This roundtable is a tribute to the talking heads. The folks like Jim Cramer who keep us info-tained with thoughts on the daily machinations of the marketplace.
Speaking of which, my favorite talking head is Kai Ryssdal of American Public Media's daily Marketplace radio program. In 30 minutes, I get a rational, measured wrap-up of the day's events, as well as a more in-depth nugget or two.
Here are the folks my fellow analysts enjoy.
Tim Beyers, Fool contributor and Rule Breakers analyst
Neither Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal nor David Pogue of The New York Times are financial commentators, but as a tech writer and investor, their observations are important to my portfolio. Their reviews can either make or break a new consumer technology.
Consider the iPad. Pogue's review of Apple's
Yet he also saw what most us Fools didn't. Pogue knew the iPad could be a great, low-maintenance computer for the tech-limited, and said as much in his review. With 3 million iPads sold to date, I'd say he was right and we were wrong.
But I don't just listen to Pogue and Mossberg for their interpretation of the zeitgeist. Mossberg, in particular, has a way to pointing out minor flaws in his testing that become issues later. His early tests of the new iPhone 4 documented unexplained reception issues that have since made headlines.
In tech investing, you buy what works and avoid what doesn't. Mossberg and Pogue do as good a job as any of separating the winners from the losers.
Alex Dumortier, CFA, Fool Contributor
At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, if someone is very visible and well known, they probably aren't worth listening to. Why? Because being/staying visible is a separate pursuit from thinking about financial markets. Most of the people whose views I enjoy reading (not listening to -- the distinction is important) are largely unknown among the general investing public -- many of them do virtually no media appearances.
There are exceptions, such as Marc Faber, who produces "The Gloom Boom & Doom Report" and manages money out of Hong Kong. He labels himself a contrarian, and it's certainly true that you won't find too many 60-something Swiss investment managers sporting a ponytail.
In a Barron's roundtable that was published in mid-June, Faber recommended the Market Vectors Vietnam ETF
I can go along with the first two recommendations, but I would caution anyone considering implementing the third. That trade requires deep pockets and steely nerves; yes, Treasury yields are near historic lows, but I think investors could drive the price of Treasuries higher in the near-term if a new (or existing) crisis flares up -- bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.
Morgan Housel, Fool contributor
There's a frequent guest on CNBC named Michael Pento. I always love watching him because every time he talks, you think he's two seconds away from blowing a gasket and punching the guy next to him. If you ever need a reminder that the media gives priority attention to those who can out-crazy the next guy, he's one to watch.
My favorite, though, is Bill McBride, who writes the blog Calculated Risk. What's great about the blog is its complete absence of opinion, hyperbole, and emotion. It lays out the facts, mostly in graphical form, and explains them in clear detail. That's it.
The blog mainly focuses on the housing industry, where McBride is an undisputed expert. He was warning of the housing bubble years before it burst, including the excesses of Fannie Mae
Share your favorite talking heads in the comments section below. Or check out some of our favorite financial books.
This roundtable article was compiled by Anand Chokkavelu, who doesn’t own shares in any company mentioned but does own music by the most famous talking head of all. You can follow Anand on Twitter. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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