“The hope balloon is losing air. It points to how on-edge everybody is and how much emotionalism is still involved.”
-Henry Herrmann, chief executive at Waddell & Reed Financial


The above is only one of several oddities in the Abreast of the Market column in this morning’s WSJ. I am compelled to comment upon this, as it reflects a classic money losing strategy endemic to fund managers and traders.

The subhed of the article is Tepid Upturns Haven’t Stopped the Slide; ‘Hard to Make a Cheery Story’ and therein lies the basis of so many people’s losses: Denying reality, trying to make a bad story cheery.

We are always at the bottom, it seems. It is always a great entry into stocks, and valuations are the cheapest in years. We are at the depths of the recession (again); the housing bottom is here (again and again), the economic turn has come. The selloff means a snapback rally is coming any moment.

Rather than embrace the downturn, with all of the chaos induced opportunity it presents, too many people are trying to manage the narrative of the markets. They are fighting the tape, not going with it. Being an optimist should not preclude you from being a realist.

During the boom, you were exhorted to ignore the worst Employment cycle since WWII. Nevermind the reality of the now deceased Goldilocks economy. Pay no attention to the surprisingly low rates — they are a conundrum, not a warning. Ignore the $100+ oil, Core Inflation is never a problem. As things started to slide, we were told that subprime was contained, that the rest of the world would decouple from the US, that leveraged derivatives were merely fantasies of the Doom and Gloomers. And when the fit hit the shan, the immediate instinct was to buy the dip.

Why? Its a function of the long-only complex that is Wall Street. Mutual Fund have no choice but to embrace every dip as a buying opportunity; fee-based bulge bracket firms are too colossal to nimbly to take advantage of the disruption; they can’t possibly get stopped out to avoid much of the blood shed.

What did BlackRock, one of the biggest (long only) management houses, manage before the crash, a trillion plus dollars? If they had market stops in place, what would 500 billion hitting the market as a stop loss do? It might take the Dow down 1000 points at the open.

Hence, why we see BlackRock’s CIO on CNBC’s Squawk Box for what feels like everyday for a year. Is it just me, or is he always talking about what a great buying opportunity this has been? I haven’t seen all of his appearances — just the ones where he likes stocks. If this keeps up, he may become the David Lereah of investing, as its always a great time to be buying stocks.

In investing, Hope is a four letter word. It reflects wishful thinking, not sober analysis. It is a function of your book, not an objective read of reality.

And its killing many investors.



Market’s ‘Hope Balloon’ Loses Air
Tepid Upturns Haven’t Stopped the Slide; ‘Hard to Make a Cheery Story’
WSJ, FEBRUARY 17, 2009


Category: Markets

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.

46 Responses to “Hope is a Four Letter Word”

  1. Joe P says:

    I like this bit about not trying to manage the narrative of the market, Barry, but please stop worrying about what anybody says on CNBC. The investors who are getting “killed” by believing what they hear from Wall Street & CNBC are getting what they deserve, and there are probably not that many of them left out there. And none of them are reading your site. The very fact that they’re here proves they’ve learned. You can’t expunge PR from the world, so keep up your good work & let the BlackRock guys say whatever they want on CNBC More importantly, address this question: is this finally the moment where gold ends its lull & goes parabolic?

  2. Bruce in Tn says:

    What is the one word definition of life? It is not hope, it is Change.

    If you are alive, things change….

    Most of us resist change, and Henry Herrman is no different from any of the rest of us…what should we do here? What must be done…Embrace the change that is occuring..

    There is a new trend in town..and the trend is still your friend..

    …then go have a beer.

  3. Ben says:

    This rant seems like a sign of a short-term bottom. The more you get on your high horse, the more I want to buy. We did manage a 50% rally following the 1929 crash – why will this time be different? Seems like when all these government programs kick in, most notably the TALF, there will be some intermediate term good news for all that cash on the sidelines to get excited about. $1 trillion in credit hitting the market is going to have some impact and it seems like we’re at least stabilizing end demand (i.e. retail sales are up sequentially in January). Now it will be a rally built on a house of cards, but that is another story. Now is the time to get in ahead of the government reinflating the credit bubble rally.


    BR: Talk about missing the point!

    Go back and reread some of the comments for the past 18 months — we heard the exact same thing the whole way down.

    Fade me at your own risk . . .

  4. microcap says:

    This is an important post. Despite its brevity, it really captures the mistakes that the mainstream investment community always makes. As Todd Harrison says, “Hope is not a viable investment strategy”, which is right up there with “The Culture of Optimism” for pithy descriptions of the investment world.

    I would like to add my favorite to the pantheon: “See things as they are, not as they were and sure as hell not as you wish them to be!”

    Jay Weinstein
    Oak Forest Investment Management

  5. wally says:

    “What did BlackRock, one of the biggest (long only) management houses, manage before the crash…”

    The fad for equities as ‘the’ way to make money is a recent thing. Well, I guess it happened in the late 1920s, too. If all your eggs are in one basket, you had better be watching that basket, as Mark Twain observed. Given that concentration, a funds manager who did not really have the antenna out for potential market disruption was being irresponsible.

  6. dead hobo says:

    Money has to go somewhere. The choices are limited. Stocks, bonds, real estate, investment capital, mutual funds, nutty derivitives, commodities, and mattresses. Treasuries are stable, in spite of the ponderings of pundits, because of this simple fact. Where else is it going to go? Uncle Bernie? Treasuries will collapse when people have another place to put their cash that offers more stability. Name one right now.

    I learned two valuable things in my younger days.

    The first is that the only people who don’t make mistakes are the people who don’t do anything. Personally, I’ve always detested the smart ass who sat in the back and joined the winning side of the moment, providing the appearance of action. Hope is a precursor to action. Hope introduces risk. Risk is what successful economies are built on, (if managed correctly, unfortunately). Hope without potential energy is the stuff of soap operas. Hope with the potential of action, right or wrong, is what gets new ideas going. Hope followed by action is an engine.

    Hopelessness may be fun to write about, but it’s not hard wired into the human brain. It won’t happen.

    The other thing I learned is ‘never play some else’s game’. That doesn’t apply here, but it was mucho valuable to learn. Boy, have I kicked ass with that one.

  7. miamiocean says:

    What struck me in September 2008 during the Congressional TARP debate was the lack of reporting which focused on longer term trends in the stock market. As a complete finance neophyte who had a sudden and self-interested surge in my interest in the markets, I was obsessed with financial blogs and read everything I could find online about stock market history. The chart that affected my decisions in September the most was one that showed the secular bull and bear market cycles over 100 years.

    Looking at that chart, I realized that the majority of financial wizards expounding their theories had never experienced a secular bear market. Their understanding of market dynamics and economics began in the 1980′s. As a fifty-something baby boomer, I looked at my retirement account and realized that a secular bear market with a 3-5% return over the next 8-15 years could not replace a 40-80% loss in my portfolio, let alone grow it to the point which I had planned. Especially since my budget has forced me to decrease my contributions significantly. I took my 14% loss in September and for the first time in twenty years moved my position from a mix of stocks and bonds to two treasury-backed money market funds to preserve capital. I called all my friends and family to explain to them my thinking and why I felt this crisis would be much deeper and longer than any we have seen in our lifetimes. No one believed me.

    One reality that is never discussed is that 401k plans are very restrictive in the number and types of mutual funds available to the investor. Financial wizards can talk all day long about hedging investments toward certain commodity or sector markets, however these strategies are not available to most people with a 401k. The other reality that is never discussed is the dollar cost averaging hype. Most investors with a 401k do not contribute large amounts of money each month. If you do the math and look at a 40% drop in a 401k portfolio and the true likelihood of purchasing a few shares at lower prices a month over a year to overcome such a large drop, you come to realize that the only strategy possible would be to significantly increase 401k contributions at the lower market prices during a downturn. This is not possible at a time when most household budgets are at the tipping point.

  8. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Ben Says: (8:26 am):

    “. . .We did manage a 50% rally following the 1929 crash – why will this time be different? ”

    The 1929 crash was exactly that – a crash. The amount of time it took to unwind the speculative bust was very short, compared to what is happening now.

    This is more like a wasting disease than a crash. Long, drawn-out, relentlessly painful, and probably fatal (to our system of government/finance).

    You might call this doom and gloom, and that’s okay with me – I don’t, and never did, drink (poisoned) kool aid.

    Bottoms up.

  9. Steve Barry says:

    For those seeing a rally…do you realize that 10 and 21 day moving average on market put/call are both at 3 year LOWS?…you need them at 3 year HIGHS to get any sucker’s rally here. QQQQ short ratio is a laughable 5 hours!!!!

  10. Steve Barry says:

    CNBC seems to have bet the franchise on Cramer…good luck with that.

  11. ottovbvs says:

    Well there isn’t going to be a cheery story is there for most of the next year. Earnings will remain depressed, the banking system will remain on life support, the economy will continue to perform a couple of trillion bucks below optimum capacity. Until the fundamentals start to shift we’re stuck in this limbo. That said it’s possible to be too pessimistic. For those who like long like me there are some bargains out there. Cat for example is basically back to its pre-split 2001/2002 recession levels and is in my opinion a bargain. And there are other sectors out there like energy and energy services which are completely on the floor but are going to recover unless you think the world economy is never going to recover. Personally I will be surprised if we’re not seeing some US uptick by early next year. I actually believe the stimulus injection is going to have some impact, I’d like to have seen more concrete, but to pretend that $750 billion is not going to some impact is weird. Caution is needed but the sky has not fallen, nor will it.

  12. ottovbvs says:

    Marcus Aurelius Says:

    February 17th, 2009 at 8:56 am
    This is more like a wasting disease than a crash. Long, drawn-out, relentlessly painful, and probably fatal (to our system of government/finance).

    You might call this doom and gloom, and that’s okay with me – I don’t, and never did, drink (poisoned) kool aid.

    …….Actually you’re drinking kool aid now. It’s just a different brand called Overshoot.

  13. dead hobo says:

    Steve Barry Said:
    February 17th, 2009 at 8:58 am

    CNBC seems to have bet the franchise on Cramer…good luck with that.


    In spite of Cramer’s bombast, I’ve always liked him. I have a couple of his later books. I like them because they encourage people to think before acting, and continue thinking afterward. If you know how to listen to him, there’s some value to be found. If you take his bombast at face value, it’ll cost you. But he also warns people not to do that. So if anyone loses money due to Cramer, they only have themselves to blame.

    That being said, What Has Happened To CNBC? I tuned them off a couple of months ago and I seem to have more hours in the day now. (Unfortunately I waste too many of them here) The last time I watched, I saw Kudlow and a couple of other heads beating up some guest they invited on the show. It was in the afternoon, not during Kudlow’s nighttime vanity display (is that still on?). Nobody would let the poor guy get a word in. If I were a pundit and I wasn’t selling anything, I would think twice about guesting there.

  14. Steve Barry says:

    @DH: Cramer is a bundle of contradictions…he may say “think before acting” in a book somewhere…but does a nightly segment where someone mentions a stock and, without much reflection, Cramer blurts out buy or sell…and when he talks about a stock, you can see his followers immediately pump it up after-hours.

  15. danm says:

    The market will have bottomed when there is no more money left to lose.

    Still too many people lined up on the side of the pool, dipping their big toe right now.

  16. ahab says:

    @ Steve Barry

    Cramer rants and raves and is high drama but its all shtick. IMO he believes what he says when he says it. and he is much smarter than he lets on. He has changed his position on many things and always tells people to do their homework before acting on any of his ideas. It is easy to criticize him but I actually like watching him. His advice to buy and homework is more appropriate than the old axiom to buy and hold. Has he been wrong a lot- sure- but so what- so has most everyone else.

  17. ashpelham says:

    My career right now is to consult with 401k participants about why it’s important to continue to contribute, and why it’s important to be diversified. I have to remain optimistic, because my job depends on it. But I am among the last to finally realize that buy and hold is probably not going to make a lot of people a lot of money over the next few years. It will take some careful market timing, and a full knowledge of where we are going, and where we’ve been. Most 401k participants don’t have that, nor should they. All they have is a guy like me, who comes to visit them once per year and tells them how important it is to keep contributing. Perhaps they have a financial advisor who never shows his face, or never returns a phone call. In the end, they are on their own, and many of the diversification choices they had in that 401 led them to a path of destruction. I think the Pension Protection Act of 2006 failed. Instead of making employees more diversified, it moved a lot of money to funds that were too cyclical, and couldn’t withstand a severe shock like we’ve had. Now, a 50% loss in 2008 would take a 100% return to get back to zero, and that may not happen in TOTAL for the next 5-7 years.

    It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

  18. Neal says:

    Great post. Articulate comments.

    I appreciate it all.

  19. Steve Barry says:

    QQQQ in freefall

  20. Steve Barry says:

    Prepare for possible down 1000 day on the Dow

  21. Mannwich says:

    Prepare for another bailout announcement. It’s coming. PPT in our near future.

  22. Steve Barry says:

    Walmart is key…if it gives way, oh no.

  23. Todd says:

    Almost to November lows. This is going to be a long week.

  24. danm says:

    Walmart is key…if it gives way, oh no.
    Can Walmart withstand and economic restructuring. Isn’t it a play on China? How long can they keep on getting the cheap goodies from China?

    And then, when they have to start spending for maintenance and/or rejuvenation on their thousands of stores instead of growing will they be able to leverage up some more? And when this happens won’t their multiple drop from a growth multiple to a no growth multiple?

  25. Bruce in Tn says:


    I understand your thought, but I would respectfully disagree with your contention that it is always good to be diversified..

    Barry published a line from Jesse Livermore here a few days ago that basically said In a bear market all stocks go down and in a bull market all stocks go up…..

    In times when liquidity is drying up, it is a good time to be out of equities…the Economist published a study on the Investment cycle years ago, and this was their conclusion…they also found that if you were in equities at all about 50% of the time, you maximized your earnings…

    Let’s say you are 50/50 stocks/bonds….your 50 per cent stocks goes down 40 per cent…your portfolio is down 20 per cent….hard to make up in times like these

    My suggestion is to tell your clients to be (1) educated about investing themselves (2) to be nimble…nimble is always good (3) as many successful investors have stated…know when to SELL (4) learn patience..

    ….good luck….going to be a very interesting year…

  26. ashpelham says:

    Bruce: all excellent points. You have a great handle on how to intelligently invest in difficult times.

    In my job, we stress diversification through good times and bad, but the bad times call for different investment strategies. This is what 90% of the folks putting money into 401k plans probably don’t understand. I think you can see my predicament when I am pressed to preach diversification, all the while knowing that CASH IS KING in 2009, and be prepared to act very quickly and with slight movements. Those strategies just don’t seem to jive with the typical 401k targeted funds that the Pension Protection Act made popular. Now, I’m visiting all of these normal everyday people like myself, and they are ready to burn me at the stake!! :D

    Your #4 point is the thing we lack the most in America. When you work with the public as I do, you are keenly aware just how little patience we all have! Thanks for your comments!

  27. leftback says:

    Pretty ugly day.

    @ashpelham: I have one of those 401Ks and it was bloody difficult to minimize losses last year. A large position in money market funds and Treasuries from 2007 until recently helped. Most people don’t even understand the instruments behind the fund choices.

    @ AT: Agreed on gold, have been lightening up. The gold/oil ratio is absolutely astronomical right now.

    Today’s trade seems to be a flight from anything to do with Eastern Europe and the European banks. Investors are buying the $ and adding gold as a hedge. Both trades seem to be getting overdone here. We are heading for a double top in the US$ at 87-88, the 10-year has resistance at ~ 2.50. I think gold will hit the wall pretty soon as well – other commodities are starting to look attractive at these levels.

  28. Imagine the investment markets as a force of nature–perhaps a hurricane. You may sincerely hope and pray that the hurricane passes you by, but surely you can’t imagine that the hurricane gives a shit about you. Building a house in the hurricane’s potential path based on your hopes and prayers coming true is not a strategy based on any rational, objective view of the world. The hurricane is not bound by your interpretations of it. Investing in markets is much the same. The markets are completely indifferent to your fate. Always protect yourself from the worst.

    Hope is just the flip side of fear. They are passive emotions that do not help get you any closer to the truth. They should be abandoned.

  29. tranchefoot says:

    the market has been eerily quiet since 10:15 or so. wonder what they’re waiting for…

  30. donna says:

    Exactly right, Bruce. The hope was for the opportunity to change things — now we have it.

    Of course we’re not hoping anymore. We are doing.

  31. trackerman says:


    Way back in early 2007, I shifted all my 401k assets to money market funds and bonds. At the time, it seemed like a bad decision as the market skyrocketed to 14,000+. I never stopped my contributions and thought several times about shifting assets back to stocks. However, I felt strongly then that the market was treading in BUBBLE territory and stayed with the money market and bond funds.

    Today, I am quite thankful that I stayed the course and preserved my capital. Even though I am now down to only 3% return from 5+%, it is still a lot better than a 50% loss.

    My point is that even in a 401k, there are good choices. My instinct in 2007 was that stocks were due for a correction and I found a decent vehicle to preserve my capital. I ignored the current thinking to stay the course in diversified funds and it payed off for me. When the market returns to sanity, I return to stock funds only in small, measured anounts. For me, this makes the only sense in a overly manipulated market.

  32. JoostTX says:

    Hope is has never been a good plan.

  33. leftback says:

    @Tracker: Right on, I did the same in July 2007. Most of my 401K is now in TIPS and high-yield/investment-grade bonds. I made money on the way up and managed not to lose much of it at all. We are the lucky ones.

    But do you realize how few people ever even go on-line to look at their 401K, let alone actively manage it? The number of people who dodged the bullet is so minuscule that I never bring the subject up in conversation, for fear of being completely ostracized. They all bought the “buy-and-hold” mantra – hook, line and sinker. Most people simply would rather trust someone else with these decisions. Of course that is a big big mistake.

  34. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    And of course there are bad UNnecessary choices made by us all…if you listened to CNBC this morning you heard references to Hogan’s Bottom….(no not that)…

    Art Hogan is an investment professional who felt last October that equities were oversold and the market had gone as low as it would go for this cycle…he needlessly called the “bottom”…and has become slightly infamous because of it…some might call it hope for the bottom…


    There is another wonderful old saying about …If you keep your mouth shut people may think you are a moron, but if you open it, you may remove all doubt…

  35. leftback says:

    @ Bruce: Hogan’s bottom may turn out to be just another bump in the road for the Goldilocks economy… :-)

    Seriously, it is also possible that it will be simply an inflation-adjusted bottom. In other words, the market will be reflated to some degree by a falling $ and that absolute number holds. However, even though the market grinds upwards or sideways for several years, the inflation resulting from present maneuvers grinds down earnings so that the P/E ratio doesn’t reach its bottom for several years. Something in the area of 7-10 sounds about right, as per one of BR’s recent posts. Of course, this means that “growth stocks” like GOOG will experience some pain….

  36. cdrueallen says:

    Barry, Barry, Barry, seems like it was not so long ago (October 20th to be exact) that you inflated the hope balloon by saying:

    “Earlier this week, we discussed several anecdotal pieces of evidence that suggested we were closer to the bottom then the top. Today, we look at specific data and charts that can provide some insight as to how extreme these present levels are. All these suggest to us that we are increasingly close to a bottom that can be purchased for an upside trade of 20-30% from these levels.”

    Your solution was to deploy enough cash into 2 to 1 leveraged funds on the S&P (SSO) and the Nasdaq 100 (QLD) so that your managed accounts were 50% cash, and 100% effective market exposure.

    Ah…. let’s see…. on October 20th the SP500 was at 985.4. As I write it’s at 794.64. How’s that working out for your managed accounts?

    Still love ya, Barry, but lose those charts and stick to fundamentals.


    BR: Your dates are in error, as is your levels.

    From the October 10th call (not Oct 20th as you wrote), markets moved more than 20% off of those lows in less than a month.

    At that the time of that call, the Dow was 7,900. It ran to 9,653. If you could not make money on that call (We made almost 30% on that trade), you should not be trading.


  37. sst3d says:

    While I agree optimism doesn’t necessarily negate realism it is rare when it doesn’t. I give you the giggling idiot Larry Kudlow, who takes a 30 point up day on the DOW (of all things) as a great sign of happy days ahead even though it closes under 8K. I’ll add Dennis Kneale with the caveat that he is sooooo frikkin’ stupid that he makes Maria seem almost of average intellect. Almost.

    Ultimately, human nature being what it is, cognitive dissonance obscures reality for most people. A new reality, without off the charts multipliers, etc., simply does not compute. Thus, they fall back on buy and hold and the like. Happy days are here again……

  38. I Work At Merrill Lynch says:

    Ml-er here. Why does doll have 12 predictions this year and not 10?
    So he can still get 5 of them right.

    Anyway youre spot on but I have to get back to my desk.
    Wish I could say more.
    Please forgive any mistakes in this email as it was sent from my iPhone.

  39. miamiocean says:

    @ trackerman: Many people with 401ks do re-balance their portfolios about once a year, at least the folks I talk to do that, however this time, people were assuming it would be no worse than the dot com bubble burst. Very few people, myself included, had the guts to really shift their portfolio at that time and my exposure to the tech stocks was not as high as some of my fellow future retirees.

    All the talking heads on tv last fall (I know, I know) were reassuring people that if they had more than 10 years to retirement that they should not panic and should keep their investments where they were – diversified. They went even further by issuing dire warnings that if you moved out of stocks during a downturn, you would miss the big rally upward and compromise any hope you have of earning back your losses. My friends and family all echoed those concerns last September and advised me that I was making a huge mistake in trying to preserve capital. I don’t know anymore than what I think I have learned since last September, but I monitor my old stock/bond portfolio like a hawk.

    I don’t need to regain large losses up until now, so I have more luxury to watch and wait. However, I am aware of a possible Treasury bubble burst, the specter of inflation down the road and the possibility that this may be a long downward trend. I suspect that I will not have the luxury of just sitting on the sidelines forever, and it will take constant monitoring to figure out when to take a new position. I may have been smart in hindsight up until this point, but this decision is/was in two-parts. I have only managed to navigate the first one.

  40. cdrueallen says:

    My bad, went back and checked your “3x exchange traded funds” blog entry and it says October 10th. Could have sworn it said October 20th. So the SP500 is off about 12% since then rather than the 20% I implied.

    And yes, you could have made money off that trade if you pulled out in time. Me, I sold everything I didn’t want to keep for ten years in 2007 and now I’m a stodgy buy and holder – I don’t even try to attempt short term trading.

    Just giving you a hard time about calling a bottom – figure it’s ok since you’re doing to so many other folks. Doesn’t mean you still aren’t my favorite financial blogger.

  41. BigBearMortgageBroker says:

    This just in:

    US Banker sez– “Housing Market May Be Stabilizing”.


    Maybe they hired Lereah.

  42. RagingDebate says:

    Thank you for posting the charts. I am buying equities for 5 year buy and hold in April in Energy, Healthcare, Higher Ed and I.T. in that order. My forecast put the next start of a formation of a Bull in 2013, but Washington could certainly push that out further.

    I like your insights Mr. Ritzhold. I am working with Jim Quinn on some very interesting blogosphere technology evolution that includes a solid debate and actionable plan engines. Data and technology is my life’s passion. You probably think I weird. I am :) Jim’s new site we launched for him (Jim’s a beta tester of my think tanks tech refinements) is http://www.theburningplatform.com . I would love to speak with you directly some day. My email is jrines@ragingdebate.com


    Jason Rines

  43. ben22 says:

    don’t most people have to give up hope before a real bottom is put in?

  44. Hulkster says:

    The real bottom is not conditional on hope, just time. The world economy is going to grow this year, even if its called a recession or stagnation by pundits. It will grow more next year. Even more the year after that. It’s easily seen in simple things like machinery productivity, agricultural intensification, world population growth. Very basic and forseeable drivers will cause the world economy to grow.

    The ability of existing index-listed corporations to siphon off a decent chunk of that growing economic activity as profits is something that has been called into question by many. This is really astonishing, and excepting the “existing index-listed” adjectives, I don’t think any capitalist truly believes is in question. Corporations will make their profits over the long term. If they have the financial wherewithal to weather the current storm, and have a decent positioning in their markets, I’m a buyer. That would include most DOW components, materials, energy, Canadian banks, world telecoms, and the more advanced emerging markets.

  45. Robin says:

    Buffet seems to be deploying capital like there’s no tomorrow and he’s not the type of guy to buy on hope…

  46. warrwim says:

    Regards to Deadhobo! I can no longer stand the constant talking over of guests on CNBC. Kudlow, who I applaud for his free market principles, has become unbearable with his bullish cheerleading, constant interruptions of guests and relentless campaign for self-affirmation. The Bloomberg gals are not as hot as CNBC’s stable of Moneyhoneys but have earned my respect and eyeballs.