Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Market Decline Will Lead To Pension Collapse, USD Devaluation, And NWO - Raymond_Matison
2.Uber’s Nightmare Has Just Started - Stephen_McBride
3.Stock Market Crash Black Swan Event Set Up Sept 12th? - Brad_Gudgeon
4.GDow Stock Market Trend Forecast Update - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Gold Significant Correction Has Started - Clive_Maund
6.British Pound GBP vs Brexit Chaos Timeline - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Cameco Crash, Uranium Sector Won’t Catch a break - Richard_Mills
8.Recession 2020 Forecast : The New Risks & New Profits Of A Grand Experiment - Dan_Amerman
9.Gold When Global Insanity Prevails - Michael Ballanger
10.UK General Election Forecast 2019 - Betting Market Odds - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Dow Stock Market Short-term Trend Analysis - 15th Oct 19
The Many Aligning Signals in Gold - 15th Oct 19
Market Action Suggests Downside in Precious Metals - 15th Oct 19
US Major Stock Market Indexes Retest Critical Price Channel Resistance - 15th Oct 19
“Baghad Jerome” Powell Denies the Fed Is Using Financial Crisis Tools - 15th Oct 19
British Pound GBP Trend Analysis - 14th Oct 19
A Guide to Financing Your Next Car - 14th Oct 19
America's Ruling Class - Underestimating Them & Overestimating Us - 14th Oct 19
Stock Market Range Bound - 14th Oct 19
Gold, Silver Bonds - Inflation in the Offing? - 14th Oct 19
East-West Trade War: Never Take a Knife to a Gunfight - 14th Oct 19
Consider Precious Metals for Insurance First, Profit Second... - 14th Oct 19
Stock Market Dow Elliott Wave Analysis Forecast - 13th Oct 19
The Most Successful IPOs Have This One Thing in Common - 13th Oct 19
Precious Metals & Stock Market VIX Are Set To Launch Dramatically Higher - 13th Oct 19
Discovery Sport EGR Valve Gasket Problems - Land Rover Dealer Fix - 13th Oct 19
Stock Market US Presidential Cycle - Video - 12th Oct 19
Social Security Is Screwing Millennials - 12th Oct 19
Gold Gifts Traders With Another Rotation Below $1500 - 12th Oct 19
US Dollar Index Trend Analysis - 11th Oct 19
China Golden Week Sales Exceed Expectations - 11th Oct 19
Stock Market Short-term Consolidation Does Not change Secular Bullish Trend - 11th Oct 19
The Allure of Upswings in Silver Mining Stocks - 11th Oct 19
US Housing Market 2018-2019 and 2006-2007: Similarities & Differences - 11th Oct 19
Now Is the Time to Load Up on 5G Stocks - 11th Oct 19
Why the Law Can’t Protect Your Money - 11th Oct 19
Will Miami be the First U.S. Real Estate Bubble to Burst? - 11th Oct 19
How Online Casinos Maximise Profits - 11th Oct 19
3 Tips for Picking Junior Gold Stocks - 10th Oct 19
How Does Inflation Affect Exchange Rates? - 10th Oct 19
This Is the Best Time to Load Up on These 3 Value Stocks - 10th Oct 19
What Makes this Gold Market Rally Different From All Others - 10th Oct 19
Stock Market US Presidential Cycle - 9th Oct 19
The IPO Market Is Nowhere Near a Bubble - 9th Oct 19
US Stock Markets Trade Sideways – Waiting on News/Guidance  - 9th Oct 19
Amazon Selling Fake Hard Drives - 4tb WD Blue - How to Check Your Drive is Genuine  - 9th Oct 19
Whatever Happened to Philippines Debt Slavery?  - 9th Oct 19
Gold in the Negative Real Interest Rates Environment - 9th Oct 19
The Later United States Empire - 9th Oct 19
Gold It’s All About Real Interest Rates Not the US Dollar - 8th Oct 19
A Trump Impeachment Would Cause The Stock Market To Rally - 8th Oct 19
The Benefits of Applying for Online Loans - 8th Oct 19
Is There Life Left In Cannabis - 8th Oct 19
Yield Curve Inversion Current State - 7th Oct 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Stock Market Trend Forecast Oct - Dec 2019 by Nadeem Walayat

Bank Real Profits By Bucking Wall Street Trends

Stock-Markets / Investing 2009 Apr 18, 2009 - 03:25 PM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Stock-Markets Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMartin Hutchinson writes: Investors who trade actively and are closely in touch with the ebb and flow of opinion on Wall Street have one enormous barrier to good investment performance: They will often be seduced by what’s fashionable – whether it be in terms of sectors, countries or individual stocks.

But in this market, as in all markets, it’s best to look at the unfashionable – sectors that are scorned or ignored by the market and countries whose stock markets have been beaten down by adversity. Of course, it’s difficult to do this if you constantly have an ear to Wall Street.  Perhaps that’s why Warren Buffett’s bases his investment business in Omaha, Neb., not New York.

Fashionable investments can do very well in the short term. In 1998-99, you could have made a lot of money in tech stocks. In 2006-07, you could have made lots of money investing in China. If you were given perfect foresight, you could construct a successful investment philosophy around “momentum” sectors, buying whatever is currently “hot” and dumping it before the market turned. For most of us, there’s nothing more boring than an investment that just sits there.

The problem is that none of us have perfect foresight, and what’s worse is that we all have a tendency to believe what limited foresight we do have is better than it really is.

But if investing in fashionable sectors is pretty well guaranteed to give you worse returns than the market, then there must be some other strategy that will give you better returns, on average. After all, for every loser there must be a winner.

And while some of those winners are Wall Street insiders trading on privileged information – the Securities and Exchange Commission can’t catch them all – there is also reason to suppose that a winning investment strategy is to invest in sectors and countries that are actively unfashionable, in which the conventional Wall Street wisdom is to shun them, even on a “bottom-fishing” basis.

One example of this appeared in the banking sector a few weeks ago when Citigroup Inc. (C) shares sold for less than a dollar.

During 2008, there had been innumerable attempts to rally the banking sector’s stock prices, mostly led by the same types of Wall Street operators who had caused the banks’ initial problem. But by February/March 2009, the hot money had stopped trying – either through bankruptcy or exhaustion – and Citigroup’s decline to $1, after several months languishing around the $4 to $5 level, was a pretty good sign that the pros had given up.

At that point, there were two possible routes for the unfashionable investor to take: Invest directly in the stocks that had been beaten down by buying Citigroup or Bank of America Corp. (BAC); or go in the opposite direction, staying with the unfashionable banking sector but looking for the banks that were best run and had the fewest operating or asset problems.

The first strategy, if blessed with pinpoint timing, would have made the most money in the short run, no question. A buyer of Citigroup at $1 would today be sitting on a 300% profit in about six weeks.

However, that was a risky strategy. Citigroup could have been subjected to a government intervention that wiped out its shareholders. Further it was in no sense “value investing.”  Even the bankrupt American International Group Inc. (AIG) has risen five-fold from its nadir to $1.70, in spite of the fact that the government owns 80%, and would be due to receive no less than $150 billion before AIG shareholders got a penny in the case of a liquidation.

Indeed, investing in either would have been like gambling at a Las Vegas casino – fun when it works, but not if you might need the money.

But at the other end of the spectrum investment in banks such as U.S. Bancorp (USB) or BB&T Corp. (BBT) made a lot of sense. I said as much in my late February review of the top 12 U.S. banks.

Those banks had made money even in the dire fourth quarter of 2008, and looked likely to continue making money going forward. They have powerful franchises in attractive regions of the country, and with short-term rates now much lower than medium term rates their new businesses should be exceptionally profitable. USB has risen 110% from its early March nadir and BBT is up 80%. And both were, and are, investments into which you could reasonably put a decent chunk of money.

Going forward, the banking sector is no longer unfashionable; analysts are waiting eagerly for first quarter figures and the results of the government “stress test” so they can pick winners. It is, however, more than possible that at some point in the future the current recession will once again cast a cloud over the banking sector, making it possible to invest while it is again unfashionable. If not, some other sector will be in the doghouse, and we at Money Morning will try and alert you to that event.

Another example, this time an international one.

In 1999, I was working as a banker in Croatia. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was engaged in its Kosovo campaign, dropping bombs on neighboring Serbia and Montenegro (with the occasional stray hitting Croatia, Bulgaria and Macedonia). Needless to say, the tiny Croatian stock market was itself “bombed out” and people were saying that the country was economically doomed.

That was obvious nonsense. Croatia has an exquisite coast and 5,000 islands, and when the neighborhood is free from explosions they attract tourists from all over Europe and beyond. So, I put my modest savings into Croatian shares – the least risky I could find; a medium-sized bank and a food company. Within a year, I had tripled my money.

Opportunities for unfashionable investment occur fairly rarely, but are more common in bleak economic environments like the present. When they occur, they can prove exceptionally rewarding.

[Editor's Note: When it comes to banking or global economics, there's literally no one better than Money Morning Contributing Editor Martin Hutchinson - a former investment banker with more than a 25 years experience. Hutchinson has proven himself to be a market maven and he is currently offering investors an opportunity to make $4,201 in cash in just 12 days. You can also subscribe to Martin's new investment service, The Permanent Wealth Investor, by clicking here.]

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2009 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email:

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investment advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or 72 hours after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules