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Beware Wall Street’s Happy Talk
Posted By Barry Ritholtz On January 7, 2009 @ 9:15 am In Financial Press,Humor,Markets,Psychology,Really, really bad calls | Comments Disabled
Over at Marketwatch, Paul Farrell sifts through a book (sitting on my shelf) and pulls out these embarrassing quotes.
15 reminders of how happy talk misled us a decade ago
- October 1999: James Glassman, author “Dow 36,000.” “What is dangerous is for Americans not to be in the market. We’re going to reach a point where stocks are correctly priced, and we think that’s 36,000 … It’s not a bubble. Far from it. The stock market is undervalued.” (Fact: dot-com PE’s were astronomical, most over 40)
- December 1999: Joseph Battipaglia, market analyst. “Some fear a burst Internet bubble, but our analysis shows that Internet companies account for only 7% of the overall Nasdaq market cap but carry expected long-term growth rates twice those of other rapidly growing segments within tech.” (Fact: Internet Index lost two-thirds within six months.)
- December 1999: Larry Wachtel, Prudential. “Most of these stocks are reasonably priced. There’s no reason for them to correct violently in the year 2000.” (Fact: Nasdaq lost 50% in 2000.)
- December 1999: Ralph Acampora, Prudential Securities. “I’m not saying this is a straight line up. I’m not saying you can’t have pauses. I’m saying any kind of declines, buy them!” (Fact: He also predicted a 14,000 Dow by year-end 2000, and an 11-year bull.)
- February 2000: Larry Kudlow, CNBC host. “This correction will run its course until the middle of the year. Then things will pick up again, because not even Greenspan can stop the Internet economy.” (Fact: This faux economist is still hosting a cable show.)
- April 2000: Myron Kandel, CNN. “The bottom line is, before the end of the year, the Nasdaq and Dow will be at new record highs.” (Fact: In September he even predicted a rally to 12,000 by election day 2000.)
- September 2000: Jim Cramer, Mad Money host. “SUNW probably has the best near-term outlook of any company I know.” (Fact: Within four months Sun Microsystems dropped from $60 to $30. Down to $10 in a year. Below $3 in two years.)
- November 2000: Louis Rukeyser on CNN. “Over the next year or two” the stock market “will be higher, and I know over the next five to 10 years it will be higher.” (Fact: The market continued sinking, we fell into a recession, and tech lost 70% within two years.)
- December 2000: Jeffrey Applegate, Lehman Strategist. “The bulk of the correction is behind us, so now is the time to be offensive, not defensive.” (Fact: A sucker’s rally.)
- December 2000: Alan Greenspan. “The three- to five-year earnings projections of more than a thousand analysts, though exhibiting some signs of flattening in recent months, have generally held firm. Such expectations, should they persist, bode well for continued capital deepening and sustained growth.” (Fact: In 2008 he admitted he misled America.)
- January 2001: Suze Orman, financial guru. “In the low 60s here, I think the QQQ, they’re a buy. They may go down, but if you dollar-cost average, where you put money every single month into them, I think, in the long run, it’s the way to play the Nasdaq.” (Fact: You lose — the QQQ lost 60% more by October 2002.)
- March 2001: Maria Bartiromo, CNBC anchor. “The individual out there is actually not throwing money at things that they do not understand, and is actually using the news and using the information out there to make smart decisions.” (Fact: Maria sounds more like a writer for The Onion.)
- April 2001: Abby Joseph Cohen, Goldman Sachs. “The time to be nervous was a year ago. The S&P then was overvalued, it’s now undervalued.” (Fact: The markets continued down for another 18 months.).
- August 2001: Lou Dobbs, CNN. “Let me make it very clear. I’m a bull, on the market, on the economy. And let me repeat, I am a bull.” (Fact: The market was actually in bear territory for another year as the Dow and Nasdaq lost another third.).
- June 2002: Larry Kudlow, CNBC host. “The shock therapy of a decisive war will elevate the stock market by a couple thousand points.” (Fact: For Larry, war is just another “economic stimulus program.” He also said the Dow would hit 35,000 by 2010.)
The Folly of Forecasting 
Apprenticed Investor Series
The Street.com, 06/07/05 – 01:05 PM EDT
Don’t buy Wall Street’s latest con 
Paul B. Farrell
MarketWatch, 7:14 p.m. EST Jan. 5, 2009
Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog
URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/01/beware-wall-streets-happy-talk/
URLs in this post:
 The Folly of Forecasting: http://www.thestreet.com/_tscana/comment/barryritholtz/10226887.html
 Don’t buy Wall Street’s latest con: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/15-reminders-Wall-Streets-con/story.aspx?guid=%7B1983C24D%2D6988%2D4645%2DA2F0%2D9422397777F7%7D
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