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The FANG Fantasy

With the “FANG” trade getting long in the tooth, so to speak, Wall Street analysts are now scrambling to formulate new acronyms to accommodate the most robust names in Big Tech today. FAANG, FAAA, FAAMG and now FANTASY have been brought forward adding companies like Microsoft, Tesla and Nvidia to the original FANG Fab-Four of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

As market warning signs so, they don’t get better than this. Widely…

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The Fiduciary Rule Genie Is Already Out Of The Bottle

Rules and regulations exist to let us know what behaviors we should expect from the people we do business with. Sometimes, good sense or social convention overtake these rules — and they don’t matter so much. Just about everyone wears seat-belts these days (we all know how much they improve our odds of survival in an accident); the ranks of underage smokers have plummeted (it’s no longer cool). Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, as they say, there’s no cramming it back in.

Such is the case with the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule. On Friday, President Trump asked the Labor Department to review the rule, which requires brokers working with retirement savers to put the interest of their clients ahead of their own. After years of work on it, the regulation was finalized last year by the Obama administration.

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The Long Road Of Proving Yourself As A Investor

A reader asked the other day, "How much time do you need before you can separate skill versus luck in investing?" 

My answer was "probably 20-30 years," which he found astounding. He thought I'd say five years. But here's my reasoning. 

If a doctor performed one successful surgery, you can be pretty sure he's an expert. If he does one successful surgery every day for a year, he clearly knows what he's doing.

Investing is different. There are thousands of stocks, and at any given time, a fair number of them will be exploding higher. With millions of investors, some will be holding disproportionate amounts of those winners at any given moment. It can take five or 10 years of successful returns for an investor to make a case that results aren't entirely due to chance.

But even then -- with, say a 10-year track record of success -- an investor can't claim expertise. Or at least reliable expertise you'd expect from a doctor or an engineer. That's…

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Intellectually I knew there were two forms of market participants already: price-sensitive “investors” and price-insensitive “traders”.  The former buys low and sells high, and has a process for determining why they are doing so.  The latter sells low and covers lower, or buys high and sells higher.  Both are entirely legitimate ways to make returns in any market, but it’s important to distinguish between them; who you listen to and surround yourself with will inform your market view and trading positions.  When the stock market opened for its “Black Monday” on August 24th, those selling were “traders”, whether they want to admit it or not.  They didn’t care what level prices were at, just that they were going down. “Get…

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