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Kass: I Still Bleed Barron's Blue

Stocks in this article: TSLAGMFJPMBAC

My roots run deep with Barron's -- indeed, you might say I bleed Barron's blue.

At 15 years of age I began to read Barron's, coincident with my interest in the stock market, which was stimulated by the investment education administered by my Grandma Koufax.

I was so anxious to read what was in the magazine that I often purchased it before 7:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings and was typically done reading it by 9:00 a.m. There was no Internet in the mid-1960s and Barron's was a rich and indispensable resource and compendium of opinions, ideas and data.

My association with Barron's started with a cover story in 1992 ("Investing in a Cold Climate") in which the magazine ran a story about my associate Hugh Johnson and me. (We were both at the time at First Albany.)

That same year I wrote my first Barron's cover story, " Pow! Smash! Ker-plash! High-Flying Marvel Comics May Be Headed for a Fall." (I was right on this one, as the company declared bankruptcy a few years later.) That column, more than anything else, cemented my reputation as a short-seller.

I have also written three editorials in the "Other Voices" section of Barron's.

1. " Kids Today" (subscription required): In which I warned (in 1997) that bear markets were borne out of conditions like the heady tech stock party that was being experienced in the late 1990s. The market, I surmised, was beginning to lose its moorings. I used the sage advice of "Adam Smith" (a.k.a., George Goodman) and "Scarsdale Fats" (a.k.a., Bob Brimberg) to illustrate my points. Three years later the Nasdaq began a 75% decline in prices.

2. " Look Who's Selling" (subscription required): In 2006 I cautioned that attention should be paid to Sam Zell, who at the time was selling out of his interests in Equity Office Properties Trust to Blackstone (BX). Why did Aesop's scorpion sting the frog, I queried? And why was Blackstone buying out Zell during a speculative boom and potential top in the real estate markets? Because that is what they do. Less than two years later, the bottom fell out of the real estate business and domestic economy.

3. " The Threat of 'Screwflation'": In 2011, I worried about stagnating wages, the rising costs of the necessities of life and structural imbalances (especially of an employment kind). Real domestic economic growth, I suggested, would remain subpar, as the important middle class was exposed and vulnerable. This has been the case, and trickle-down monetary policy has failed to improve the stead of the average Joe.

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