To be fair, TD deserves some credit. It's one of a handful of retail brokerages that provides solid platforms for a wide range of investors. And this app allows you to gather information and add stocks to a watch list. TD offers the option to make a trade, on the spot, as just one of the features. Ultimately, it's up to the individual investor to not abuse the convenience. But, for many, it will likely prove all too easy to abuse. Perhaps those who are most prone to hurt themselves will not be at the stage of their investing lives to even get wind of the app in the first place. Then again, something like this could actually open the door to the uninitiated, making it more likely for beginners to make costly mistakes. However it shakes out, it got me thinking about the Lynch way. Like any other model, it often works wonders. Think stocks like Apple ( AAPL) and Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG). If you walked into an Apple Store or a Chipotle location three, four or five years ago, acted on Lynchian instinct and bought the stock, you're better off for it today. But, for every Apple or Chipotle, you'll find quite a few dogs, fads and fleeting phenomena you probably should have left alone.
Over the last five years, CROX is down about 65%. Since it topped out in October 2007, it's off roughly 77%. The new TD app could make it easier to buy a sucker stock like CROX while guarding your wife's purse. Here's an even better example. One that makes me happy to have seen my kid grow. Another sterile mall experience: You watch rug rat after rug rat, including your own, walk in and out of Build-A-Bear Workshop ( BBW). This app would have made it even easier to buy the height of that short-lived craze. How many people even knew Build-A-Bear was public anyway? Scan the UPC code on one of the bear carcasses near the entrance and you find out it is. And, hey, you gotta love the sexy ticker without the big and beautiful stock price. In fact, BBW has been a low-priced stock for years now, which only adds more suck to the ultimate sucker bet.
Unless you're a savvy trader, BBW has likely done little more than sit on you and squash you. No romance. No fun. Nothing kinky. Just a good old-fashioned butt whipping.