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Over the past year, I have picked a fight with Warren Buffett, defended Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Guns, Big Coffee, Big Water and Big Asbestos, battled for a new U.S. Navy destroyer, got chummy with chips, dug the ditch-diggers, shimmied into $200 jeans and hit for the cycle. In the process, I infuriated a lot of people, helped the rich get richer and did my best to entertain, inform and stir up trouble.
This is the time of year when columnists wax nostalgic on their hits and misses, for the sake of accountability, learning from mistakes and taking any excuse to take a second round of pot shots at straw men. In that spirit, then, please join me on a review of SuperModels 2005.
My favorite column this year was the one that led the greatest number of readers to cancel their free subscriptions: My mid-June indictment of billionaire investor Warren Buffett over his vanity campaign against the U.S. dollar, titled
How Buffett Tripped Over the Dollar
. In the piece, I simply stated that Buffett should stick to his stupendously lucky assembly of a crazy-quilt empire of furniture stores, candy makers, hamburger joints, manufactured homes and insurance firms, and leave the macroeconomic posturing to the currency-trading professionals.
His naive political stance against American interests has led to little more than further losses for investors, as the buck has appreciated 15% this year against a basket of currencies.
shares have advanced but 1%. A few weeks ago, the company said it had reduced its foreign-currency holding to $16.5 billion, from $21.5 billion in the summer. Too bad, so sad. (Here's my own shout from the global macro sidelines: Next year, the dollar will reverse and resume its slide, favoring his position.)
Every year, I interview several new analysts and add them to my forecasting pantheon. In past years, it's been Michael Belkin, Phil Erlanger, Paul Desmond, Robert Drach and Lakshman Achuthan. This year, it's cycle specialist Tom McClellan. In my Jan. 26 column,
Mapping the Odd World of Cycle Analysts
, he forecast a rally in late January, a cycle low in June, a top in August, ugliness in October and a rally in November-December. All good.