Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Unlikely Guidance

In the interest of full disclosure, it must be said, I don't look to President Bush often for words to keep close and help in my musings. Having said that, the occasional out of context blurb can give one some wisdom. During Dubya's first presidential campaign, as he kissed hogs and admired babies in Iowa he was addressed by an elderly woman in the crowd for his thoughts on a subject of importance to her. After telling him what her view was, his response, which perhaps was the precursor of things to come? "Who cares what you think?" I doubt he got her vote, but there be a useful nugget in his snappy response.

The investment community is overwhelmed with the thoughts of literally thousands of bright, and disagreeing, analysts and their opinions. Whether it is Jim Cramer fairly screaming his latest sure thing, or Secretary Paulsen reassuring the world that all is well at Fannie Mae or the manager of the local bank branch telling us now is the time to buy NatCity shares, or the Florida real estate broker or me, sometimes it doesn't hurt to let the inner voice say, "who cares what you think?"

Successful stock investors have a mantra that comes in handy in a world of opinions clamoring for attention. Don't tell me what you think, tell me what you see.

I see a man who is very selective in reminding us of his successful investment calls. I see a government agency trying to figure out how to repay $223 Billion in bonds due at the end of September with lenders and investors very thin on the ground for Fannie Mae stock or bonds. I see a bank stock that the market valued at $39/share last year and less than $5 now. I see an advisor who kept clients out of Enron, but got smacked by Worldcom. If what someone thinks, does not match what we can see; who cares what you think?

John Barnyak