, maybe we should put this one to rest. Except for CNN Money:


    Michael Sivy states, and I quote:

    “The January bellwether may not tell you anything about the actual economic data. But it does give you some genuine insight into how investors feel.”

    Of course until, Spring, Summer, Natural Disaster, Aunt Sue comes along and changes how they feel.

    Myths and Legends, how they persist. I sometimes ever wonder how we got out of the cave at all.

  19. David Silb says:

    WOW I read that article:


    Scary stuff. Sure, you can make money, but we all here are not reading a market that will support such an action. LIONS, TIGERS, AND BEARS… OH MY!!!!

    Very spooky, I wouldn’t do it and for that matter I would never use an ARM to finance anything.

    Everybody did ARM’s and look where we are now. Way up in debt and everyone I talk to are waiting to take profits out of Real Estate. Waiting!?! If you can get profits take them. For the life of me I can not believe how greedy people get.

    Oh man I smell trouble, burnt toast and wrecked lives just around the corner.

  20. B says:

    3,000 real estate brokerage offices close in Shanghai. Wanna see the benefits of what this a**hole at CNN/Money is recommending?


  21. John says:

    Re: RealMoney, I no longer subscribe, but I do find it valuable to scan the headlines for bullishness. Yesterday, just screamed “sell” with the aformentioned headline and the heavily skewed Bullish vs. Bearish ticker “scorecard”.

    We will have our moment when the jackass with the cowboy hat says “buy Google”.

  22. muckdog says:

    Some people are always bullish or always bearish. So I don’t read too much into them from a contrarian point of view. I like to see what the market timers are saying. Especially the ones who underperform the SP500 over time.

    Also, the crowd is only wrong at the inflection points. They tend to get it right in the middle of the trend. Since “everyone” seemed very bearish on the minor pullback we had from November-December, I don’t read too much into the New Found Religion by bears converting to bulls just yet.

  23. Steve says:

    I’ve subscribed to RealMoney for 4 years and found it to be very worthwhile. In addition to Barry R., on a fundamental basis, you’re not going to get much better than Bob Marcin. Go back and check his stock picks over the past 3 years. You would’ve made good money following them without much risk. David Merkel is wonderful with macroeconomics and value stocks. John Reese did a scorecard on his picks last year and they beat the S&P by over 15%.

    As far as technical analysis, Helene Meisler is excellent. Likewise, I appreciate Jeff Cooper – I bought below S&P 800 on July 24, 2002 thanks to Cooper. Cooper is one of the few people who has actually made a lot of money trading his own account. He was referenced in an earlier post here, regarding the article “Don’t Overthink This Market.” Anyone critical of that article doesn’t understand its point: it’s fine to have an opinion and a framework, but the market consistently proves all of us wrong. You have to be able to trade what you see.

  24. David Silb says:

    Somebody bring the popcorn this is getting good.


  25. Ned says:

    From the MSN Money site: 17 stocks that always go up.

    There’s a responsible hedline.

  26. Ned-

    I see how that headline could be misleading but don’t allow it to influence your view of Markman. I’ve followed him now for a couple of years and his swing trade service is top notch.

  27. Steve Bowles says:

    Todays one again on RealMoney rates up there as well

    Trading the Nasdaq Breakout
    History tells us that the index could deliver an explosive move, and that investors shouldn’t wait for a pullback.

    Yep thats right, were up 120 points in a week and 360 points in the last 6 months, but nows the time to buy.

    Idiots – havent these stock pumping clowns ever heard of trade location

  28. Ned says:

    I think Markman is good too. Have learned plenty from reading his stuff. Just thought the headline was over the top.

  29. Michael says:

    Forbes cover Funds to buy in 2006
    Fortune cover 25 solid gold stocks and funds
    Smart Money cover 7 great funds

  30. Michael says:

    Gary B. Smith leaves the Street.Com to open a hedge fund.

    WSJ bonuses are highest since 2000/2001 and the markets did virtually zip in 2005.

    Wow who sez they don’t ring a bell?