Ben Carlson

Did Bill Gross Tip The Pop Machine Over?

Thousands of investment professionals gathered at McCormick Place in Chicago earlier this summer for the annual Morningstar Conference. The room had a definitive buzz to it at lunchtime. Bill Gross was the keynote lunch speaker and everyone was patiently waiting to see what he would have to say after stories, rumors and gossip swirled from…

Why Investment Advice Can Be So Confusing

It’s not simply the news or the data itself that makes things interesting when following the markets, but the discussion and reaction that they bring about from investors. Interpretation and perception become the most important element, especially since information is so easy to come by these days.

When Exotic Devices Create Exotic Problems

Vanity Fair has a fascinating article in the latest issue on airplane safety and how it affects pilot error. To make planes safer these days, engineers have designed automated systems that basically allow the planes to fly themselves.

Some Stocks Don’t Come Back

“If every stock you own is on the new high list, you’re a momentum guy. If every stock you own is on the new low list, you’re out of business.” – Leon Cooperman Mean reversion is one of the most powerful forces in all of finance. Above average performance is eventually followed by below average performance….

Would a Repeat of the 1987 Crash Really Be That Bad?

“The intelligent investor realizes that stocks become more risky, not less, as their prices rise, and less risky, not more, as their prices fall.” – Jason Zweig If you’re in the business of fear-mongering, one of the go-to moves to try to scare investors is to predict that the markets are looking eerily similar to…

What is a Bubble?

“The term bubble should indicate a price that no reasonable future outcome can justify.” – Cliff Asness There’s been a steady stream of bubble talk since the financial crisis. Everything that goes up in value ends up being called a bubble — stocks, bonds, gold, IPOs, biotech, Silicon Valley, etc. Most investors seem surprised more…

Enduring Lessons From the Financial Crisis

When asked what people would learn from the financial crisis, GMO’s Jeremy Grantham replied: In the short term a lot, in the medium term a little, the in the long term, nothing at all. That would be historical precedent. As they say, we don’t want to let a crisis go to waste. Here are some…

Mutual Funds From Good to Great

“The paradox of skill says that when the outcome of an activity combines skill and luck, as skill improves, luck becomes more important in shaping results.” – Michael Mauboussin I recently wrote a post about how size is the enemy of outperformance. My main point was that extreme levels of outperformance become nearly impossible to pull…