Sunday, February 4, 2007

Investing / Trading Syndromes - "-itis's"

Have you noticed lately several syndromes prevalent among the trading / investing classes and the chattering nabobs on financial TV?

Contrarian-itis: Taking the opposite side of every movement, no matter how short in duration or small in amplitude. Very dangerous to one's financial health because long trends DO exist. Bull markets can last for years. People with this syndrome think themselves unique, whilst in reality they are massed in crowds of contrarians missing the main movement.

Bubble-itis: Thinking every big move is a bubble of the proportion of the Japanese stock & real estate markets of the 1980s and the US tech stock bubble of the late 1990s-2000. This syndrome sees bubbles everywhere. The bubble-itis minor prophets speak fervently on Bubblevision and, similar to messianic figures, foretell imminent doom. They infect their victims, causing them to miss major sector and asset class moves.

Guru-itis: Seen among formerly successful investors and traders, who become anointed (or self-anointed) as a "guru" whilst they proceed to cost their followers large sums. They may hawk themselves on Bubblevision, through paid web sites, or in newsletters - very recent malperformance notwithstanding. Admitting an error is rare because they would lose followers.

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