Sound Smart on CNBC!

August 26, 2013

Henry Blodget of Business Insider wrote this timeless article about empty phrases that make you sound smart on CNBC.  I’m pretty sure econ majors could turn this into a drinking game.  If you had to drink every time a talking head on CNBC unloaded one of these phrases, you would be plastered before lunch.

  1. The easy money has been made.
  2. I’m cautiously optimistic.
  3. It’s a stockpicker’s market.
  4. It’s not a stock market.  It’s a market of stocks.
  5. We’re constructive on the market.
  6. Stocks are down on profit-taking.
  7. Stocks are up on bargain hunting.
  8. More buyers than sellers.
  9. There’s a lot of cash on the sidelines.  (Alternatively: dry powder.)
  10. We’re in a bottoming process.  (Alternatively: forming a base, bumping along the bottom.)
  11. Overbought.
  12. Oversold.
  13. Buy on weakness.
  14. Sell on strength.
  15. Take a wait-and-see approach.
  16. It’s a show-me stock.

To these, I would add a few more throw-away phrases like:

  1. Undervalued.  (Alternatively: offers good value here.)
  2. Fully valued.
  3. Overpriced.  (Alternatively: extended.)

The common feature of all of these phrases, as Mr. Blodget aptly points out, is that they make you sound smart but they really don’t mean anything.  You can use them in a wide variety of situations because they can mean whatever you want them to mean.  The exact same stock can be undervalued, fully valued, or overpriced depending on your set of assumptions—and importantly, whether you happen to own it or not!

Note: Part of the problem, unacknowledged in the article, is that many of the questions asked by interviewers are ridiculous and deserve one of these classic responses.  Personally, I think it would be great fun to see how many of these phrases I could jam into one interview.

Posted by:

The World According to Investors

July 17, 2013

A funny and clever graphic from Josh Brown’s blog, The Reformed Broker.  Good for a laugh or two.

Source: The Reformed Broker  (click to enlarge to full size)

Posted by:

“Doing God’s Work”

June 27, 2013

Nice fake Lloyd Blankfein quote—from an article on The Onion.

“It’s been about five or six years since we last crippled every major market on the planet, so it seems like the time is right for us to get back out there and start ruining the lives of billions of people again,” said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. “We gave it some time and let everyone get a little comfortable, and now we’re looking to get back on the old horse, shatter some consumer confidence, and flat-out kill any optimism for a stable global economy for years to come.”

“People are beginning to feel at ease spending money and investing in their futures again,” Blankfein continued. “That’s the perfect time to step in and do what we do best: rip the heart right out of the world’s economy.”

I’m beginning to think about using The Onion as a market timing tool!  They cranked this satirical article out right as the markets took a tumble and everyone was feeling nervous.  Funny, but maybe a little too close to home!


Posted by:

Quote of the Week

October 8, 2012

Mr. Economy now has a serious chronic condition with limited prospects of a full cure. He might continue to live for a prolonged period but in an impaired no- or low-growth state. The threat of a sudden life threatening seizure cannot be discounted. Constant management will be needed.

The number of medical advisers involved and variety of drugs — stimulus, austerity, quantitative easing, witchcraft — is unhelpful. While doing nothing is politically and socially impossible, the treatments may not be helping. As French playwright Moliere noted: “More men die of their remedies than of their illnesses.”

—-Satyajit Das, author of “Extreme Money” via Marketwatch


I thought I could introduce a little culture to this blog by slipping in a quotation from Moliere.  Let’s hope that QE3 does not fall into the “dangerous remedy” category.  A wide variety of outcomes is possible here.  It will be important, I think, to pay close attention to relative strength as the market tries to sort out what is most likely.

Posted by: