Garth Turner, currently in the news for being kicked out of the Tory caucus, used to write a weekly column on personal finance. Over six years worth of columns are archived on his website and not to pick on Mr. Turner, but the columns provide a perfect illustration on why you shouldn’t pay any attention to finance gurus in the media.
November 20, 2000: After Nortel has fallen 50% in a month and trading $40: “So, here’s a strategy: If you own Nortel, or a mutual fund holding it, don’t bail out now. We are near, but not at, the low point. If you do not own Nortel, then this is the time to start accumulating it, or a good science and technology fund with exposure to the company. If you’re a gambler, then roll the dice and leverage. If you’re a wimp, don’t read or watch any news for the next six weeks.” (NT changed hands at $2.60 today).
December 4, 2000: Mr. Turner is wildly bullish on equities and is dismissive of an email from a financial advisor who is suggesting bonds: “Will the Nasdaq again reach 5,000 and the TSE 300 attain 11,000? Will it be warmer again in April? How about clipping this column and taping it to the fridge? Let’s see who was truly dangerous, when the flowers are back.” (Nasdaq closed today at just above 2340).
February 19, 2001: Nortel has just announced that it is losing money and laying off 10,000 employees and is trading around $30: “Now the bright side of this is that since every market correction is also an opportunity; since we all know the Internet and technology will still be the backbone of the future; since the economy will resume its growth in a while; and since the markets will reflect that, this is an excellent time to be buying, and the wrong time to be selling.”
July 2, 2001: In a column titled The Four Lessons of Nortel, Mr Turner writes “Don’t get your investment advice from the media”. Something we can agree with.
September 29, 2002: NT is trading just over $0.70. “As for Nortel, is it worth buying at 70 cents? Sure — a few shares. If the big tank happens, you can frame them for the bathroom.”
Like I said, I am not picking on Mr. Turner (in all fairness, almost every analyst had a “buy” rating on Nortel), but just don’t listen to anyone making predictions that stocks will be up by the time flowers are blooming.