NEW YORK (Real Money) -- When you sign books for people, you learn an awful lot about what the public is banking on and what stocks they care about. The results are surprising to me, and the theses much more considered than what you would expect. You don't get a lot of questions, say, about 3D Systems (DDD) or Stratysis (SSYS), the super red-hot 3-D printer names. People aren't all that focused on Tesla (TSLA), or Solar City (SCTY) or even Twitter (TWTR), three huge cult stocks
The term "cult stocks," by the way, isn't meant to be nearly as scornful as so many people on Twitter take it. We have a simple truth that some stocks can't be valued by any metric, so what are we supposed to call them? "The New Blue Chips?" Or how about "The Wild Ones?" I used to call them the "Red Hots," and maybe I should return to that appellation. There's nothing wrong with flagging the oddity of stocks that are selling on buzz alone, and not on any ratio -- to sales, or to earnings, or anything else. That's the legacy of 1999 and 2000, and it can't be forgotten.
So what stocks are people asking about the most? The No. 1 name was Bank of America (BAC), a very conservative choice if there ever were one. What do people like about it? Here's a typical comment -- by a man who bought Get Rich Carefully at Costco (COST) on Long Island: "Doesn't this one have to catch up with the other banks?" I sat back and said, "Totally. It is still way behind the group." After all, we know this stock is still behind where it was a couple of years ago, even as most bank stocks are well beyond those levels now. This is something that makes the whole group attractive going into earnings, even if the yield curve is not yet ideal.
What did the questioner follow up with? "Can they put through a big dividend?" I said this wouldn't happen immediately, but that is certainly what we are ultimately looking for. Isn't that a remarkably thought-out wish for a retail investor whom Wall Street would typically scorn?