Being Contrary Doesn't Make You 'Right'

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Peruse the headlines that ran in the wake of Nokia's ( NOK) dismal earnings report yesterday and guess the article you should you read most carefully:

"Time Is Not on Nokia's Side" -- The Wall Street Journal.

"Does Nokia's Gloom Spell Doom?" -- Motley Fool.

"Nokia: Demand Still Falling, The Worst Is Still To Come" -- Forbes.

"Nokia's Long Nightmare Continues" --- Zacks.

"The Light at the End of Nokia's Tunnel" -- Motley Fool.

If you guessed the last one, you're right. While the others predict various forms of hellfire and damnation for Nokia, the last headline is happy-faced. Why read it?

Here's the only bit of acumen you need in the stock market: when the entire crowd is rushing headlong in one direction, entertain the possibility that the future stands in the opposite direction.

It often does. In the case of Nokia, though, it does not. The positive Nokia article draws a dangerous parallel to Google's ( GOOG) slowly-unfolding though ultimately-successful creation of the Android operating system. However, Google is a far better operator than Nokia and it's nearly sacrilegious to put the two companies on a similar trajectory. Moreover, Google's several year buildup was largely due to the fact that they weren't in the phone business. Nokia already is.

The article's claim that Nokia is gathering "some traction" of the Lumia phone is also misleading. The reaction to Lumia has been mixed (at best). Also, did you see those earnings? Nokia is going to need more than "some" traction to save itself.

In other words, the article that took on prevailing thought was, in this case, wrong. But it should never pass unexamined. More often than not, it's right.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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