Tuesday, April 20, 1999

A Fool's Worst Enemy

by StockStalker

I'm a simple Fool who has taken the initiative to make my own investment decisions, and I'm sure I'm not alone in keeping close tabs on the markets. I habitually watch CNBC, which can be a mixed blessing. The Internet and cable TV can be a tremendous asset to the individual investor, but this wonderful resource can also be a Fool's worst enemy.

Watching all the daily emerging news on CNBC and other financial programs that focus on the stock market tend to alarm even the most dedicated Fool and turn healthy long-term investors into short-term traders, which is not really a sound way to make money.

For example, CNBC has a lot of air time to fill every day. To keep their viewers from switching to Judge Judy or Gilligan's Island reruns, they have to fill that time with an assortment of interviews with self-proclaimed "experts" who purport to predict movements of specific stocks or the market in general. Caveat, my dear viewer, because most of these purported experts are idiots.

As a specific example, David Tice appears on CNBC with annoying frequency. He runs the "Prudent Bear Fund" and has been predicting a catastrophic stock market crash for over two years. How wrong can a person be?

However, the folks at CNBC never mention that if you had invested your money in his Prudent Bear fund two years ago, you would now only have half of your investment left. He keeps showing up on cable TV because it's probably his major source of income. I don't begrudge CNBC or other cable programs for filling air time with self-proclaimed "experts" like Tice and Jerry Favors. However, it would be nice if, in the interests of full disclosure, they would precede the interview with a summary of that person's success as an investor. I think people would be much less inclined to take David Tice seriously if they were told up front about his investment record.

I don't dislike David Tice personally. I just used him as an example. This Fribble is just intended to reinforce my belief that cable TV and the Internet can be a Fool's set of tools or worst enemy depending upon how you use it.

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