I Hate Everything

OK, so I don't really hate everything. I love my wife, my family, my dog, my co-workers, apple pie, monster truck shows, and all those other patriotic things. Well, actually, I do hate apple pie. I'm more of a chocolate cream pie man, myself.

But publicly traded companies. ... Well, if you've read anything of what I write, you might suspect I hate all of them. Even the ones I own.

And you'd be pretty close to right.

So as my fellow Fools pour out their feelings for stuff like overpriced Chinese solar power (yikes!) or this season's overhyped, supposed Starbucks-to-be, Jamba Juice (Nasdaq: JMBA  ) (double yikes!), let me make a suggestion.

Stop sharing the love. This ain't no romantic comedy. No amount of devotion, even if demonstrated via amusing, idiosyncratic stalking, is going to get a company to share the love with you. Loving something that won't, can't love you back -- that's just silly. And it can be deadly for your nest egg.

Here's the problem -- something that can be verified via romantic comedies. Love is blind. And in the investment world, brutally so. Love for a stock can poke out both your eyes and mess up your ears. You know you're lovesick when all you hear is the chorus of the converted. There's no better way to ensure a pattern of investment failure than to frequent message boards where everyone's in love with the same stock.

We've seen it time and time again. People fall for Krispy Kreme (NYSE: KKD  ) , thinking it's the next Starbucks (again with the next Starbucks!) only to find it's the next Boston Chicken. They pay through the nose for True Religion (Nasdaq: TRLG  ) and watch the next big fashion hottie grow frumpy and stale.

There are plenty of overloved companies out there these days. Just about all of them, to judge by the indices. And should anyone utter so much as a "Hmmm," the anguished lovers get irate. Just try suggesting to shareholders of Under Armour (NYSE: UA  ) or Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX  ) that they're not at the cutting edge of the next consumer juggernaut. Try telling the suitors for Syntax-Brillian (Nasdaq: BRLC  ) that there's not much future in an expensive, flat-screen TV price war.

You'll feel the love -- and the fury of a lover scorned.

That kind of groupthink breaks hearts -- and margin accounts -- when reality strikes, and it's why I view every single stock in my portfolio not as a partner for life, or even as a one-year arrangement, but as a ruthless gold-digger looking to take what I can give. I only trust a company so far as its financial statements can prove its worth, and I only buy and hold as long as the price looks right.

In investing, there are no prizes for undeserved faith, let alone love. Make sure that every stock in your portfolio is there because it's treating you right, right now.

At the time of publication, Seth Jayson had no positions in any company mentioned here. See his latest blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Under Armor is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Fool rules are here.


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