These Are the Market's 10 Best Stocks

The best stocks? Is that really what I'm going to write about after a year in which the S&P 500 dropped by more than 40%?

It is, actually, because you learn pretty rapidly in this business that the best way to make money in the market is to invest for the long term and recognize that volatility is part of the ride. And when you commit to the long term, you find out quickly the stocks that offer the best returns today aren't the well-known, widely owned names such as Intel and General Electric.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before I can get to the takeaway, I have to show you the data. And the data is a simple list of the top-performing stocks of the past 10 years. I compile this list at the end of every year, and every year it yields the same fascinating insight:

Company

Return, 1999-2008

Jan 1, 1999 Market Cap

Hansen Natural (Nasdaq: HANS  )

4,801%

$53 million

Celgene (Nasdaq: CELG  )

4,167%

$252 million

Quality Systems

4,002%

$26 million

Clean Harbors

3,953%

$16 million

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR  )

3,786%

$19 million

Deckers Outdoor (Nasdaq: DECK  )

3,374%

$19 million

Almost Family (Nasdaq: AFAM  )

3,122%

$9 million

XTO Energy (NYSE: XTO  )

2,992%

$343 million

Southwestern Energy (NYSE: SWN  )

2,911%

$187 million

FTI Consulting

2,907%

$16 million

Data from Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Includes only U.S.-listed stocks with verifiable stock price histories on major exchanges.

The trait that sets these stocks apart
What does an energy-drink maker (Hansen) have in common with a biotechnology leader (Celgene)? A home-nursing practitioner (Almost Family) with the makers of Ugg boots (Deckers)? A natural-gas driller (XTO) with some guys who sell java (Green Mountain)?

On the face of it, not much. But if you look closely, you'll see that these were all very small companies when their amazing stock market runs began.

Here's what's special about very small companies
And although companies such as Celgene and XTO are big-cap market darlings today that are tracked and owned by big institutions such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, TIAA-CREF, and the New York State Common Retirement System, the next Celgene and the next XTO are being ignored and undervalued -- just as Celgene and XTO were 10 years ago! That's because companies like these are too small and too obscure to be worth Wall Street's "valuable" time.

So if you want to buy the best returns, you have to look at stocks today that are:

  1. Ignored.
  2. Obscure.

And, most of all:

  1. Small.

That was the case at the end of 2005, 2006, and 2007 as well.

They're out there
At Motley Fool Hidden Gems, these are precisely the types of companies we spend our time looking for. Rather than track $24 billion Celgene, we follow American Oriental Bioengineering, a $500 million maker of traditional medicines in China. Instead of $20 billion XTO, we've recommended that you get energy exposure by buying $120 million Dawson Geophysical.

Though AOB and Dawson are small, we believe they're well managed, cash-conscious, and poised to take advantage of enormous market opportunities. That last point, after all, is what spurs the best small companies to grow big, and that's what we believe our Hidden Gems recommendations can do for your portfolio.

Your New Year's resolution
So take this lesson from the market's 10 best stocks, and put it to work in your portfolio this coming year by buying small caps. If you'd like some help doing just that, you can see all of our Hidden Gems research and recommendations by joining the service free for 30 days.

Click here for more information.

Tim Hanson owns shares of American Oriental Bioengineering and Dawson Geophysical. Both are Hidden Gems recommendations and Motley Fool holdings. Quality Systems is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Motley Fool owns shares and covered calls of Intel. This is the Fool's best disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (89) | Recommend This Article (469)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2008, at 4:20 PM, olderdoc wrote:

    Successfully picking a viable biotech company or any other small company is frequently a matter of luck. Most small biotech companies fail. Lots of small companies in general fail. Sometimes you just pick the right one. Please do not confuse randomness or wealth with intelligence. For every rich investor there are lots of poor fools. Thanks

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2008, at 4:29 PM, aceemily wrote:

    Gosh, I could have presented the anti-thesis to this article. ITKG and NEOM from my scarred past come to mind. This sell job would have more heft if the author(s) had actually bought any of these at the bottom and sold at the top. Pretty shallow.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2008, at 4:43 PM, wuff3t wrote:

    "This sell job would have more heft if the author(s) had actually bought any of these at the bottom and sold at the top. Pretty shallow."

    And yet the author does say that he has put his money where his mouth is and bought two small, obscure and ignored companies. Now he might not be successful, but on the other hand bragging about past performance takes a lot less courage than telling the world about the investment you've just made (and which might possibly fail) doesn't it?

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2008, at 5:23 PM, SteveTheInvestor wrote:

    OlderDoc.... I agree. Tiny companies are a big risk and are for those who are young and like to gamble a bit. In that they depend on lucky investing, I steer clear. I am not a lucky investor by any means. For example, I've purchase five different Stock Advisor rec's. My very best is down 40%. You don't get much worse than that. I would hate to think what my portfolio would look like had I subscribed to Hidden Gems.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2008, at 8:37 PM, ds10 wrote:

    It does become a bit tiresome to hear the same old refrain: buy stocks now and you will become wealthy when the market, like the Confederacy, Shall Rise Again.

    Someday, like the Confederacy, the market will NOT rise again. We all know why---we are witnessing the decline of our manufacturing base, and successful economies are productive economies. And we know who our competitors are---China does have quite a ways to go to pass us, but it is relentless in its pursuit.

    Yes, our markets will undoubtedly rise again. BUT the unanswered question is WHEN? It is beginning to appear that this rise could be a long time coming, a long time in which we, the buyers, will be saddled with the laggards that we are now being told to buy, buy, buy.

    When listening to the Soothsayers, use caution.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2008, at 11:20 PM, dividendgrowth wrote:

    I think you are better off playing Mega Million than trying your luck at small biotech stocks.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 10:44 AM, stockdoc99999 wrote:

    Telling us what would have worked 10 years ago is useless.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 12:27 PM, helenqualls wrote:

    I have been investing for 20 years and never have I been this discouraged.....I don't see an end for many many years. These aren't my words but a friend who really understands the credit markets..... "four investment banks and one insurance company nearly brought down the WORLD!! Who will pay for this (and don't say my grandchildren) - I mean who will make amends? And now Madoff??????

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 12:38 PM, alvidovich wrote:

    Dear Motley Fool, I must say that it is quite brave of you to accept comments and then publish them. Happy New Year to all.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 1:29 PM, MLGtrader wrote:

    This article is dead on. Small cap is really the only way to beat the market. If you diversify in large caps, you will always perform within a couple points of the market. I think the best way to truly own the market is to buy 5 to 10 small cap stocks that are ON THE WAY UP. Every one of those stocks needed to hit 52 wk highs thousands of times to get such great returns. If you buy stocks high, they are clearly on the move up and could be a huge winner such as these. The huge winners like these are the stocks that will help you beat the market, so the more the better.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 1:38 PM, jochman wrote:

    I have been taken by the Motley Fool. Every idea

    you have given has taken a huge hit. For example, Atlas Energy tanked just after you recommended it. I doubt that they will pay a dividend. I say that anyone who buys into Motley Fool is a fool and a sucker.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 1:40 PM, rottweilers wrote:

    Why the fools have not been sued for misrepresentation is beyond me. Look at the stocks they recommended in 04 05 and 08. If you bought the stocks you would be broke,

    I bought some of their stocks in 04 and 05 and sold them as they crashed. Never again. I am now in the MDP and have lost over $350K. Over 40% down. What is it with these guys. Will I never learn??

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 1:52 PM, Archvile wrote:

    So we should buy all these stocks, now that they are running out of steam 10 years after. All these so called analysts and geniuses giving free advice about buying stocks, tell us how great the stocks "have been" so far. No one predicts how they "will" perform and put their money where their mouth is. I wonder how these guys hold their jobs ..

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 2:03 PM, CBENT55 wrote:

    I'm also an MDP member who pulled in my horns almost immediatley after joining since I could see the trend of the market. What I did buy has, of course, tanked.

    It seems that the "Fools" are hell bent on buying regardless of the market trends. I suppose if you have enough time, it will come back but when you are 70 years old, maybe time is not on your side.

    CB

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 2:30 PM, beaben wrote:

    i'm an mdp member and started buying one minute before the debacle started. i'm down 40% and even though i have some fresh money i feel paralyzed just now. not ONE of my stocks, and i have bought the entire list, is as much as EVEN1 that is too discouraging.

    a better 2009 to all of us!

    beaben

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 2:53 PM, geotwig wrote:

    The stock market has always had it's ups and downs and very few saw this last crash coming. Investing in stocks is not for anyone with a weak stomach. I've watched my retirement portfolio drop 40-50% over the past couple of months, with many of those picks coming from the Fools. But you know what? I haven't lost a penny. Why?? because I haven't sold any of my losers! Right now I am actively buying on the Fools continued recommendations and I've already seen some positive returns. We're experiencing the biggest fire-sale most will see in their lifetimes and anyone who doesn't take advantage is crazy. If you got involved with the Fools to make money over the short term then I'm sure you're unhappy. I fully expect to see my portfolio back to where it was over the next 6-18 months, and with all the bargains I'm picking up now I expect to see it double, triple or possibly more by 5 years from now. Don't invest money you need it tomorrow, next month or even next year! So all you pessimists who sold your stocks after they crashed, you shouldn't have gotten in the market in the first place. To those who had the willpower to hang tough and to those who are lucky enough to be just starting out, do your homework, DIVERSIFY with the Fools help (not every pick will be a winner), and then fasten your seat belts, because you're about to take the most rewarding financial ride of your life!

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 3:15 PM, datummaker wrote:

    < very few saw this last crash coming

    Poppycock! There were many who have been expecting this crash for the past three years. The housing bubble and the expected global damage were not a surprise to anyone that doesn't still buy into the outrageous policies of our Federal Reserve and Keynesian believing politicians. The Austrian economists were spot on with this down turn. History is littered with systems built on Fiat currencies - and this one will be no different.

    The Fools have bought in to the bailout mentality.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 4:41 PM, YogaDaddy50 wrote:

    Wah! Wah! Wah! Buy high and sell low (make it up on volume?)

    geotwig has it right, except 6 months to recover is a little to optimistic. And this is the best buying opportunity in a long time. Will the market go lower? Yup. Will is ever come back? Yup. Fools invest for the long term. If you sold too soon, you are not paying attention. No one can pick the absolute bottom, except by luck (luck - where opportunity and preparedness meet).

    I thought the market was bottoming a while back, but I was wrong. My IRA is in the crapper, and I am 62. So I will hold on, and keep buying.

    I suppose I am lucky, as my renewable energy biz is hopping. See previous definition of luck.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 5:05 PM, Notfooled1 wrote:

    If a service makes recommendations and/or predictions, which then decline by 40% or more in a year, why would you continue to believe anything they say?

    Anyone who believes the Gardners is a fool indeed. Why would you trust anyone who advised you on how to lose nearly 50% of your capital in 12 months.

    Btw, I've been in short term treasury bills since last February. No stocks at all until I bought IBM at 78, Chubb at 45, and Regency (today) at 43.42. They all have stop losses as will other stocks I purchase in the near future.

    We've been lucky enough to build a substantial equity in stocks with one major rule--do not buy anything recommended by fools, motley or otherwise.

    Go ye and do the same! The only way the Gardners have made money is by giving bad advice.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 5:41 PM, lenorel35 wrote:

    I too am grateful for the candid comments, it makes me feel less of a fool. I have subscribed several times and some my greatest clunkers ( Select Comfort and First Marblehead} were Fool recommendations. But on the other hand nobody else has done much better as far as I know. And the trouble with "the market coming back eventually" does not necessarily mean YOUR stocks are the ones who will.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 6:07 PM, norminsd wrote:

    Small caps are the only way to go, but you must research them carefully. Find the worst losers since Oct. 2007 and you'll see most of them bottomed out Nov. 19-21 this year. Now find the best of those and buy them, some are up over 100% since then, and many others up 50 to 99%. Check it out.

    I agree, the Fool's figures are based on ancient history and their picks are not performing--ditto for 9 out of 10 other stock picking services. Most of them are a sure way to lose money. .

    Stay small-cap for big gains--but be picky; you can win even in this erratic market.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 6:20 PM, genuitylooser wrote:

    Advised by Smith Barney I bought 1millon $ Plus in a recomended new offering, Went bankrupt shortly after, but hold on , I bought as much as I could on the way down..................this was in 2000. Are things any different now ?

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 6:23 PM, SCinCO wrote:

    Buying blindly on recommendations is foolish.

    I am new to the game but up this year. Daily reading of financial reports and watching what is happening works for me and is time efficient. The market is emotional like people. If the Fed in announcing rate adjustment emotional rise, if housing number come out tomorrow, emotional fall.

    There is a tremendous amount of great buys out there right now.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 6:43 PM, kryotex wrote:

    The fools aren't obligated to show which stocks they've actually bought and sold, and when, because of their wonderful excuse - "we're a private company, making our retirement earnings on your subscriptions to our foolish ideas". I love it. They say buy a stock, and you buy it, it goes up, and they sell it. Great strategy. I'm glad they finally posted their more recent performance updates against the S&P - only 1 luck gem (Stock Advisor) made a single-digit return this year. I feel for those of you that didn't pick that subscription. The fool's stock picks make less returns, with high risk, than I do with my 5%, government-insured, bank GICs.

    BUY, BUY, BUY - so those that want out, can get out before the market tanks further. So fools, please buy stocks - buy so the sellers can finally sell their portfolios and wait for the upcoming crash and ongoing volatility is finished - thats a joke.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 6:45 PM, ritafool100 wrote:

    Many of the Motley Fool´s ideas have been disastrous. Sure, some of their picks have performed exytremely well or have withstood the recent debacle, but here are just a few examples of Motley Fool stocks that have been ruinous in a very short time span: WTI, LNDC, MVC, ASCA, JST, AOB, JLL, BID, HGG, BOOM, HURC, BARE, CBI, RSTI, ATHR, SDA, etc.

    Buy and hold these stocks? This has proven to be a nefastous strategy. I am no guru when it comes to predicting the market (WHICH IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY IS SUBSCRIBED TO THE MOTLEY FOOL) but I doubt it very much that many of these disastrous recommendations will bounce back to encouraging levels within the next 6 months or so. Subscribing to the Fool has been a financially nefastous experience.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 7:05 PM, kryotex wrote:

    The fools are no better at predicting the market than any of us. All of Wall Street proved that, and Madoff nailed the coffin shut.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 7:43 PM, geo11zak wrote:

    YOU ARE BETTER OFF READING THE LETTERS OF BUFFET THAN PAYING FOR INVESTMENT ADVICE,THESE GUYS REPEAT THE SAME STUFF THAT BUFFET SAYS SPECIALY THE INSIDE VALUE LETTER ,ONLY DIFFERENCE THEY MAKE MONEY REGURGITATING BUFFETS IDEAS AGAIN AND AGAIN ,MOST IMPORTANTLY THOUGH STAY WITHIN YOUR CIRCLE OF COMPETENCE ,THEY DONT FOLLOW THIS BASIC RULE THAT IS WHY THEIR PERFORMANCE WILL MIRROR THE MARKET I AM DOWN 20% THIS YEAR ALL IN STOCKS ANDWILL BE FOR THE COMING 15 YEARS GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 8:23 PM, Davelaw12 wrote:

    Frankly speaking, this is not the time to buy stocks until you see a uptrend. Only stocks that will grow in a recessionary condition should be bought unless you want to hold stocks for next 3-5 years or more.

    Very few stocks will make profits in the next 6-12 months. But a short spike up is expected in the next few months, sell if you have losing positions now and don't wish to hold it for 3-5 years.

    Gold stocks, biotech (only well known with proven patents and cash flow) will do well in next 6 - 18 months..

    Medical tech, energy (oil and gas with strong cash positions plus low cost producer ) will do well too in the same time frame.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 8:27 PM, Cressida wrote:

    Investing is basically an application of one's innate or deficient intelligence. An advisor is just that; an advisor.

    The Motley Fool is an advisory service; a community of individuals who are interested in investments. The misson has always been..educate.not follow blindly.

    To invest without one's own due diligence, and reading constantly concerning possible investments is sheeplike, and not intelligent. Blaming advisors is one way of excusing one's own deficiences.

    IMHO, The Motley Fool has never been designed to "spoonfeed", but rather to inspire an intelligent, educated approach to investments.

    The current economic climate, upon reading, watching and considering the situations, is an incredible once in lifetime opportunity for investing in great companies, large and small, based on their valuations,margins and management.

    We are experiencing great changes; but Change is the only Constant .....it includes two other changes, death and taxes.

    I'm buying; The "Icons" on sale, cash-rich, low-debt, with same passionate CEO's....Intel, Nike, Johnson & Johnson, BRK-B, and the small emerging market stocks, as fast as I am able, and for the long-term

    Wishing all a happy New Year, 2009.

    Cressida

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 8:45 PM, didwhat wrote:

    An advisory service that continues to recommend stocks to purchase as the market sheds over 30% of it's value is a poor excuse for a PAID advisory service. How about NOT making recommendations until the major shakeup stabilizes. I am paying for the work to be done. During this entire time I saw no shorts recommended in the three Fool subscriptions services had. That would have made more sense in a market being sold off. CSE, the Fool Dog, should have had a recommended sale immediately when the business model changed. Holdings in all three of the services are down over 45%. This market will not get better anytime soon.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 9:09 PM, Notfooled1 wrote:

    Cressida, try to be less gullible this time around. The Motley Fools are leading you around worse than Diomedes ever did.

    Do y'all realize that if you had shorted all of the Fool recommendations this year you would be in clover?

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 9:13 PM, dolphus wrote:

    I filled my retirement portfolio with Motley Fool recommended dividend-paying stocks that were "buy and hold," and then relaxed. Lo and behold, my portfolio's value was cut almost in half while I trustingly held on to them. What good is investment advice if it doesn't tell you when to get out of stocks near the beginning of a long downturn like we've just had? That's the primary reason I pay for investment advice. If the experts who sell their expertise can't foresee such happenings in time to avoid total financial catastrophe, what good is their advice? I'm increasingly of the opinion that the stock market is just a fleecing ground for those who don't work in the financial markets Those who do it for a living and have access to up-to-the minute information on a daily basis are the fleecers. The rest of us are just gambling half-blind, and many of us are playing with money we can't afford to lose. Tell me I'm wrong and why if you think so!

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 9:22 PM, FoolishAdvisor wrote:

    There's no fool like a trading fool. Most of you guys don't seem to know how to make money from newsletters like this one, or from pundits on TV like Jim Cramer.

    There are hundreds of newsletters and talking heads that recommend stocks and sure enough, they'll go up for a few days. Why? Well because if they have a large enough audience, they'll move the stock on the next open. You can't make money by buying stock from these newsletters (you know that right?), but you can wait for the stock to fall from its peak and then short it. So yes, subscribe to these newsletters, especially if they recommend a small cap stocks, and then short it all the way down. It's the only way to make money from fools and newsletters.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 9:42 PM, autocity1 wrote:

    A fool and their money will soon be parted. The Motley Fool is a service that is a decent profit for them, while costing investors millions. Do your own homework, place a stop loss on each investment, and don't be afraid to "take a profit" and pay the appropriate tax. Buy and hold investing is not for every market, and today, I would steer clear.

    Happy New Year, it couldn't have been much worse!

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2008, at 9:48 PM, mkbca100 wrote:

    Gee, some of you think longterm is only six months and even those of you looking at 3-5 years are still not looking longterm. Longterm is greater than 5 years and you don't invest money that you will need during that period. You also don't blindly follow advice but take that advice to identify those opportunities to do more due diligence. You need to spend more time reading MF online courses or spend some time with Better Investing to learn how to invest. Most of you are speculating not investing judging by the content of the negative comment. You could have gotten investment advice along with paying the commissions from Merrill Lynch and done just as poorly. You could have done all your own homework and done just as poorly. BTW, those of you who bought dividend rich investments, how are those dividends doing-still paying their dividends? If so, why are you complaining. I don't know very many people who in the black on their portfolios. If you know of any, maybe you should talk to them to find out what they are doing. After all Buffet is down 40%+!! Learn from this once in a lifetime (hopefully) and be greedy when others are fearful (10Q Buffet).

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 12:07 AM, WJ1942 wrote:

    Take Motley Fool's MDP advice and lose money. It's quite simple.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 1:46 AM, winterskier wrote:

    The basics of what I know about investment come from Peter Lynch's One Up on Wall Street and Jim Rogers (books and interviews). Also Buffett's letters to shareholders, Mark Mobius and Marc Farber.

    With knowledge, investment becomes a treasure hunt which is both enjoyable and profitable.

    I think Buffett is again beginning to feel like a sex starved man in a harem.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 4:06 AM, 12mio wrote:

    Fron a Spanish writer, around 1,300:

    "No arriesgues tu riqueza por consejo de quien vive en la pobreza"

    Translated: "Do not risk your wealth on advice of one who lives in poverty".

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 7:11 AM, mike89044 wrote:

    I hope you commenters are going to serve cheese with these whines. Everybody is getting their butt kicked financially, including me. But, as mkbca100 just wrote: you have to have a longer term outlook (5 years minimum) You remember if your money doubles in 6 years you have made 12% per year compounded. That sounds pretty good, doesn't it? And please 'splain to me why all of you who are so dissatisfied with TMF are lurking around reading the articles. I would think you would be anywhere but here.

    By the way, Nouriel Roubini (if you haven't heard of him your financial research is rather light) left his portfolio alone even though he completely predicted the events of 2008 because he said he is a long-term investor. If that doesn't bottom-line things, I don't know what does.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 8:07 AM, nedman wrote:

    Wow... I am suprised to read this crap from you people. Did you forget the basics of long term investing in stocks? "If you need the $ in the next five years you should put the money somewhere else, in safer investments or your mattress. You are not misinformed by the Fool, more like not paying attention. This is the most exiting time that we will see in our lifetime for investing in the stock market. Be smart, pay attention and do your homework and remember that an advisor is only that, an advisor. You cannot blame your mistakes on recommendations you did not thoroughly examine. Take some responsibility for your decisions and stick with your plan or change it if you cannot stomach the exitement.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 9:18 AM, itaintaduck wrote:

    I also invested in Cemex and lost half of it, but guess what?!? The market is coming back, all the stocks are recovering, quit whining, this is a recession... What?!? you never had to have patience?!? What a bunch of babies.... These guys are really good, nobody's perfect, fools!!

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 9:44 AM, berourke wrote:

    As soon as I sign up for one advisory letter the same people start touting another of their letters as being better.

    Extremely annoying and unprofessional.

    You guys should be selling used cars instead.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 9:44 AM, lionfish39 wrote:

    Well it seems "we have become our parents".

    The Motely Fool today, with all its different subscriptions and advertisements for third parties (all kind of get rich fast schemes), has become exactly what they use to warn us against.

    Sorry to say it after years of support but I think the only fools here are the people that pay for their newsletters.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 10:19 AM, Scones wrote:

    Being "in the market" at this point in time is a HUGE mistake in my opinion...The only solid thing I see for the near-term future is that crude prices will rise from their current levels. OPEC has already stated they need $70 a barrel to break even and want $80. DXO is the leveraged ETF to take advantage of this situation. Good luck with the market in '09 Fools. I have a feeling it won't be easy.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 10:25 AM, Skilroya wrote:

    I have read most of the comments that are listed above. If the Motley Fool is a stupid as you guys make them out to be then why may I ask are you still reading what they have to say? As for myself, I am without a doubt a rookie, and yes Motley has made quite a few bad recommendations, however they do not have the same crystal ball that you guys seem to have. Maybe all you fault finders should publish a newsletter and spread your intelligence and show the rest of us how to make money. I have learned alot from the Motley Fool and still continue to do so. They are not perfect and they do not claim to be. To summarize, when you foolish fault finders can do a better job then the Motley Fool please keep me in mind, and don't forget to leave a space in your newsletter for your clients comments!! What you guys are forgetting is how much money you made while you used the fools advise. People such as yourselves remember the bad, never the good. You always know how to do something better than then next guy and yet you do nothing cept open your mouth.

    I am in agreement with some of you and have told Motley that I am disappointed with the fact that almost everyone of their article ends with sales pitch. I would like to see that form of advertising less frequently and I would like to see people stop their complaining until they can do better.

    Thanks

    Skilroya

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 10:43 AM, briboe wrote:

    A few of you hit the nail on the head - I can't believe these investment advisory places have still been recommending stocks during the turmoil of the past couple of months. I belong to another service besides this one, and stopped buying stocks despite their recommendations back in Oct because my portfolios were getting killed. If I would have kept buying like they told me, I really would have gotten burned.

    To me, these places would have gained my trust and credibility if they told us to stop buying stocks for now, and to hold on to what we have.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 11:23 AM, Ladyann12 wrote:

    Isn't it nice to know so many people received new computers for the holiday. Now all they have to do is seek out the education to round out their financial activities. Happy 2009!

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 11:38 AM, bsternbanker wrote:

    My experience (78 years old and former broker/investment banker) tells me that The Fool is no better/no worse than many others. Take it for what it is. Another set of opinions, analyses, etc. Couple them all together, take a deep breath, and hope for the best. Haven't checked this out personally but read that when Jim Cramer's picks are matched against the market in general, they do about the same. I'm down like everybody else and I should have known better. No sympathy cards please. It's my children and grandchildren's problem, not mine.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 12:01 PM, viconquest wrote:

    TMF has been a GREAT resource for the average investor. Shame on those who follow their advisory picks blindly; use everything this website has to offer and do your own homework. At least that way, you'll have no one to blame but yourself.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 12:10 PM, ejlanders14 wrote:

    What a bunch of sour grapes, I'm hearing from you guys! You are all hoping for the short term "big hit",but not one of you realizes that like any other type of investment, stocks are "CYCLICAL". I repeat "CYCLICAL". If you had any sense, you would buy now, when valuations are low. I mean, come on, everyone's stock portfolio is down. Mine is down 33% in the past year, but I don't look at this as a time to take money out of the market. If you are a long term investor, take some of TMF advice and buy some quality stocks for the LONG TERM!.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 12:15 PM, RunFin wrote:

    I got burned bad in the dot com bubble (down 75%) so I have been more cautious as of late. Too many of us only learn when it happens to us. The smart ones can learn from others' experiences (aka mistakes.) I subscribe to one of the newsletters for ideas only. If I read a recommendation to buy, or hear one on the TV/net/or other media, and then act, I have lost. Jim Cramer recommended AMD over Intel when AMD was at $3.17 on 11/6/08, as a short term play. I lost 30% on that deal and it was one of the most difficult sell decisions I have ever made. I was able to take that money and reinvest and am sitting on unrealized gains. I got the idea to examine my equity portfolio for underperfomers and take the loss from a recent TMF article. Maybe $3.17 was a good price and only time will tell. For me, it was time to get out.

    If you want to make money in this or any equity market you need to be diligent and know when to cut your losses. Now, I have a sell/stop order on every equity I own.

    I too, am not happy with TMF "teasers". I have a full time job, a family, and limited time to read. TMF needs to be more respectful of its subscribers and give more meat and less "fat and bones" for the money.

    You can't make money investing if you are not in the market. Just be careful and don't invest money that you can't afford to lose, or don't have the time horizon to make it back.

    Let's hope and pray for a better 2009.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 1:06 PM, bigdividends wrote:

    Here is a reality that many people on this board are not taking in consideration. Most americans are going through massive deleveraging. For those of you that do not understand that concept, people will need to sell assets to cover their debt. Those that are going to be mostly effected are smaller businesses and the average amercian family.

    Many hedge funds currently are only in business because they are limiting withdrawals with their investors. By next year there will be a massive sell off from these hedge funds as they unwind their investments.

    What does this mean to small caps? That there are going to be ALOT of small companies being wiped out due to the credit crunch and there are going to be alot of investors that will go along for the ride. Am I saying ALL small caps are going to tank. No, but for many of these companies, it will be extremely difficult to gauge their balance sheets in the near future. If america is going through a serious contraction (or deflationary period), you could be basing your investments on past quarters and that is a potential land mine in your portfolio.

    My rule for playing small caps is that out of every 10 investments, 1 needs to explode, 2 have above average returns, 6 stay about the same (+/- 10%) and 3 you end up losing your shirt on. If the one that explodes becomes a 5-10 bagger, your overall return is excellent. The problem with this environment, 6-8 of your small cap investments are getting crushed.

    The current business environment makes small cap investing even more challanging than it has been in the past. But understand that with small companies, your stock can drop 60% simply because a hedge fund needs to sell its asset and there are no buyers out there. In this scenerio, can you have the patients/courage to hold the position. If not, there are alot of better buying opportunities with large caps.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 1:33 PM, papa1944 wrote:

    Right now, and for some time to come, there are a few basic investment principles to follow and Travis the "Gumshoe" spells them out very clearly. Look deep, take your time, and do your own diligent research. Invest carefully and don't throw it all into any "one" individual or group recommendations. An opportunity to make any coin in the current investment climate is rare and for heavens sake use trailing stops. I feel fortunate that we are only 21% down and when we come close to the break even mark, [or hopefully a little gain], on any one investment, sell it. I have become a firm believer in silver, silver, silver, gold, gold, gold. Maybe 09 will be good to everyone. Let's hope so. Cheers.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 1:45 PM, eeward wrote:

    edward stewart

    natchitoches;la.

    i purchased most of fools recommendation

    and like most have lost 40%.

    I emailed the fools not to renew my letter I guess

    you ignore emails from your coustomers because

    it charged to my credit card again.if this happen

    again I will ask my card supplier to contact you

    DONOT RENUE MY NEWS LETTER.

    THANKS

    E-MAIL-BILLIE1941@AOL.COM

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 2:11 PM, bert111 wrote:

    First, much of the downturn has followed from capital repatriation by investors, prompting mutual fund and hedge fund (especially, leveraged hedge funds) selling. For this reason, the supply / demand fundamentals have been brutal market wide. This is especially true of large and medium cap stocks, due to the portfolio sizes managed by institutional funds. The advice to look at small caps, therefore, is reasonable ... even sage ... advice. Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, lost his shirt with the crash of '29 but rebounded beyond belief when buying net-net firms -- many of them small cap stocks. Today there are an abundant number of stocks selling at below net asset value -- with little or no debt and strongly competitive products. I'd provide examples but that would seem like shilling for my own book. I will note that I bought (and recently sold) QSII 48 percent below today's value and still hold Hansens, bought 10 percent lower.

    Second, another Fool posting, "You Can Make Money in Any Market," touts the hedging benefits of ETFs shorting various indexes and segments of the market. This is something I've blogged about in CAPS, based on the advice of a Wall Street investor, and my portfolio is down just 17 percent because of it. Others have used short ETFs to make money in this market. The lesson I learned from this is to have a plan for when the market tanks. I did not, however, hedge the market before the tanking commenced, but my portfolio was down significantly less than the market because that portfolio consisted of value stocks.

    Third, advice to buy a stock should be viewed as a starting point in your due diligence. Research the company, yes, but, also, crunch the numbers. Know the intrinsic value of a company and demand a stock price that provides an abundant margin of safety. If the market lowers the price further, and you are confident in your analysis, say "Thank you" for such a generous offering and buy more. Every share purchased is part ownership in a real and tangible company, and your greed should not be driven by buying shares cheaply but, instead, by buying a company cheaply. Most of your investing gains will come from the compounding of the company reinvesting profits for further profits -- not from repeatedly buying and selling shares. When viewed in this light, declines in the market are less frightening and uncertain because the market is no longer a consideration -- the health and prospects of the company you own is the only consideration worth worrying about. So, look at the one-star and two-star stocks in the CAPS list, and vet them for strength, solvency, and stamina. Most are poor investment choices, but competent investing is a scavenger hunt rather than an orgy.

    Finally, read Taleb's "Black Swan," which explains why markets crash and why Beta is an inadequate measure of risk. We have had "100-year" crashes much more frequently than every 100 years for a reason, and any measure that relies on conventional bell-curve statistics is flawed because market complexity and interactivity produce results that fail to mirror a normal Gaussian distribution. When this is understood, investing ceases to be based on PE multiples and analyst recommendations but, instead, becomes a more conservative, wealth-preserving exercise, focused on quality companies you are proud to own and hold through even the most teeth-grinding downturns. The biggest lie in economics is the asserted correlation between risk and reward. It is a lie not because it is not true but because most of us do not understand correlation. Yes, the correlation is present and relatively strong, but risk and reward are not perfectly correlated. So our goal is to find the small number of investments where risk is not a predicate to return (where we can be risk adverse and profit from our reticence).

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 2:51 PM, WallstreetMike wrote:

    I do not belong to any of these advisory services but do quite a bit of research and reading on my own. I'm going to give you all two winners for the next 6-18 months. Buy them and buy heavy. I bought Apache (APA) back when it was $72 and when I saw crude starting to go up and it went to as high as $142 in 6 months, I sold it at $133 and made a bundle. It's around $70 right mow and I predict it will reach $125 within a year. OPEC saying they need oil to be at $85 to break even and production being cut, it's what I like to call common sense investing, it's going up and thats a fact. BUY IT! I'll give you another one that is more risk but I feel it's a strong buy right now and that Tenaris(TS), this company deals with all of the oil companies and has a great balance sheet and cash. Merry X-Mas to all and hope for a better 2009. Any comments I can be reached at mikemoorelv@hotmail.com.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 3:17 PM, orthodr wrote:

    All stock market analysis that ignores the overall economic environment is useless and dangerous. My advisor, Ken Fisher of Fisher Investments thought this was a down leg in a bull market until the crash was in full swing and did nothing to protect assets. Mr. Fisher, a regular contributor to Forbes Magazine, is famous for getting investors out before big losses occur and I cannot believe his lack of understanding of the problems in the world economy this year. Losses to date are over 45%. Fortunately, I pulled some off the table against his advise just prior to the major drop. You have to go with your best judgement and not the analyst's. They only look at statistics and don't look at mainstreet.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 5:37 PM, needsadime wrote:

    geez guys. Is there any analysis here (by either side - optimists or pessimists), or are we all just content to talk fear and greed? (there are some good analytical posts, but they're in the minority by far...)

    Buffet is down 40+%. is he:

    a) selling?

    b) buying?

    c) trash-talking Charlie Munger?

    If you're feeling queasy (understandably), just buy blue-chips with high dividend yields and good financial health, and hold for 10 years. you'll be fine.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 7:22 PM, valari25 wrote:

    This is why every company I invest in pays a dividend and has a long history of increasing that dividend. I buy shares and immediately write the capital off. I don't care what the share price does, I only care that the dividend continues to increase and be paid. If the dividend gets cut, I sell.

    I think following this approach is the only surefire way to invest towards my retirement. I don't want to rely on the luck of a smallcap strategy or the monkey with his dartboard.

    Besides, why pay TMF for their advice when a little google-fu gets you every "newsletter" for every service for free minutes after it goes out?

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 9:11 PM, bibliovest wrote:

    In the article for which this is a comment, TMF recommends Dawson Geophysical and American Oriental Bioengineering. Dozens of comments follow. Not a single comment applies to whether either of these companies in particular is a good company to own stock in at any time. Gads.

    There is a huge wave of criticism of TMF recommendations. "How dare they recommend stocks to buy at a time like this!" and "How can they claim to be wise advisors when they told people to keep buying when the market was going to tank or in the process of tanking?"

    Look, there are advisories that try to time the market, and advisories that don't. I have not long been looking at TMF newsletters, but from what I can tell, TMF is absolutely not, and never claimed to be, an advisory that claims to time the market. Not only that, but they DO claim to be exactly the OPPOSITE. They do NOT try to time the market. It's a philosophy of investing. All the people who want an advisory that times the market need to be looking elsewhere for an advisory that does that. That's a different philosophy of investing entirely. Does it get better returns than the philosophy followed by TMF? No, it doesn't, because nobody can time the market that well. Some are better than others, but eventually everybody screws up big-time in market timing. I try it myself, but I don't imagine that I know what it going to happen. I certainly don't go reading an advisory that is perfectly suited to putting in a given number of dollars every month regardless of market condition, which is a very respectable and highly proven and successful method of investing for decades, and think they have failed if they neglect to tell me that they think the market will go down, or even tell me to continue buying.

    TMF is absolutely right in their investment philosophy, for those who don't want to try to time the market because it isn't reliable enough to completely depend on. For those who do want to time the market, just find another advisory, there are plenty. It is honestly very off-putting to read all these off-base comments shredding the advisory to ribbons, or trying to, based on a total misunderstanding of the principles they apply and thinking they should be doing something else which is completely against their stated - STATED - principles.

    Whatever your philosophy or current economic condition, I wish all total success in the future, especially in this holiday season, but if you find yourself complaining here, please figure out what kind of investing you want to do and find an appropriate newsletter. "Investing to make money" is not the right expression for how you want to invest. There are lots of ways to invest that make good money in the long run. Try to read about the various investing philosophies, choose the one that makes sense, and then find an advisory that follows that philosophy. And no matter what philosophy you pick, be totally in touch with the fact that significant losses at some time or another are not only possible but absolutely inevitable, and nobody ever ever made a lot of money in stocks without having at some point had significant losses similar to these. They are temporary, but certain. Stick with the philosophy you chose through times like these or you will be way out of luck, no matter what philosophy it is you are dumping. If it's a timing philosophy, you should be looking for the right time to buy or averaging in now through the bottom. If it's a buy-the-same-dollor-amount-every-month philosophy, then you need to keep doing it. If it's value investing, continue to look for value and buy it when you see it if it seems the right time. The stock market has not come to an end. If it's a slow time, it's a slow time. Be smart and follow your philosophy. Only those who do that can be long-term winners. And find the right advisory that supports your philosophy in the right way - that would be a way that helps you to be a winner by sticking with the philosophy through times like these. TMF is not changing its philosophy. That's not bad - it's good. They can't hold anybody's hand and tell them how much to buy, they just make recommendations. You have to figure out how much and when to buy for yourself. For some people, now IS the right time - it depends on their philosophy, and if they are sticking with a tried and true method, they are making the right decision.

    Happy holidays.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 10:16 PM, Jimmy2008 wrote:

    I read on seekingalpha.com something like this: most stock analysts are most of times completely wrong; investment strategists are more likely to be right. That makes me think that it is important to see big picture in curent economy and world politics. We may have to adjust our investments accordingly, namely market timing.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 10:26 PM, Jimmy2008 wrote:

    Here is the link to the article mentioned above:

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/110510-analysts-strategists-...

    I found the article interesting.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 10:28 PM, retrodoc wrote:

    Am new to investing, but am truly amazed with the thrust of most of this string of comments. The Gardners, like Buffett and Jim Cramer, are investors. They buy quality companies and wait for them to appreciate. On the other hand, traders are all about short term bets based on market dynamics. There are services that will provide you with two to eight trades a day, and will tell you when to go long, go short and the price at which to exit. But first decide whether you are trader or an investor and on that basis select the advisory service that will best meet your needs. If you wish to invest, the Garder's advice can be helpful.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 10:52 PM, rupaddling wrote:

    The most foolish thing I've seen in the past 18 months is that people will still invest in individual stocks. In July 2007,the SEC recinded the rule on shorting stocks on the uptick. Ever since, individual stocks have been subjected to "bear raids". With the rule gone, I wouldn't touch any individual stock. Any individual stock can be shorted mercilessly by organizations with a relatively infinite of amount of money and make fools of anyone who "believes" in the the value of the company. Who knows, maybe that is the cause of the entire financial crisis?

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2008, at 11:08 PM, Schelm52 wrote:

    Nobody knows anything on a consistent basis. Everybody is hoping, wishing, guessing. Who did not get burned one way or another in the last 10 years. Anyone can be right 1 or 2 times. The mathematical probability of being correct 2 consecutive times is exactly 25%. (0.5x0.5). I for one will not pay anymore for "professional" (whatever that means) advice and loose money. These idiots are primarily concerned with lining their own pockets. Wall Street used to be there to serve investors. Today it's the other way around.

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2008, at 12:33 AM, BeatBuffet wrote:

    What is the matter with you people, of course you lost a lot of money if you've been in the market lately... I can't say how good the fool is since I'm not a subscriber, but, it doesn't matter if you were taking advice from the fool or an investment banker or jim cramer or anyone else, you most likely lost money. Get over it, sell out or buy them up, I'll take the latter, if it tanks more and I have to wait I'll buy more and wait.

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2008, at 12:56 AM, realold wrote:

    Hi folks,

    I am retired and living off the results of many years of investing. My advice is to have your own discipline. No one will ever tell you when to sell.

    You need to set your own actual or mental limits for losses and for gains. I lost some in this down turn, but sold everything in the first downturn, as my limits of tolerable loss had been reached. I was hurt by it, just as you, but at least it wasn't a total disaster. Also, I would advise you to use Fools for ideas and sectors, but find your own few stocks and follow them for awhile. Good luck.

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2008, at 9:10 AM, Wessynet wrote:

    Thanks for all your comments. You have all been a great help to me. I'm sort of a new investor. Let me give you my history and I hope it will save a few like me.

    I'll be 50 in 4 months. I believe in investment. I own/run several companies. I bought stocks in the early 80's. We were poor struggling students. '87 hit and we were hurt. We reinvested with a broker. '89 hit and we were hurt again. Broker - no help. I dabbled in options - made a little and lost a little. Kept my money in Cdn RRSP. Made a little as was in mut funds and cash. My brother-in-law made a million in the stock market by follow ing the advice of research and then buy and hold. Not sure how he is doing now. So I got back into the market and bought Nortel and Laidlaw. I dollar cost them all the way to the bottom. Lost 100K on these two in the late 1998 to 2001. Stayed out of the market until 2008. I started to track the Fools performance in 2007(first subscribed) but didn't invest for one year. Did the same for Cramer and Fast Money TV shows. In January 2008 I felt confident that I knew that with this info I could navigate the market. I put 50% into ETF's and 50% into stocks. ETFs fell slowly so I got out. I started to buy stocks based on Fool's advice. Not doing so well so I thought let's try this: I assumed the Fool's were doing the research for me and picking good companies but that their timing was off. If Fool's recomended a stock at $40.00 like AIB, BBBY, etc. I would put a buy in for 10-15% lower and go to work. If I wasn't sure, I would put the buy in for 25% lower. If I made a mistake I wouldn't lose anything but opportunity. As soon as I got home, or at lunch, I would check my buys - and if filled, I immediately enter a sell at 10-20% higher. This worked well and I made money. As the market fell I stayed ahead until - I bought RIM on a Cramer's recommendation. Dollar costed down - big error. Now went back to my strategy of buy and sell and I have recouped 15K of 40K loss. Still to date I'm down 20K. I sit at 80% cash and 20% for buy and sell. I have modified my strategy to buy on good dividend paying stocks, that way if I get caught holding I have a great paying stock that I sit and wait for them to turn around. This is paying off very nicely. I have (Cdn) bank stocks that I bought at all time lows that have gone up 8% per week and not triggered my sells. I'm strapped for time so I issue the good until cancelled orders for buy and sell just a week (M-F) at a time. Thus Fools find the companies or sectors - I buy only good dividend paying stocks 4-6% and I quickly issue as sell on them that expires every Friday. This seems like a lot of work but it isn't. This is working gangbusters. So far very happy and up about 20%.

    I also made a killing on xchanging my Cdn $ to US$ and then buying stocks. When the Cdn$ dropped 20-30% I sold US stocks and went back to Cdn$. Made easy 25% on average for free - no risk.

    I hope some of my ideas help. I believe a rising tide raises all ships so please keep sharing your investing tips.

    Happy New Year

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2008, at 11:31 AM, usefulidiot wrote:

    Stocks you bought high you hold for as many years as it takes to recover. Consider all new buys like you would futures contracts that you watch closely and be ready to sell with limits and stops in place. I expect the market will find new bottoms this year even for gold mining stocks and the solid old timers. A conservative way to go is to buy soon after 52 week lows make the 2 and 3 formations that indicate the up trend. Then view them as hot potatoes, not as new friends you want a relationship with. I traded futures in the 90's just enough to decide the risks were too great. Now stocks are acting the same way but without the huge margins and with no delivery dates to wipe you out. Markets won't adjust for our convenience, we have to make the most of changing situations.

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2008, at 11:41 AM, Foliobuilder wrote:

    These comments are useful, but way off the subject of the article. So, what does anyone think of AOB or DWSN? I don't understand how DWSN can have negative $11.60 million of levered free cash flow when they have no debt.

    Has anyone got an opinion on OMCL? It is a microcap similar to the other two, but in the health care biz.

    Also, the enterprise value for all three of these is less than the market cap. Doesn't that mean they are takeover targets at a lower price than the companies' stock are currently trading?

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2008, at 1:27 PM, kgeechee wrote:

    I subscribed to several MF offers; cancelled those for the M$Scam, er, Portfolio. At the end of my subscription I too was shocked at my 'auto renewal.' I was cancelled and refunded the charge after my simple response that I would keep the M$SP if offered at no cost for 10 years or until I got "close" to even again.

    H*ll, I did not even get to go to Ireland to visit AIB, a wonderful group of savvy bankers and a great stock opportunity! I had to quit drinking Guiness too and I really miss that.

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2008, at 3:53 PM, mematjj wrote:

    I can see tons of stuff I'd like to buy but alas no cash..so I'll wait till what I do have comes back up and if it doesn't then we're all in a fix ..the one who compared the market to the South rising again was right in that way. If it really doesn't rise again , we're all in deep doodoo.. Those who aren't sure who's really in control will be taking the bridge...sadly!

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2008, at 10:53 AM, dctac wrote:

    Dazed And Confused.... I've been on the side lines the past two years except a couple positions of my own that have dropped with the rest of the market. I've subscribed to a couple fool newsletters watching and almost biting some positions, I must admit it seems like now IS the time to buy in for the long haul and assume the research the fools have done has some merit but as with anything I'm sure it's a gamble. I am still on the side lines but feel there is some good picks in the fool's world. I'm surprised at some of the negative comments.

  • Report this Comment On December 29, 2008, at 3:25 PM, gratefool100 wrote:

    I certainly understand the above frustration. We all do if we calmly think about it for a minute. Most of us do not have the tools or knowledge to research stocks -- that's why we subscribe to The Fool. And I hope that TMF has the integrity to recognize the difference between convenient marketing methodoligies (sales) and sound investment advice. Is there a place for something less than "buy-and-hold"? -- It sure seems that way, but I will defer to those more knowledgable than I on the topic -- Bring in the Fools...? However, as this debate and "venting" continues, I would like to wish all my fellow investors Happy Holidays! And let's not forget to be very very thankful for a newsletter/community that does not attempt in any manner to limit the opinions stated above or on any of the boards.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2008, at 3:07 PM, Mimulus59 wrote:

    Wow, what a bunch of whiners. Of course your portfolio is down - so is nearly everyone elses! If the market is down and you rode it down then..... duh! I'm new to all this and even I know this much!

    Thank you so much to norminsd and Wessynet for your comments and advice. It was worth slogging thru all the other BS to read your messages. Norminsd, any chance you would share some of your favorite small caps? or where you get your advice/do your research? I'm still just trying to learn all of this and want to make some smart choices for when the market comes back.

    AOB: I bought shares at $7 and it has kept pretty close to this number ever since. The reason I thought it was a good bet is because they had come up with a natural medicine that would cure a form of cancer and were waiting for FDA approval. Theoretically, if they get the approval the stock could soar.

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2008, at 3:08 PM, quantas1 wrote:

    I am 73. I'm subscribed to SA and a Million Dollar Looser. Nothing is working at all. I'd settle for 5% somewhere. Still looking.

    The stock market is not for me. It is capitalism run amuck, worse than casino gambling. The lack of regulation has completely ruined it and the country.

    I out of here

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2008, at 4:51 PM, Birgit61 wrote:

    With all do respect to all the "nay sayers", I am a novice at investing.. but one thing I did read when I decided to take the advice of TMF was that if you are investing for short-term, you should not look to them for advice. I clearly remember this notion very well before signing up. I used money that I could afford to loose. This was so that I could protect myself and my family and keep our money in for the long haul.

    Now, if I see an opportunity in the next 5 years or so where some of my stocks hit a high that hasn't been recorded in the history of that stock, I'm selling immediately. No reason to be too greedy.

    I'm not sure if those of you who signed up actually read what you were getting into, this is a long-term investment group. At 73, sir, I'm not sure you should have decided to play in this sandbox.

    Wishing TMF and everyone in the world a healthier and more prosperous 2009!

  • Report this Comment On January 01, 2009, at 1:11 AM, lauberge wrote:

    Does anyone here have input on Zacks or Morningstar?

  • Report this Comment On January 03, 2009, at 7:24 PM, Cauthon75 wrote:

    I have a lot of sympathy for our Foolish leaders, looking back over the last year or two, looking at all the losses. I didn’t do all that well myself, but I did deviate from the buy-and-hold advice, taking a lot of my 401K out of stocks and into a money market fund back in June, so I missed some of the worst of the decline. As Bill Ayres would say, I wish I had done more of that:-) The conventional wisdom is that mutual funds are different, that we should not jump in and out of mutual funds according to what the market is doing, and hope the fund managers will take care of that. But, the interesting funds are generally so big that they can’t move quickly. I got back in around the end of October, and quickly made about 15%, then watched it go right back down, but since then some of it is back up again. I made a couple % Friday (maybe we should call it gold Friday?).

    I plan on keeping the basic Fool Stock Advisor. They are probably as good as any (I read somewhere that 93% of stock newsletters don’t beat the market; seems as though they could get to 50% if they were just throwing darts, but that’s the story) and it is up to me to decide what to do about the stocks they recommend.

    The one complaint I do have is all the confusing spam about all the various other stuff they have for sale, Hidden Gems and Rebuilding Your Wealth After the Crisis, and Best Recession Proof Businesses to Own Right Now (2 stocks), and various others. I just delete some of it, but if I have guessed right in keeping the basic membership, then it follows that they might have something useful to say. So, I do read some of it. It would help if at least they would make it a little bit clear which ones are really different, won’t be a duplication of what is in the Stock Advisor, and which ones are already covered there for the people who are paying them.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2009, at 2:45 PM, Alex1963 wrote:

    I'm also new to investing. I joined MF in late November in order to get stock pick ideas. I have portfolio with Smith Barney which has taken a tremendous hit even with a 250K infusion of fresh cash in May and I felt certain I can do better or certainly no worse.

    I now spend 3-4 hours a say every day reading and researching.

    I also now get a number of newsletters and agree with many of the comments here that most of them make claims so extravagant you just know they can't be true.

    So I was reviewing Investing For Dummies (no laughing, please) and I see a recommendation for Hulbert Financial Digest. They monitor and rate the track record of dozens of these newsletter and advisory services, including MF. It was an eye opener I can tell you. I advise everyone to check them out. The link is http://www.marketwatch.com/hulbertinteractive/

    I also have discontinued my subscriptions with MF after the 30 day free trial because I feel there is plenty of good info in the MF site accessible for free. Some of the folks I've read here and chosen as favorites really do seem to have a pretty good record with their picks and I have shamelessly farmed their portfolios for ideas.

    BTW, after several weeks of examining MF picks I chose 10 and bought them, I have since bought another 10. I haven't had a negative day yet although I know it will come. My broker was aghast at some of my ideas, i.e.I finally insisted on BIDU and got in at $112 and he still insists AAPL is great altho at where he got us in ($183) I am a hairsbreadth from selling 1/2 and getting some more oversold growth opportunites. I know evryone loves Apple but besides cash & iphoneswhat is going on there? I'm sure I just don't know enough yet but I don't think they will come back anytime soon.

    I not under the illusion it's not anything more than that the market is so down that the criteria I have I would see some growth after all the overselling. I think I got in at the basementor at least the mezzanine.

    My take on things is that we'll see light in the next 3 months. Obama has been very consistent in my view in what he feels are the directions we need to go in and market conditions haven't changed his focus much because he's been focusing on actions in core issues for years now. It looks like he brought in solid cabinet choices (when the far left and far right are both unhappy that's a good sign!) I believe that because the whole world is now in this mess together that we will see governments working together in unprecedented ways. Not out of a sudden brotherly spirit but out of the necessity to survive. We are too intertwined to do otherwise and have had a shared and simultaneous global economic slapdown to remind everyone. I know many of you will think this is naive and many political blogs I read have a rabid hatred for Obama but give it a little time.

    I'm putting money on this by getting into a little solar and alternative energy, construction etc. and am now looking for a few good healthcare positions.

    Good luck to everyone!

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2009, at 11:44 AM, djhere wrote:

    Alex1963

    I appreciated your post, care to help some of us fools along by sharing the favorites you glean from or your picks into solar and alternative energy?

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2009, at 2:08 PM, OldEnglish wrote:

    Thank you to TMF for allowing the dissenters, whom I agree with, to post.

  • Report this Comment On March 19, 2009, at 2:43 PM, TheWize1 wrote:

    Cheap fast-food restaurants should do good in this recession.

  • Report this Comment On May 06, 2009, at 1:39 PM, PricePro12 wrote:

    Way to go Macdonalds ... Will continue to grow big... check stock updates on Greenfaucet.com

  • Report this Comment On May 24, 2009, at 11:12 PM, ozzfan1317 wrote:

    Cmon seriously for everyone complaining if you cant afford to lose some of the money then dont invest it. This is a great buying opportunity push your emotions aside and start bargain hunting. P

  • Report this Comment On May 24, 2009, at 11:13 PM, ozzfan1317 wrote:

    P.S do your own homework though.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2009, at 4:40 PM, SunSurgery wrote:

    AOB has done really poorly since first recommended by these guys.

  • Report this Comment On June 08, 2009, at 4:10 PM, rightlyso1 wrote:

    The fact that they have allowed to post dissenting comments speaks volumes of their open-mindedness and frankness. It is true that small caps are the ones that can provide gigantic returns. A testimony of that is msft. However, it is virtually impossible to pick a stock that will have oversized returns as this implies such company will be riding a very long term upward wave, perhaps a market that has just been created and has an enormous expansion. These are rare gems. When it comes to fools all you need to know and do is not fool yourselves. Boyplunger.com

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2011, at 1:58 PM, travi74 wrote:

    It's Jan 2011 now... how does the MDP look for those who had the stomach to hang on?... :)

    I personally am glad I stuck around

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