NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Google (GOOG) - Get Alphabet Inc. Report currently yields 385,000 results for the search "predicted the credit crisis." With so many people apparently having seen disaster coming, it's a wonder how it happened.
There is one prediction, however, that's often overlooked. In case you missed it, I'll give you a quick reminder. It's
from January 2008
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson predicted Wednesday that 2008 will be a year of violence worldwide and a recession in the United States, followed by a major stock-market crash by 2010.
Sharing what he believes God has told him about the year ahead is an annual tradition for Robertson.
On Wednesday's "700 Club" broadcast, the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network predicted that evangelism will increase and more people will seek God as the chaos develops. Robertson said, "We will see the presence of angels and we will see an intensification of miracles around the world."
Last year, Robertson predicted that a terrorist act, possibly involving a nuclear weapon, would result in mass killing in the United States. Noting that it hadn't come to pass, Robertson said, "All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God in his mercy spared us."
OK, maybe the miracles-and-angels jazz was a bit off but you gotta give old Pat props on his market call. The stock market did indeed crash. He was right when a lot of "experts" were wrong.
Personally, I don't get too worked up about the Robertson's calls. He's also the guy who blamed 9/11 on "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the American Civil Liberties Union and the People for the American Way." I won't even mention Robertson's claim of leg-pressing 2,000 pounds, which is far more than world-class athletes.
Pat loves to make crazy predictions. He's seen the end of the world coming more than once. By the way, for all you gold bugs out there, the Reverend Mr. Robertson sees
I don't want to discuss the accuracy of Pat Robertson's market forecasts. Instead, I want to highlight the uselessness of making market forecasts in the first place. These predictions might be fun as a parlor game but if you're an investor, getting a market call right or wrong does nothing for you.
Market calls are useless. In fact, they're worse than useless -- they're downright harmful because they give you the illusion of wisdom when they're really just guesses about things that aren't important.
The reality is that the market goes up and the market goes down. I'm not trying to be dismissive of the stock market. I want to convey the reality of owning a portfolio of businesses. The stock market bounces around every day, often for little or no reason. There are thousands of stocks that trade on the major U.S. exchanges. The idea of trying to predict the outcome of thousands of different business with any sort of accuracy is lunacy.
Plus, even if a market call is accurate, what does it do for you? With so many stocks out there, plenty will buck the trend. Look at
. Shares of McDonald's are up 25% this year (through Friday). The stock has more than doubled over the past five years, which was a terrible time for the market.
The reason McDonald's has done well is because its business has done well. If you had listened to
forecasts about the economy or the stock market, you would have completely missed this stock. If you had ignored the noise and instead focused on McDonald's growing business, you would have found a gem.
It's not like McDonald's was an unknown stock in 2005. It wasn't the only one.
is up 260%.
is up 360%.
To have a well-diversified portfolio, you need only eight to 12 stocks. Even if these are fairly large stocks, you still own a small drop of a very large bucket.
My advice is to save the market calls for fun. Instead, focus on owning growing, profitable businesses.
Pat Roberston summed it up well: "I have a relatively good track record," he said.
Don't worry about missing, Pat. It's not the end of the world.
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.