Sometimes it seems that USA stands for "United States of Amnesia."
A scandal that ostensibly kills off a candidate or company is quickly forgotten when it is replaced by a new outrage, which is soon replaced by another, and so on.
The public's short attention span combined with the 24/7 news cycle makes it imperative to invest with a contrarian viewpoint. The latest example of the madness of crowds is Thursday's bloodbath in generic-drug-maker stocks.
TEVA data by YCharts
First, let's see what all the fuss is about.
News broke Thursday that the Department of Justice intends to launch criminal investigations by the end of the year against a slew of generic-drug makers for price fixing. Aside from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and its Actavis Generics unit, the companies include Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Endo International, Mylan and Taro Pharmaceuticals.
The Justice Department bombshell crushed the shares of generic-drug makers. Consider the one-day bloodbath: Dr. Reddy's Laboratories (-4.08%); Endo International (-19.48%); Mylan (-7.06%); Taro Pharmaceuticals (-7.29%); and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (-9.53%).
We have seen this scenario before.
The feds make a splashy announcement about corporate malfeasance, Wall Street overreacts, corporate executives are pilloried in the public stockades and then the headlines fade. Modest fines are paid, bruised egos heal and business goes on.
The cycle occurs with even greater regularity in the political world. One week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's poll numbers tank because of a misogynistic statement caught on tape, and then the next week Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton takes a hit for her emails.
Remember the so-called 2013 London Whale scandal that initially depressed shares of JPMorgan Chase?
The bank eventually agreed to pay $920 million in penalties because of what British and U.S. regulators called "unsafe and unsound practices" in its London office. JPMorgan Chase is thriving and it is one of the strongest bank stocks you can buy.
The same goes for Wells Fargo, which already is rebounding from this year's scandal over creating false customer accounts.
Wells Fargo is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. See how Cramer rates the stock here. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells WFC? Learn more now.