We've heard some bad calls and seen too many poor performers this year. (Remember Netflix (NFLX) ?)
This, after all, has been the U.S. stock market's most horrible first-half-year performance since ... 1970.
What was the market's biggest mistake?
It's the existential problem of listening to the feckless "experts" on TV and elsewhere, who've tried to justify unjustifiable equity valuations during the second half of 2021 with fantasies, rather than the one thing that never lies: cash flow.
Remember, money management is still about just that, managing people's money. Instead of getting garbage and crummy advice on Twitter (TWTR) , get advice from those who pay attention and follow the numbers. Me? I just do the work. My HOAX and co. model portfolios have performed extremely well on an absolute basis so far, and extraordinarily well on a relative basis. Yet, I have to continually remind myself to fight complacency and to always learn.
Let's now get into the way-back machine and try to understand the big mistakes -- understand how talking heads on financial media could justify recommending Tesla (TSLA) , Netflix (NFLX) , or Meta Platforms (META) (formerly Facebook) at significantly higher levels than where they are now.
People always seem to fall for the "it's a transformational new product" line. It works sometimes, of course. When I was watching (on my BlackBerry (BB) ) a clip of Steve Jobs heroically introducing the iPhone in June 2007, of course I didn't know that that product would help revolutionize mobile telephony. But Steve, sadly, will never introduce another product, and let's just mark the iPhone down as the one transformational product in the past 20 years. Everything else is just hype.
This brings us circling back to TSLA. Tesla cars lack the fundamental hardware for full self-driving -- I believe that full-self driving requires lidar, which is stands for "light detection and ranging," a sensing technology that uses a type of laser to measure distances -- but that topic is a long, involved discussion that should be held offline. This lidar point, however, was proven by none other than Tesla this week, as the company reportedly laid off 200 workers at its San Mateo autonomous driving research facility. Just go back to November, and reread the articles about an electric future with self-driving cars, some of which could fly. Absolute rubbish, and, really, as a consumer, all you can do is stop consuming this kind of content.
Next is META. That one was going to change the world with something called the Metaverse (I am still not sure what this is) and META shares are down "only" 52% this year. It is a long, long list of "disruptive" companies that have only disrupted your retirement savings in 2022.
But Netflix is different. People just got tired of the entertainment offerings in the midst of a tsunami of new streaming shows and films from other services. It wasn't disruption, it was just competition that mattered. No industry analyst should ever miss that, and, again, you might not want to listen to the ones who did.
And, even worse, many of these same prognosticators missed a generational flood of inflation for the U.S. economy -- the death-knell for growth stocks. At the same time, they missed a massive boom in energy stocks -- the core components of my HOAX models -- caused by the most basic factor -- lack of investment. So, the same people who were pushing TSLA by wrongly predicting a rapid transition to electric vehicles missed the fact that those very predictions raised the cost of capital for the likes of Chevron (CVX) and Exxon (XOM) and made hydrocarbon shortages that much more likely.
It's been an emotional first half of the year, I guess. Like some whack-a-mole game, though, I keep reading "experts" popping up and popping off about the themes that cost so many of you so much money this year. Man, you just gotta tune them out.
So, I will re-attach my green eye-shade and go on attempting to fix portfolios for newly-acquired clients whose life savings were decimated by listening to the wrong people.