Stupid Things Finance People Say

My job requires reading a lot of financial news. It's one of my favorite parts. But it gives me a front-row seat to the downside of financial journalism: gibberish, nonsense, garbage, and drivel. And let me tell you, there's a lot of it.

Here are a few stupid things I hear a lot.

"They don't have any debt except for a mortgage and student loans."

OK. And I'm vegan except for bacon-wrapped steak.

"Earnings were positive before one-time charges."

This is Wall Street's equivalent of, "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

"Earnings missed estimates."

No. Earnings don't miss estimates; estimates miss earnings. No one ever says "the weather missed estimates." They blame the weatherman for getting it wrong. Finance is the only industry where people blame their poor forecasting skills on reality. 

"Earnings met expectations, but analysts were looking for a beat."

If you're expecting earnings to beat expectations, you don't know what the word "expectations" means.

"It's a Ponzi scheme."

The number of things called Ponzi schemes that are actually Ponzi schemes rounds to zero. It's become a synonym for "thing I disagree with." 

"The [thing not going perfectly] crisis."

Boy who cried wolf, meet analyst who called crisis. 

"He predicted the market crash in 2008."

He also predicted a crash in 2006, 2004, 2003, 2001, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1992, 1989, 1984, 1971...

"More buyers than sellers."

This is the equivalent of saying someone has more mothers than fathers. There's one buyer and one seller for every trade. Every single one.

"Stocks suffer their biggest drop since September."

You know September was only six weeks ago, right? 

"We're cautiously optimistic."

You're also an oxymoron. 

[Guy on TV]: "It's time to [buy/sell] stocks."

Who is this advice for? A 20-year-old with 60 years of investing in front of him, or a 82-year-old widow who needs money for a nursing home? Doesn't that make a difference?

"We're neutral on this stock."

Stop it. You don't deserve a paycheck for that.

"There's minimal downside on this stock."

Some lessons have to be learned the hard way.

"We're trying to maximize returns and minimize risks."

Unlike everyone else, who are just dying to set their money ablaze.

"Shares fell after the company lowered guidance."

Guys, they just proved their guidance can be wrong. Why are you taking this new one seriously? 

"Our bullish case is conservative."

Then it's not a bullish case. It's a conservative case. Those words mean opposite things.

"We look where others don't."

This is said by so many investors that it has to be untrue most of the time. 

"Is [X] the next black swan?"

Nassim Taleb's blood pressure rises every time someone says this. You can't predict black swans. That's what makes them dangerous.

"We're waiting for more certainty."

Good call. Like in 1929, 1999 and 2007, when everyone knew exactly what the future looked like. Can't wait!

"The Dow is down 50 points as investors react to news of [X]."

Stop it, you're just making stuff up. "Stocks are down and no one knows why" is the only honest headline in this category. 

"Investment guru [insert name] says stocks are [insert forecast]."

Go to Morningstar.com. Look up that guru's track record against their benchmark. More often than not, their career performance lags an index fund. Stop calling them gurus.

"We're constructive on the market."

I have no idea what that means. I don't think you do, either.

"[Noun] [verb] bubble."

(That's a sarcastic observation from investor Eddy Elfenbein.) 

"Investors are fleeing the market."

Every stock is owned by someone all the time. 

"We expect more volatility."

There has never been a time when this was not the case. Let me guess, you also expect more winters? 

"This is a strong buy."

What do I do with this? Click the mouse harder when placing the order in my brokerage account?

"He was tired of throwing his money away renting, so he bought a house."

He knows a mortgage is renting money from a bank, right?

"This is a cyclical bull market in a secular bear."

Vapid nonsense.  

"Will Obamacare ruin the economy?"

No. And get a grip. 

Check back every Tuesday and Friday for Morgan Housel's columns on finance and economics. 

No Pitch


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  • Report this Comment On November 14, 2013, at 5:29 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    Morgan: I rate this numerous grins and four outright belly laughs. An excellent break from "stock expert (insert name)" another oxymoron

  • Report this Comment On November 14, 2013, at 5:35 PM, valari25 wrote:

    You are my hero.

  • Report this Comment On November 14, 2013, at 5:36 PM, TMFBane wrote:

    Fun piece, Morgan!

    I love it when bad things are happening at a particular moment, and the financial geniuses say that it's a "risk-off" market. And when things look good, it's "risk-on." How could this possibly be helpful to anyone? :)

  • Report this Comment On November 14, 2013, at 5:50 PM, Mwhy wrote:

    "We're trying to maximize returns and minimize risks."

    Unlike everyone else, who are just dying to set their money ablaze.

    I actually laughed out loud on this one...thanks for that! :)

  • Report this Comment On November 14, 2013, at 6:15 PM, AgeOfRobots wrote:

    This is just great especially the gems about "earnings missed estimates" and guy on tv: "It's time to [buy/sell] stocks."

  • Report this Comment On November 14, 2013, at 8:36 PM, miotomadad wrote:

    Enjoyed the article, Morgan, as always. I think you're missing a word or two in the single-sentence second paragraph:

    "Here are a [few? couple of?] stupid things I hear a lot."

  • Report this Comment On November 14, 2013, at 8:39 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    ^ Thanks, should be fixed soon.

    -Morgan

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 3:47 AM, Nomadder wrote:

    "'He was tired of throwing his money away renting, so he bought a house.'

    He knows a mortgage is renting money from a bank, right?"

    True...but in 30 years, if he doesn't jump from house to house like a ninny, he will genuinely own something (unless you count taxes as rent...which is still much lower than an apartment).

    I understand many people do jump from house to house, always increasing their debt (or just trading old for new), but I'm not convinced that that sort of foolishness is implied in the original quote.

    Otherwise, an entertaining read.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 5:19 AM, TMFHousel wrote:

    Thanks, Nomadder. The average mortgage is held for 8 years, and during that time more than 80% of monthly payments will go toward interest (on a 30-year fixed rate amortization schedule).

    -Morgan

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 6:12 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    The best thing I ever did was shut off CNBC in the fall of 2008 when the market was crashing. I still don't get it in my cable package today. Jim Cramer who?

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 8:27 AM, MDMDoyle wrote:

    During any random 15 minutes of CNBC live coverage while the stock market is open, you are more than likely to hear at least half of this list. Hilarious and accurate article of the nonsense new/young investors have to learn to siphon through.

    @Mathman6577 I actually think for a young investor Jim Cramer can preach some knowledge when he gets into technical and fundamentals. He is good at explaining the irrational behaviour of the market and brings decades of experience. You just have to be weary and know that he changes his mind on stocks at the drop of a dime. Take his recommendations with a grain of salt. Unless he holds them in the portfolio he manages.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 8:31 AM, MDMDoyle wrote:

    @Normadder over the last 100 years housing prices haven't even kept up with inflation. Although there are certain markets that this may prove different, on average the nation is losing money on their houses (even if it is appreciating). Its a delusion for most people that think it is a good investment.

    My recommendation instead of buying a house, buy a duplex or multi-unit and rent it out.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 8:47 AM, alexf wrote:

    Awesome and funny. Thanks Morgan!

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 8:59 AM, MartyTheCanuck wrote:

    If the market goes up and there is a good economic news that day, that is the reason.

    If the market goes down and there is a bad news that day, that is the reason.

    If the market goes down WITHOUT any bad news, then it is called profit-taking.

    Gee Morgan, it is not that hard to understand.

    Oh and Obamacare will not ruin the economy. It will probably just shave off 0.1% in the long-term growth rate of GDP, and add 0.2% to the unemployment rate, something along those lines. I made up the numbers bot you get the point.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 9:25 AM, Turfscape wrote:

    >>"Earnings met expectations, but analysts were looking for a beat."<<

    My all-time favorite!

    It's nice to get a laugh in, now and again. Thanks for the morning chuckle.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 9:58 AM, MaxTheTerrible wrote:

    This is a fantastic piece, Morgan! Thank you for a very entertaining read. Quotes regarding earnings are my favorite.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 10:08 AM, Schneidku40 wrote:

    MDMDoyle,

    Your comment about buying a duplex and renting it out is a bit confounding to me, since isn't that implying the opposite of your belief that housing isn't a good investment? If you think you can make money by renting a house you buy, doesn't that mean the renter is losing money comparatively?

    Nice article though. I always chuckle when I see a headline blaming the market's action that day on some obscure event, such as "Market down 0.2% today on worries about sinkholes in Florida" or something.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 10:31 AM, Azfang wrote:

    Funny! I do need to quibble with the neutrality remark, though. In a sense, that's the speaker announcing that he or she doesn't know, and isn't going to make anything up-which is kind of what we want to encourage.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 10:37 AM, phileo72 wrote:

    pith and wit...well done Morgan!

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 10:41 AM, TMFHousel wrote:

    <<I made up the numbers bot you get the point.>>

    Haha, yes, I get the point quite well: You made the numbers up.

    Thanks for reading,

    Morgan

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 11:13 AM, TimsRedbeard wrote:

    Great right up :) I will use this article to reread when I need a great laugh at what the "so called experts" try to tell us. With the so-called "experts" on the TV or radio giving their advise it seems if one invested opposite of their recommendation we would make some serious money. No stats to back up this statement, but it sure seems so. LOL. Some of these same thoughts you have shared with us I have used for years and tried to share with my wife, who isn't as concerned in investing as I am, and says "who made you the expert." I always say I never did and am very far away from it, but common sense should lead one to your analysis of the regular lines heard on the news.

    Thanks so much for taking your time to write up this great NewsWorthy article!

    excellently said and job well done Morgan!

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 11:59 AM, SumNewFool wrote:

    Good Times! Thank you for a realistic view of bloated commentary.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 12:02 PM, EquityBull wrote:

    Kudos. It's too bad that 99% of investors don't know the great translations you wrote. Maybe on the other hand it is good because it lets the 1% Fools take advantage of the stupidity constantly spewed in the financial sector.

    Great list! Enjoyed it.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 12:20 PM, bamasaba wrote:

    Great job Morgan, very entertaining.

    One that I would certainly add to this list is:

    "Main street/families are tightening their belts, so the government should too."

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 12:40 PM, DeltaNKilo wrote:

    Morgan, a great piece, as always. The only thing I did not get was this: "This is a cyclical bull market in a secular bear." How would you phrase it differently to convey the same meaning?

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 12:44 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    Delta,

    It basically means, "Stocks went up, but they might go down." Useless.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 12:58 PM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    "The Dow is down 50 points as investors react to news of [X]."

    I know! By the time I read the news the Dow is up and the [X] still true...

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 1:24 PM, remmdawg wrote:

    A good and interesting article except for a couple comments, the Ponzi scheme comment and the Obamacare comment. These seem to be efforts to minimize the negative impacts of disastrous government schemes. SS has been rightfully compared to a Ponzi scheme. And worries about the negative impact of Obamacare on the economy are well founded. As for the latter, nobody knows the extent of the damage if fully implemented, even its inept architects. It appears that evidence of its harm has forced its proponents to halt many of its damaging features.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 1:27 PM, TMFLomax wrote:

    Morgan, this is so awesome. I think you saw I tweeted about useless ridiculous short-term headlines recently and I'm pretty sure what moved me to utter frustration was along one of these lines although these ALL happen over and over, but I see so many I don't even remember. ;)

    All right, I did try to argue that there could be a specific black swan swimming around just a few days ago. I still contend that since it is actually a very old phrase, and while Taleb was right on to talk about the concept and mainstream it into the modern world, some people might see data that indicates something that almost everyone would say is unpredictable and impossible. Maybe I should have gone with the emperor's attire metaphor instead.

    But, years from now, go ahead and remind me of one potentially stupid thing I might have said. None of us are perfect and remembering the "shocking" financial crisis is at least a little bit better than how many were somehow shocked that it happened. (PS: There could be purple swans, after all we can't predict such impossible things. ;))

    Alyce

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 1:28 PM, TMFLomax wrote:

    *Oops I meant "better than remembering that six weeks ago the market was behaving differently.". Oh for an edit button. ;)

    Alyce

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 1:53 PM, MelissainVA wrote:

    Loved it! But you forgot my all time fav "Stock x SOARED 1, 2, 3, n% today". Two percent is not soaring, neither is 3.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 1:53 PM, Findependence wrote:

    Wonderful article, Morgan. And so true. If the analysts can blame reality for missing estimates, I suppose the meteorologists should start blaming God. Hilarious.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 1:54 PM, ddepperman wrote:

    Actually, the idea of a secular bear market is explained by John Mauldin nicely. I don't think he originated it. There Are long term Buill/Bear cycles.

    In Bears there are temporary Bulls, in which the highs they attain continue over the number of bulls to reach lower peaks. During Secular Bulls there are Bears which successively go less low. Right now supposedly we are in the last 4-5 years of a secular bear. It appears to be breaking the rule! Aint dat sumpin!

    Frankly I think that a Bull has been--at its best interpretation--superimposed on a secular bear(if indeed the theory is correct, which is very open to doubt) like a bill on a billboard pasted--because of the loss of value of people's savings with the teensy rate of return on accounts and bonds and treasuries(in QE the fed plays the fool buying nearly worthless instruments). Someone has been b using stocks and created what looks like a bubble. Most of the companies I "research" have very high PEs. Will this 'bubble' pop! Reversion to the mean seems to be a long-term event, time and again.

    Of course even Dave and Tom recommend stocks that have quite high PEs and low ROA and other red flags, but nevertheless they often choose good companies, so their valuation metrics extend far beyond simple numbers. This is why I subscribe to Stock Advisor, but mostly for Dave's picks. And I often think he is misguided and let a good company become even better and don't take advantage of Dave's insights. This is very sad indeed--for me.

    Cheers

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 1:58 PM, pondee619 wrote:

    Morgan:

    "The average mortgage is held for 8 years, and during that time more than 80% of monthly payments will go toward interest (on a 30-year fixed rate amortization schedule).

    -Morgan"

    Is this a current stat or a long term one? How does this average figure in re-financing the same home to a lower rate?

    thanks

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 2:21 PM, kyleleeh wrote:

    <<If the market goes up and there is a good economic news that day, that is the reason.>>

    No, the reason is that someone entered a bid larger then the previous transaction, and someone else accepted that bid.

    <<If the market goes down and there is a bad news that day, that is the reason.>>

    No, the reason is that someone entered a bid that was lower then the last transaction, and someone else accepted that bid.

    On any given day there is probably over a million different reasons why people enter the bids they enter, and why people accept the bids they accept.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 2:42 PM, RNF62 wrote:

    Priceless!! I've read just about each one of these in my banks monthly "Investment Strategy Guide"!!!

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 3:01 PM, walshlr wrote:

    Please send to everyone at CNBC

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 3:13 PM, TXObjectivist75 wrote:

    You're right Obamacare won't kill the economy. That horse has died right out of the starting gate. All that's left is to carefully shovel the corpse out of the way before it stinks everything up.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 3:27 PM, TimsRedbeard wrote:

    Hey Walshir,

    If we send this to "everyone at CNBC" (or other news organizations) we would have much less to laugh at them about.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 3:51 PM, AndOne wrote:

    "it is a stock pickers market."

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2013, at 5:48 PM, astuber9 wrote:

    Wow, Morgan can be emotional and snarky. Who knew?

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 5:27 AM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    "SS has been rightfully compared to a Ponzi scheme. "

    I believe this is expressly one of the things Morgan was thinking about when he wrote that line about Ponzi schemes in this article.

    "And worries about the negative impact of Obamacare on the economy are well founded. As for the latter, nobody knows the extent of the damage if fully implemented, even its inept architects. It appears that evidence of its harm has forced its proponents to halt many of its damaging features."

    Which features have been halted? Who halted them? If nobody knows the extent of the "damage" then how you can say that it will ruin the economy?

    I can speculate as the extent of the positives that Obamacare will have on the economy; I've moved to a nation with socialized health care, and the greatly reduced desperation and the transition from millions of medical bankruptcies to zero, not to mention the freedom for entrepreneurs to pursue their ideas instead of latching onto a job because quitting may literally mean risking death, has had an extremely positive effect on our economy.

    On the other hand, socialism.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:22 PM, xetn wrote:

    Some of the damage Obamacare is already doing is forcing some (many?) companies to cut back employment and or reducing employee hours.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 12:37 PM, veritasvincit wrote:

    Morgan,

    Oh, how delightful !! Sending this on to one and all who lap up the daily drivel we hear/see.

    Care to comment on one of my faves?

    "The Fed is printing money."

    Actually, I thought the Bureau of Engraving and Printing oversaw currency. I'm sad to say many folks believe that, once a month, Ben Bernanke hand-carries briefcases full of warm and inky C-notes across town to the Treasury to purchase government securities. Some believe we're reverting to the likes of Weimar Germany in the 1920's.

    I'm thinking the Fed can "unprint" money in several ways. What say you?

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 1:05 PM, redlaw888 wrote:

    This was entertaining and correct except for the last comment about Obamacare and it's negative economic potential. I think the jury is still out on that one.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 1:47 PM, LQM2 wrote:

    Funny! I like when a stock picker is on CNBC and explains GARP (growth at a reasonable price) like its some radical new concept. Why hadn't I thought of that?

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 4:07 PM, Amateur2013 wrote:

    Best argument for making your own decisions about investments. As to a home, I remain convinced that our decision to buy our "retirement" home on our honeymoon was a wise investment, likely because we have lived here over 33 years, did not use it like a piggy bank to buy second homes, cars, vacations, and it is now paid off, substantially reducing our current and future housing costs. However, I would agree that considering home ownership as the way to investment riches by counting on equity to either refinance or buy another home is not a good plan, one that I have never seen work for clients, friends or family. Morgan, thank you for the articles I absolutely never miss, I send your wise words on to my now adult children all the time!

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 6:26 PM, szcz wrote:

    Why the unnecessary political comment regarding

    Obamacare? You have no idea what it will do to working families and their budgets.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 7:19 PM, wildeweasel wrote:

    I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one that could see that drivel for what it was. I can't believe there are people out there that base their investments on what these people say. I do have to say that real estate can be a very good investment if you do it right, the problem is that most people do it like they buy and sell stocks. They don't research, they buy on emotion,and they sell with no concept of cost. I have done very well with real estate my self.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 7:53 PM, colleran wrote:

    "The Dow is down 50 points as investors react to news of [X]."

    This is a pet peeve of mine. I grind my teeth when I hear it. The stock market is a good example of a chaotic system. You might as well say "The Dow is down 50 points because I have a headache." That is as valid as anything we hear on TV.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 8:47 PM, fullmoonchaser wrote:

    When I see that the Dow is up/down "x" points as investors react to news of [X], I just substitute the word "speculators" for the word "investors". I figure that most of the wild swings are from speculation, and that the reason given is just as good/bad as any other explanation.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 8:53 PM, Lawyist wrote:

    Love it, just love it. Wisdom is where you find it.

    Keep it up.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 8:57 PM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    "Why the unnecessary political comment regarding Obamacare? You have no idea what it will do to working families and their budgets."

    And neither do you, which was his point.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 11:30 PM, neamakri wrote:

    here's one: "our product costs three times less than theirs"

    Look, I completed four semesters of calculus and have no idea what this means. It makes no sense, yet the phrase keeps popping up.

    Thanks for the article, keep going strong.

    BTW, an economist at work stated that SS is a pay-as-you-go service. But according to US census data; before the year 2010 there are four workers per retiree (4:1). Sometime after 2010 due to baby boomers there will only be three workers per retiree (3:1). In order to keep the same pay-in/pay-out amounts either the retirees must accept 25% less money due to the missing worker, or the workers must pay 33% more tax to cover the missing worker. So far all solutions to "fix" Social Security involve paying retirees less money.

    The country of Chili privatized their SS dozens of years ago, Since then every economic indicator is far improved. All we have to do is copy them.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 12:33 AM, HistoricalPEGuy wrote:

    Awesome stuff Morgan! Keep preaching this message! I would love to see you turn this around to the individual investor....

    "I am looking for stocks that have a big upside"

    "I want a no-risk investment that returns more than 3%"

    "Which Mutual Fund will give me the returns I'm looking for?"

    The list goes on and on and on...

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 5:21 AM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    "The country of Chili privatized their SS dozens of years ago, Since then every economic indicator is far improved. All we have to do is copy them."

    Some relevant things that you left out:

    1) Chile "privatized" their social security in that they allow private citizens to invest in certain pension funds. Those funds are backstopped by the government ensuring that all citizens get a minimum pension.

    2) Contributions to these pension funds have declined drastically since they ceased being mandatory. This hasn't been a problem... yet, because there have been very few retirements under the new system. So yes, your privatized version is hunky-dory, so long as nobody actually uses it. This is not unlike the 401(k) crisis that America is currently facing, and stands in direct contrast to the retirement crisis that Canada is NOT having (granted, this is largely due to strong immigration).

    3) In 2008, because of the problems noted above, the World Bank recommended a change to a publicly funded system which was implemented. In other words, the privatized system didn't work, and needed to be fixed.

    I feel like that's information that you might have been interested in including in your comment, had you had the time.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 8:14 AM, Dmartin888 wrote:

    Wow. This reminds me of the movie Bull Durham, when Crash teaches Nuke the cliches he will need when talking to the media.

    http://youtu.be/KeVca9MwDX8

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 8:51 AM, brigidl wrote:

    The guys who say all these things are not trying to present facts, nor trying to inform, educate or give information.

    Keep in mind that they are trying to sell newspapers and capture TV audience.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 9:30 AM, cmalek wrote:

    @wildeweasel:

    "I can't believe there are people out there that base their investments on what these people say."

    Believe it. If people did not base their investing what these "experts" say, the "experts" would dry up and blow away because there would be no need for them. There are many other professions that exist only because of people's gullibility (politicians, used car salesmen, snake oil salesmen, etc.)

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 10:52 AM, RxPro wrote:

    "More buyers than seller"

    Aww, someone doesn't have level 2 quotes ;)

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 1:59 PM, ATahiri2 wrote:

    Very nice piece! My only one exception is the part regarding "more buyers than sellers." There's always a certain amount of shares out in float, I think it's assumed that when the demand for them rises the market goes higher.

    So, to me, the line 'there's more buyers than sellers' makes sense.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 2:31 PM, ATahiri2 wrote:

    This is by far the best one...I literally laughed out loud:

    "The Dow is down 50 points as investors react to news of [X]."

    Stop it, you're just making stuff up. "Stocks are down and no one knows why" is the only honest headline in this category.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 3:25 PM, LennyNY wrote:

    How about the daily CNBC puff piece circus act where they announce, "After the break we' ll be talking to [name], CEO of ABC Corp., who'll be telling us about the exciting things coming up for his company," or some similar such drivel as if this information is going to provide us with some deep insight about the stock's investment potential; as opposed to, "...we'll be hearing from [name], CEO of XYZ Corp., who's going to explain why he thinks his company's stock is going to tank next month"?

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 4:23 PM, phwood wrote:

    What about this one -"This is an A (you insert the letter) rated stock" - by whom and what does it mean?

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 4:34 PM, JacquesleFou wrote:

    Re the ubiquitous and never-ending rent vs buy discussion, there is one aspect that never seems to make it into the mix, i.e., tax deduction for interest and taxes. If you buy, you get it. If you rent, the owner gets it.

    Admittedly, this isn't a stand-alone reason to buy, but if you as a buyer would enjoy being subsidized by the renters (as are the owners of rental property), this could be a factor, especially in high-tax states.

    Just sayin'.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 8:51 PM, kyleleeh wrote:

    <<Re the ubiquitous and never-ending rent vs buy discussion, there is one aspect that never seems to make it into the mix, i.e., tax deduction for interest and taxes. If you buy, you get it. If you rent, the owner gets it.>>

    You can't claim the mortgage interest deduction on a rental property unless you live in the residence as well.

    You do, however have to keep paying property tax long after the mortgage is paid off and there is no more interest to deduct.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 9:06 PM, JacquesleFou wrote:

    To kyleleeh:

    I believe that if your rental property is a business, as many rental properties are, you can indeed deduct interest, no matter where you live.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 9:23 PM, kyleleeh wrote:

    You can claim it as overhead when determining how much of the revenue you are receiving in rent is income, but you can not deduct the interest from your personal income the way you can with the mortgage on your personal residence. The deduction for rentals comes before income is determined, not after.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 10:16 PM, JacquesleFou wrote:

    I think my point was that many rentals (apartments, for example) are owned by businesses (regular corporations, Sub-S corporations or Schedule C proprietorships), and that the interest and taxes are tax-deductible for those entities, but not for the renters

    In the cases of Schedule C or Sub-S, the effect of deducting these expenses passes to the principal(s), reducing their taxable income. The renter's benefit is bupkus.

    But Morgan and his readers probably don't want to follow a discussion of tax law, so I withdraw my original comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 3:18 AM, BuyAndScold wrote:

    A newbie question regarding "More buyers than sellers":

    Apart from the unvoiced adjective "prospective" that is probably meant by some people ("More prospective buyers than prospective sellers"), couldn't there often be the situation where a big investor is dumping a position and there are a lot of smaller buyers? Then you would really have just one seller and many buyers.

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 1:35 PM, veritasvincit wrote:

    Here is another pair of delicious comments, heard on the same popular financial network, within 5 minutes of each other:

    "The market has priced in Fed tapering."

    "Stocks are higher on anticipation of continued stimulus."

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 3:54 PM, pjschgo wrote:

    When I was a research analyst, I used to always hear portfolio managers say "we made the right call, but we were just too early." We all know markets will go both up and down eventually; the timing of the move is really the important part of the call!

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 5:04 PM, holmes101 wrote:

    <Earnings missed estimates>

    OK, lets see if I have this straight. The estimates are based on an analyst's analysis of company numbers that he has no access to. So what is the analysis based on? And what possible useful function does an analyst have? Why not just wait until the company posts their numbers?

    Great article!!

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 6:26 PM, JacquesleFou wrote:

    Here's one from Bloomberg today that might qualify:

    U.S. Stocks Fluctuate After Dow Surpasses 16,000

    Don't they always fluctuate? In fact didn't J P Morgan once respond to a question about what the market was going to do by saying,"The market will fluctuate"?

  • Report this Comment On November 20, 2013, at 1:12 AM, boogerface02211 wrote:

    Refreshing, Morgan. You da man.

  • Report this Comment On November 20, 2013, at 7:07 PM, ScottPletcher wrote:

    GREAT collection of pusillanimous quotes.

  • Report this Comment On November 20, 2013, at 7:24 PM, 45ACPbullseye wrote:

    Evidently, regarding your article there are more buyers than sellers! Fun read. Best, Bill Stoller

  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2013, at 11:19 AM, Brizman wrote:

    AWESOME- Nuf said

  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2013, at 11:26 AM, Glutius wrote:

    Morgan,

    "This is a cyclical bull market in a secular bear."

    Vapid nonsense.

    To take a "page" from your "book"

    Vapid nonsens means

    You don't know anything about technical analysis and too lazy to do a minimum amount of work to find out the statement you are mocking actual makes sense.

  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2013, at 11:50 AM, TMFHousel wrote:

    ^ The problem is it's almost always used as an excuse for missing the rally since 2009.

  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2013, at 3:28 PM, miteycasey wrote:

    ""The average mortgage is held for 8 years, and during that time more than 80% of monthly payments will go toward interest (on a 30-year fixed rate amortization schedule).

    -Morgan"

    Is this a current stat or a long term one? How does this average figure in re-financing the same home to a lower rate?""

    It's a current stat. The stat for refinancing is usually stated as 5 years and 1% less in interest. So it takes you 5 years of reduced payments to make up for the refinance charges.

  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2013, at 3:37 PM, miteycasey wrote:

    "Your comment about buying a duplex and renting it out is a bit confounding to me, since isn't that implying the opposite of your belief that housing isn't a good investment? If you think you can make money by renting a house you buy, doesn't that mean the renter is losing money comparatively?"

    It comes down to who is paying the interest. If you own the house and are making the payment then you are renting from the bank. If you are renting and making $200 a month from the house then it doesn't matter as you a profiting from the investment.

    For an example rental property where I live you figure 4% vacancy(basically 1 month/2 years) and $100/mnth for maintenance. That's why you need to change at least $200 more than the principal and interest costs you.

    You are leasing your credit rating as much as you are the house.

  • Report this Comment On November 22, 2013, at 1:17 PM, SirEric wrote:

    God bless Our President

    He is trying to champion policy that will give all americans affordable health care access yet he is derided because there a bumps in the road.

    When he received the Noble peace prize he was mocked.

    When Bin Laden was finally eliminated he put his credibility on the line for what he felt must be done.

    I think history will show him as one of the best presidents.

    Packrateric

  • Report this Comment On November 22, 2013, at 1:19 PM, SirEric wrote:

    an No Obama care will not ruin the economy.

  • Report this Comment On November 22, 2013, at 1:21 PM, SirEric wrote:

    what kind of itch is good for your health?

    Spinach

  • Report this Comment On November 22, 2013, at 5:25 PM, jWilliam wrote:

    Nah, it'll just screw up your personal choices and cost way more than the Prez claimed. That is, if they can ever get it to work.

    "Will Obamacare ruin the economy?"

    No. And get a grip."

  • Report this Comment On November 23, 2013, at 9:14 AM, loub215 wrote:

    Great stuff. Until the end, where you sounded like a finance guy on CNN...

  • Report this Comment On November 23, 2013, at 1:56 PM, mpkhoosier89 wrote:

    "You have to pound the table!! You have to show conviction!!"

    I guess the merit of the idea loses out to the emotion of an idea.

    Our fund is up small this year. The CIO has put big $$ in to five positions. Not concentration is bad but you have to be right. No room for error.

    Oops.

    Of these top five positions (almost 60% of capital) only 1 out of 5 is up on the year and the group is DOWN almost 15% on the year. In a year when the S&P is up almost 30%!

    Rather than sizing positions to risk our fund kept buying all the way down based on "conviction." I would call it emotion as people consistently said they had to "show some balls" and "the market is wrong." Uh huh.

    What is up? My picks. Not crowing as u cannot see my name. Made 12 long picks....all large cap, low debt, high and consistent margins and highly attractive valuations when the picks were made. All up on the year and 10 of 12 beating S&P. Up avg of almost 43%.

    Emotion is a terrible thing when it comes to investing judgment.

  • Report this Comment On November 24, 2013, at 7:50 AM, BaloneyII wrote:

    -CRAMER Says it's MAD $ Investing , does he not?

    - Cautiously Optimistic? Isn't that better than being Cautiously Pessimistic? Your betting Things will Turn out Better, rather than Worse R U Not?

    -If Mr. Morgan Were to Tell His Fellow FINA Members Things like this to their Face? At Any Meetings? What would you do ?

    -Where's Your & Your Clients $ been for the past 6 yrs Mr. Morgan? Back yourself Up!

    -All these Pro's Are brave after they Cover up their Big Loosing Yrs with Big Winning yrs..

    -Others say things to Get Attention and Publicty..Positive or Negative Publicy is Good

    Just Look at Cramer and Rush Limbaugh!

    JACK HANES of CNBC was my Hero! Miss you Mr. . Hanes.. RIP.

    For the Real Working Class, that don't have a Co. Pension Plan Available, They ought to be able to Opt. to DOUBLE their SS Savings by Them and by their Employer.. Then Everyone will Be able to Retire with Double than it is now...

    But, Wall Street , ( that includes Mutual Funds) Corp America and even Unions wouldn't want that, now wood they?

    And AHCA-Obamacare should Boost Both The Health Care Industry as Medicare Part D , did for Big Pharma..It will join the ranks of Wal Mart..

    Will do 10 - $700 MRI's vs just 2-$2,000 MRI's every Min. around the country alone!

    Provide alot more Jobs and alot more Cash Flow and More profits as a Result..

    Doesn't the Auto Industry in need to Produce alot more Cars to be Profitable and Provide those Jobs? So it can Afford to Make Speicaltiy Cars for the Rich?

    The Ends Justify The means...

    I'd rather people loose -25% Investing into The Stock Market, than Have 100% of Nothing saved.. Wouldn't you? 75% of something is Awhole Lot Better than having 100% of nothing!

    How much does that Cable TV, CellPhone and Car Make you and will be worth in 10 yrs?

    Vs. How much will that $ in your Savings and Stock Portfolio and your House Be worth in 10 yrs?

    if we can't Allow People to DOUBLE their SS Savings..voluntarially.. and their Employer can do the same?

    Get More to Save More and invest it, by any means .. The Ends Justify the Means!

    You made alot more stupid Comments Getting your GF and Wife Didn't you?

  • Report this Comment On November 24, 2013, at 3:18 PM, redwooddancer wrote:

    A good belly laugh this morning! ...but I should remember not to be drinking my tea while reading the funnies!

    Don't forget Random Capitalization making Things more Important.

    Thanks Morgan!

  • Report this Comment On November 24, 2013, at 5:05 PM, daBeak wrote:

    Off on a number of them. For example Bullish and conservative are not opposites. I can have a conservative portfolio that makes money. Several other similar examples before I stopped reading as this story didn't have credibility in my eyes.

  • Report this Comment On November 24, 2013, at 7:46 PM, Samskiman wrote:

    You had it going well, right up until the editorial indulgence you couldn't stop yourself from taking at the end. You have no idea if that will end up being a stupid statement, so far evidence for your point of view is severely lacking. Some things never change.

  • Report this Comment On November 24, 2013, at 10:00 PM, JoeySolitro1 wrote:

    This is amazing.

  • Report this Comment On November 25, 2013, at 2:32 PM, TXObjectivist75 wrote:

    Here's another one: "We can outgrow our deficits"

  • Report this Comment On November 25, 2013, at 3:35 PM, whyaduck1128 wrote:

    Brilliant article, Morgan. I hear this BS all the time and try (sometimes desperately) to filter out the 99 44/100% of "financial news" that is sheep dip.

    Some of my favorites--

    "Overbought" and "oversold"--Like "buyers outnumbering sellers" and vice versa, this makes no sense.

    "There's minimal downside on this stock"--yeah, it can only go to zero.

    "One-time charges" usually aren't one time; they're more the camel's nose.

    "You have to look at EBITDA, not earnings"--Manure. When interest in particular is a major portion of your expenses, you have to look at the NET, especially if a large portion of the debt is short-term and subject to wide swings as interest rates change. This attempted misdirect usually comes from companies and fans thereof that are heavily in debt or capital-intensive and not making money.

    "The market has already built the news into the price"--Uh huh, the market is Miss Cleo. And if it's already built in, why did the price move on the news?

    "Secular bulls" and "secular bears"--I've never heard of sacred bears, and sacred bulls/cows doesn't apply in this country.

    "The markets are plunging on news that..."--3% is not a plunge. 10% is a plunge.

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 2:30 PM, Ob892 wrote:

    Absolutely one of the funniest MFW articles I have ever read. Thank you Morgan for the humorous break....it woke me right up!!!

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 4:20 PM, boolanger wrote:

    As a retired stockbroker, I had often thought many of those sayings you noted were indeed foolish. Seeing it in print brought a few good laughs. Of course I always enjoyed "The Whisper Number" (Why not just change the number to what you think it should be). Thanks for sharing the humor.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 3:20 PM, StevetheCPA wrote:

    Yeah, the "earnings missed estimates" one was great. I don't know why I didn't pick up on how funny that sounds earlier. But to be fair there is logic to it. Many investors make their decisions on a particular stock prior to the earnings announcement based on the estimates. If the results differ from the estimates then investors reevaluate the of the value of the stock. So while it sounds completely ridiculous to say earnings missed/beat estimates, there is a rational flow to it.

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2013, at 9:29 PM, gr8twhtebuffalo wrote:

    Insert 'Cramer'

    Fun read.

  • Report this Comment On December 06, 2013, at 4:10 PM, Risky88 wrote:

    A article every trader should read before hitting that buy or sell button next time.

  • Report this Comment On December 06, 2013, at 8:11 PM, Tiingall wrote:

    Thanks Morgan, for opening eyes to the convoluted nothing-talk that seems to have captured the financial world.

    I think briqudl has the insightful interpretation, that "Keep in mind that they are trying to sell newspapers and capture TV audience".

    People tend to create in-talk to help justify and give credibility to their workplace existence; regardless of how useless and ineffective their activities might be.

    Perhaps there is an inverse relationship; the more useless the occupation the more rubbish-talk there must be to create an illusion of substance to prop up their precarious position. They know they can't actually do anything useful and can only survive if the real-talk people can sustain them.

    How much such rubbish-talk do you here coming from the mouths of people who actually contribute directly to our needs, such as on the car assembly line, the the house builder or the grocery store assistant?

    Conversely, how much convoluted rubbish-talk do we hear from the mouths of financial experts, the bankers, lawyers and the accountants? And who was it that bought off the politicians to create the "investment" circumstances, fiddled the books and protected the perpetrators of the biggest corporate and world financial crisis ever experienced?

    And who is it that these parasites and psychopaths are depending on to re-create the wealth they stole and vaporised? And what are the key economic indicators used to measure the economic health of the nation? The number of financial experts, accountants, lawyers and bankers presently employed; unlikely. It's the plain talkers; again. The people who actually do something productive by building homes, cars, ships or machines, farming, and providing our essential products and services.

    I noticed another recent MF article, about the dilemma of a minimum wage. Who should get the most money from society - plain talking people who actually build, create and provide the important personal needs that create the nation's economic foundations and meet our essential life needs? Or the convoluted rubbish-talk people who's apparent goal it is to live off the productive people and suck the financial life out of them?

    Or, is the reason that salaries in these unproductive and artificial occupations are higher than the productive straight-talk people, because people in the the artificial - rubbish-talk - occupations feel useless and unfulfilled in terms of their real, tangible, contribution to society? Because they know they actually contribute nothing of substance?

    If they were on the farm, in the factory, building a home or any occupation that actually provides goods or services people really need, they'd be a useless liability. So we must pay them more, and allow them to create their illusions of importance and convoluted rubbish-talk, to keep them away from the important economic foundations of the nation, so they cannot damage the productive efforts of society.

    Woops, something went wrong. We stupidly started listening to, believing, and trusting the convoluted rubbish-talk coming from the mouths of these artificial job occupants - bankers, financial advisers, lawyers and accountants - and look where the economy is now!

    Perhaps Morgan is right. Their convoluted language really does mean nothing useful.

    And the lesson for us all should be, do not trust them or their advice. Even though we do pay them a lot of money to stay away from the real, productive, foundations of the economy.

    Everything works a lot better - for everyone - if we can keep them in a constrained environment, so they can continue to make a lot of noise and we can choose to follow some of their procedures ir ideas to keep them content. But only if these have no significant impact on the real world of honest people who actually make and provide real products and services or the short-term and long-term benefit of the entire society.

    Society made a big mistake by thinking the convoluted rubbish-talk from bankers, financial experts, lawyers and accountants had substance, was correct, could be honest, informed, smart, good judgement and not solely self-serving. And look where the world is now.

    We need to recognise the unproductive and useless reality of these artificially created positions and get the bankers, finance experts, lawyers and accounts back in their box, where they can evolve their own internal reality, but keep it separated from the real world.

    The emphatic evidence of unemployment, social decay, municipal bankruptcy, banking collapses, corporate failures and the highest medical costs in the world is that accounting, money, effective working arrangements, truth, justice and honesty are too important to be left in the hands of these rubbish-talking parasites.

  • Report this Comment On December 11, 2013, at 2:04 PM, mm4AUTigers wrote:

    Obamacare may not ruin the economy, but when the federal government can dictate what is required of insurance plans and doctors, they certainly have taken over health care.

  • Report this Comment On December 11, 2013, at 8:59 PM, Tiingall wrote:

    One of the double edged sword outcomes of the information and technology revolutions is that it's increasingly difficult to hide problems, incompetence, greed, exploitation, malpractice and theft; including the Stupid Things Finance People Say, and problems in the medical services industry..

    Insightful minds and determined journalism can expose injustice, corruption and stupidity, to inform and educate us.

    For example, thanks to MF, we are far better informed about why we should invest Foolishly, including factors that contributed to the bank and finance people creating the sub prime loan scam, how the accounting & auditing "profession" aided and abetted this criminal act, and how the bank and finance executives continue to use our deposited savings and pension funds to engage in corrupt and criminal activities (eg: fund Mexican Drug operations) and finance scams (the London Whale incident) to justify their million $ salaries and commissions; always at our expense.

    We should all know that medical services in the USA are the most expensive in the world, by a massive margin. This robs the economy of some billions of $ every year in foreign tourism earnings. Because people are scarred to travel to the USA due to the risks of massive medical and related legal expenses. Travel insurance for medical coverage to visit the USA is the most expensive in the world. This financial risk and burden makes the great attractions of the USA financially impossible for millions of tourists worldwide who would like to spend their travel budget in the USA. Instead, they spend their money elsewhere. The present medical industry is costing local jobs and foreign income, as well as death and suffering.

    So who is making all the money from this grossly overpriced heath system that fails it's customers because many people cannot afford its services? Perhaps MF can help to enlighten us. Is it the accountants, lawyers, finance (insurance) and banking execs, again?

    Why is the staunchly capitalist USA so uniquely expensive and prohibitive for medical services? Surely the capitalist system should be creating the most effective and financially efficient system. But it is not.

    Where are the values of human compassion, equity, justice, honesty and the Hippocratic Oath? Distorted by the entry of the parasites and psychopaths from the banking, finance (insurance), accounting and legal "professions" into this essential service?

    Perhaps there are some community services for which the strict application of capitalist values do not work. Instead of helping, these capitalist goals create business opportunities which distort and corrupt the intended social purposes.

    One of the other changes brought about by the illuminating and educational effects of the information and technology revolutions is a new definition of freedom:

    "The opportunity to police yourself, before someone else does it for you."

    Because we now get to know about incompetent and corrupt behaviour in the marketplace, and we expect our elected representatives to take action to correct it.

    The people controlling the medical services industry in the USA for at least 50 years have made great improvements in medical knowledge and skills, but a very big mess in terms of accessibility; putting personal wealth and greed ahead of a commitment to health care for all. They had their chance and blew it. And fortunately - thanks to insightful journalism - we have come to know that the problems individuals experience with the industry every day, are wide-spread, common and seemingly created by a combination of incompetence and greed.

    Those people now stepping in to fix the mess might not have the inside information to make the best judgments and the most effective results, especially in the early stages. But motivated and committed people with a community minded purpose will succeed if given authority and support. Especially if some honest and compassionate professionals - with medical, finance, insurance, legal and accounting skills - can willingly assist.

    The existing medical industry has created what is the most expensive and exclusive medical delivery system in the world. It generates unnecessary death and human suffering on a scale that has to be considered wrong in a wealthy, advanced, nation. It gives evidence to the USA's critics, that the capitalist system is inhumane and evil.

    Those people previously given the freedom to develop and operate the system could not keep their snouts out of the money trough. They failed their customers because they failed to police themselves.

    In any other industry the strictly capitalist answer would be to allow hospitals, insurers and medical services to go bankrupt. But like the corrupt bankers have created a monopoly over our money, the corrupted medical industry has created a monopoly over our health, and also become "too big to fail".

    So now the customers (victims) have voted for a cleanup. Public money will again be needed to fix the problems created by those who chose to use the capitalist paradigm to justify monopolistic exploitation, market-place collusion, greed, death and suffering; like the bankers with their sub-prime loan scams, exchange rate fixing, illegal gun sales and funding illegal drug businesses.

    The changes to medical services delivery is sure to be painful, especially for those who presently have their snout in the money trough. And they are sure to complain loudly. They will surely look for other avenues to continue to sustain their income; like the bankers are into illegal drugs, money laundering, illegal arms sales and funding terrorists, to sustain their income.

    Thanks MF for making us more informed, and please continue your illuminating work. So we can all act more Foolishly to see stupidity.

    Can MF, or any fools, provide confirmation about who presently takes the big money in the medical industry?

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 10:17 AM, NotJesseL wrote:

    The one I like is "The market already has x% growth baked in to the price". What have those analysts been smoking?

  • Report this Comment On December 14, 2013, at 4:11 PM, Ghatotkacha wrote:

    @MDMDoyle: I was about to add to Normadder's point by mentioning the (perhaps modest) appreciation of the house's value on the average, when I ran across your comment. I did not know that real estate appreciation is below inflation, are there some references you can point me to for further investigation?

    Irrespective of the above, home ownership works for you in two ways:

    1) What is the baseline for comparison? Renting, of course, So the question is, what are your returns on the (mortgage payment - comparable rent) ? That changes the equation drastically in favor of ownership. Yes, you do have to factor in taxes, insurance and maintenance, but you still come out significantly ahead.

    2) Buying a home is highly leveraged, since you only have to come up with ~10% (or less!) down. Appreciation is on the full amount of the house, however.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 7:52 PM, jfk65 wrote:

    Now, then, concerning ponsi schemes and the use of oxymorons in financial reporting. Mr. Madoff said that he was clearly misunderstood! He had told prospective investors that his funds were definite maybes although he was almost certain that his picks were certain probabilities - but apparently he was clearly misunderstood.

    A small crowd gathered as he and his legal team exited the courthouse. His only comment was that he wanted to be alone together with his family.

    Mr. Madoff wasn't terribly pleased with the jury's verdict and stated that now his life was about to get pretty ugly.

    Loved your article. It's fun to turn on the 'cynic switch' every once in a while! Our language has turned upon itself and literally is a double entendre!

    Thank you for the levity.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 10:02 PM, flightning wrote:

    Brilliant! Maybe if every talking head on financial TV was mocked with their own words they would just shut up and report the news.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 11:22 PM, Haggy wrote:

    Yes, most of those things you hear are hogwash. But another big problem is that people tend to confuse concepts with similarly worded concepts and have a hard time understanding the distinction when somebody points it out.

    For every transaction, there is one buyer and one seller. But that's not necessarily true for multiple transactions. If I buy two loaves of bread, each from one baker, then there is one buyer and two sellers for two transactions.

    If 100 people own 100 shares in total, and 99 people sell their shares to the one remaining person, it means that investors are fleeing the market for those 100 shares.

    Many people think that "half of all marriages end in divorce" means "half of all people who get married get divorced." It doesn't. People often think that if at a certain time in history, the average age of death was 35 then a 36 year old was an old man. He wasn't. People often think that if 12% of the population is African American in a given area, then there's a 12.5% chance that Morgan is African American if he lives in that area. I'd say it's closer to zero.

    Wording is important. What those people said might have been nonsense, but it's a matter of how they say it. And chances are that when you heard it, it really was nonsense.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 3:32 PM, Haggy wrote:

    Upon rereading my previous comment, I wanted to clarify something about "fleeing the market" since it may have seemed as if I were disagreeing with Morgan. That's not quite true. If people "panic" and the market for a particular security went down because one person sold 1000 shares to ten people who bought 100 shares each, then "people would be flowing to the market." But the bigger point is that watching people "sell off" anything doesn't indicate one way or another how many people are buying or selling anything, just how many transactions there are. So Morgan is still correct that it's all nonsense. If it looks as if people are fleeing the market, it might just be the opposite. Or it might be anything else. There's just no way of telling based on the factors used by the talking heads.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2013, at 12:21 PM, emptorski wrote:

    I can't stand the phrase "The wisdom of the market".

    Apparently, they think that the collective actions of a bunch of greedy, selfish, barely ethical manipulators of security prices is "wisdom".

    I am thinking LIBOR scandal, rating agencies scandals, accounting scandals, junk being sold as AAA-grade investments, taking risks with other people's money at other people's expense...you know, wisdom.

    Give me a market with real wisdom, one where I can trust that a security's price is a result of true, honest, market forces.

  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2013, at 2:07 PM, beetlecat77 wrote:

    I love the phrase,"the market is down today as people take profits." I have never heard it said, "The market is up today as people take losses."

  • Report this Comment On December 22, 2013, at 7:09 PM, SeanDango wrote:

    Clearly, I was misinformed when told this was a quality website.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 5:33 PM, TMFDitty wrote:

    Brilliant, Morgan.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 1:27 PM, aleax wrote:

    I disagree that "cautious optimism" is an oxymoron: it's a perfectly good expression of an attitude where one proceeds with an endeavor, but slowly and taking many precautions -- as opposed to a "raging optimism" attitude, where one just forges ahead with all possible speed. It's roughly the same difference as between "trust but verify" and "trust blindly".

    One related phrase which _is_ literally an oxymoron but has such a long and respected history as to make it fully acceptable (e.g, it was Augustus' motto!) is "festina lente", literally `hasten slowly`. Its popular translations into modern languages (such as English `more haste, less speed`) tend to lose the pleasant touch of humor in the original, except maybe German `eile mit weile`.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2013, at 1:41 PM, aleax wrote:

    @Ghatotkacha: see for example the remarks of Nobel Memorial Prize winner Robert Shiller (he of the Case-Shiller index of housing prices) at http://pragcap.com/robert-shiller-dont-invest-in-housing .

    The key bit is: "From 1890 to 1990 the appreciation in US housing was just about zero" (in real terms, of course, i.e net of inflation). We can contrast that with results by Shiller's close friend and rival Jeremy Siegel, who showed total annualized real returns for US stocks in the same century at 6.5%.

    If you can find a convenient rental place, and invest in stocks the extra money that owning that house would cost you, you'd come well ahead -- plus, if and when you want to move elsewhere to a better job, it's much easier. That's what they do in Switzerland -- home ownership 36.8%, vs 66.5% in the US -- and you may observe they're doing pretty well (GDP per capita 4% higher than in the US)...

  • Report this Comment On January 02, 2014, at 6:18 PM, 092326 wrote:

    The jury is still out on the ACA, a massive peace of legislation that was neither read nor analyzed by our representatives who voted for it.

  • Report this Comment On January 03, 2014, at 5:24 PM, tchams wrote:

    "The Dow is down 50 points as investors react to news of [X]."

    I love when I look at the stock market is down or up 50 points in the morning and "breaking news" comes out that day that either "pushes it up" or "brings it down" when in reality it was already trading that way before the news came out.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 8:09 PM, skcda wrote:

    It's too early to tell which stocks are the movers.

    Translation: I've run out of darts.

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