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Investors should play seasonality in semiconductors?
purposefully trying to goad The Business Press Maven into performing kung fu on one of its articles? Were the editors kidding with this? Is The Business Press Maven ever going to stop asking questions this morning and start answering them?
Of all the flatfooted theses that are thrown around by beginner investors, the flattest of all is that there is a particular season in which to invest in a particular product or sector.
Buy ice cream stocks in the summer because that's when people eat the most! Get shares in jacket makers in the winter because, well, I'm sure you get the picture. And chances are, like me, you expect better of the business media.
But there was
with this: "It happens every autumn."
It wasn't talking about brightly colored leaves floating to the ground or The Business Press Maven falling into a sugar coma after raiding his children's bags of Halloween loot.
It was actually talking about how technology stocks rise over the final three months of the year. The headline was "Playing Tech's Rise and Fall," and the sample?
has outperformed the
in the fourth quarter over the past five years. Over the past 10 years, the Nasdaq has "trailed the broader market only three times."
Nevermind that the three-out-of-10 is just a few percentage points here and there from five-out-of-10.
The article goes on to posit that the Nasdaq's ironclad fourth-quarter supremacy has to do with its technology weighting, which in turn stems "from the increased seasonality of the business."
Add the flimsy statistical sample to an unrelated fact and you get this ridiculous one-line thesis: "Whatever the reason, there seems to be a solid chance the phenomenon will occur again this year."
The Business Press Maven guesses that one person's solid chance is another's slippery slope of hope. If only it were so easy to make money buying products during the season in which they are sold!
Investors, heed The Business Press Maven here. As you know, a couple of months ago, I
turned from a long-term bear to a long-term bull on the market and though I have no idea where any market will move in the coming month or two, the Nasdaq could very well go higher.
But buying it -- or anything -- on this appallingly naive basis is a one-way ticket to financial Palookaville.
A sample of five or 10 is no good in this situation. "Whatever the reason" is always an indicator of flawed reasoning, and most of all, the stock market works on comparisons with the same time period in the previous year.
If we could all get rich by buying ice cream stocks in the summer when the Good Humor man is coming around -- well, we'd all be rich.
Another word to the wise: Beware of commentary (and stock recommendations) from Benjamin Wey, also known as Benjamin Wei, the president of New York Global Group.
When talking heads have aliases, I probably shouldn't have to tell you, look out. Wey or Wei, the choice is yours,
appeared on our very own
TV last week.
He was pontificating about investing in China and at one point said, "Due diligence is the key."
Interestingly, Herb Greenberg had just done some due diligence on Wey (or Wei) on
. Turns out he of the flexible transliteration may have a
lurking in his past.
Speaking of trouble, let's go to the
International Herald Tribune
for a moment, because something it covers buttresses something The Business Press Maven just wrote about.
If you haven't read my scintillating, uncannily insightful and knee-slappingly funny
weekend column, you might want to take a look.
I wrote about the online gaming industry and how last week was a worse week than ever for it. Congress put the surprise kibosh on the entire industry, seeming to outlaw it.
What coverage of the debacle lacked, however, was any sense that, like any dynamic, conniving industry, online gaming might just finagle ways around the oppressive regulation and shouldn't immediately be given up for dead.
(dudes, you're killing me this week)
with more of the same, simply saying that for companies like PartyGaming and SportingBet, things "may well get worse in the months ahead."
At least it didn't suggest that you buy because it was a weekend and that's when people gamble, but still, there was no talk -- even if to dismiss it -- about adjustments that might be made. The legislation is described as "ironclad," even though there has never been an unwanted piece of legislation in the history of mankind that has been even tinclad.
That's why I was intrigued to see a
International Herald Tribune
about how the online gambling companies reacted to advertising bans.
They ran ads for simulated gambling sites, not real ones. But through the simulated sites, customers got to the real action.
I'm not saying that online gamblers are a buy now, but the second they figure a way around this legislation, they will be.
And the business media should know that where there is a degenerate who does not like a rule, there is a way. Or, uh, maybe a Wei.
A journalist with a background on Wall Street, Marek Fuchs has written the County Lines column for The New York Times for the past five years. He also contributes regular breaking news and feature stories to many of the paper's other sections, including Metro, National and Sports. Fuchs was the editor-in-chief of Fertilemind.net, a financial Web site twice named "Best of the Web" by Forbes Magazine. He was also a stockbroker with Shearson Lehman Brothers in Manhattan and a money manager. He is currently writing a chapter for a book coming out in early 2007 on a really embarrassing subject. He lives in a loud house with three children.