Contrarian Approach to Investing

"Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally."
John Maynard Keynes

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Herb Greenberg has an interesting column this weekend on being a contrarian (If Your Friends Jumped Off A Bridge, Would You?). He says some nice things in it about your humble scribe (I have a quote in it).

We spoke earlier this week, and that conversation got me thinking about being a contrarian, and the elements that go into this approach.

Consider the following aspects to thinking contrary to the crowd:

1) You cannot be a full time contrarian. Why? The crowd is actually right most of the time. Remember, they are what moves markets, why equities go up, why a pop song becomes a #1 hit. Indeed, the crowd is why indexing works.

2) This gets reflected in such cliches as "Don’t fight the tape" and "The Trend is your friend;" The crowd is neither right nor wrong, but instead is its own truth, a self fulfilling prophesy. This leads to  some unexpected outcomes.

3) Beware extremes: The crowd will take markets much higher and much lower than they should go based on reasonable, logical common sense metrics. 

4) There is safety in numbers. No one gets fired for groupthink. In every nature documentary that you have ever seen, its the gazelle at the edge of the herd that the lions devour. The rest of the herd is safely huddled together. Thats the anti-contrarian lesson (if your a gazelle)

5) Whenever the crowd loves or hates something, it worth noting. That’s when contrarians are the ones who will make a giant score. Think short-sellers in Enron or Tyco, or the buyers of tech stocks in late 2002.

6) Where Contrarians shine is when the crowd morphs into an angry mob. Once the bulls become convinced the market is invincible, their full throated cries will be readily apparent. So too, the bears, usually in the depths of a recession. 

7)  It is worthwhile to quantify consensus vs variant perception — rather than rely on gut feelings. A few years ago, I put together a guide to the Contrary Indicators of the 2000-03 Bear Market. It outlines both the anecdotal AND the measurable contrary signals (and 2003 was a great buying opportunity). Use both the anecdotal and quantitative approaches in concert.

8) The idea of Variant Perception is that when most investors know something, it is already built into the stock price. Therefore, going along with the crowd will not generate alpha or above market performance.

9) Consensus equals closet indexing. While I favor indexing for many investors, investing with the consensus can be more expensive. The cheaper way to achieve the end goal of consensus investing at a lower cost is to simply buy and hold index funds.

10) Forget forcasting: Most people do not even understand the present with any precision or accuracy. There’s a reason for that: there are powerful interests with a vested stake in presenting the world in a certain way. Their spin on events serves their own narrow purpose, often to the detriment of the public. (Hence, my tendency to push back and be skeptical of what I am spoonfed).

I include in this group of malevolent spinners the Politicans, Wall Street (especially bulge bracket firms) , Government data sources, big Mutual Funds, Media, and Industry spokesgroups.

The MSM can be a source of both information and misinformation — the difficulty is knowing who and what to rely on. I try to highlight the better sources here on a regular basis.

Being a Contrarian is a lonely but potentially profitable
occupation
. Just ask Doug Kass, Bill Fleckenstein, Dennis Gartman Jim Rogers
or Mark Faber.>

When time permits, I hope to expand this at some later date into a full Apprenticed Investor column . . .

>

 

Source:
If Your Friends Jumped Off A Bridge, Would You?
It’s Important for Investors to Challenge the Herd
HERB GREENBERG
WSJ, January 13, 2007; Page B3
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116865093347475858.html

Free WSJ site
http://tinyurl.com/yd3p82

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Emmanuel commented on Jan 13

    Most people do not even understand the present with any precision or accuracy.

    File me under “most people,” “bearish” section.

  2. Craig commented on Jan 13

    Gotta love Herb, but sometimes he fights the crowd a bit too much.

    I think he should sit down and enjoy a Hanson soda while he thinks about his apple call. There is always two sides of a trade.
    Just because he won’t buy his kids an iphone doesn’t mean much…..now.
    Like Hanson it may later. That’s why we have stops and shorts.

  3. Gary commented on Jan 13

    Barry,
    Excellent piece. It can be very hard to go against the crowd. This is why I pay very close attention to the commitment of traders report every Friday. It is a window into what the big money on Wall Street is really doing. Right now they say that they are bullish in the media but behind the scenes they are selling at rates only seen in 2000 and the beginning of 2005 and to a slightly lesser extent Apr. of last year. Each time preceded a crash or at the very least a large correction. If the biggest money in the market is selling I don’t know how the market will continue to hold up for long.

  4. yc32 commented on Jan 13

    Herb Greenberg himself is a good contrarian indicator. If you followed his investment advice long enough, you will know what I mean. He has been long ABX, short HD, Apple and HPQ.

  5. yc32 commented on Jan 13

    sorry for the typo. Herb has been long ABXA at $8 (not abx).

  6. herb greenberg commented on Jan 13

    YC32:

    To set the record straight, I am not long or short any stock, nor do I make recommendations. Raising caution flags, or pointing out companies who stocks are overlooked, is not the same as recommending or owning. I’m a reporter about companies and stocks, not a broker or money manager — and I make that very clear. Nobody is always right. I have, however, had more than my share of being right! (Check out my report card from last year, on MarketWatch, for a recent peek at the good, bad and ugly: Making the grade — or not!)

    Cheers!

    Herb Greenberg

  7. john commented on Jan 13

    but herb you’re an eternal pessimist which is wrong when the market rises 70% of the time. BUT I ALSO DIAGREE WITH THE THEME THAT THE CROWD IS USUALLY RIGHT. TELL THAT TO ANY BEAR THATS BS. WHEN THE MARKET DROPS AND THE BEARISH SENTIMENT TIPS TO MORE BEARS THAN BULLS WITHOUT EXCEPTION WE SKY 10-20% EVERY TIME. GO BACK AND LOOK AT ALL THE HUGE RALLIES OF 2001,2002 AND 2003.WHEN THE CROWD GOT BEARISH WE TUNRED UP ON A DIME AND KILLED THE BEARS. BARRY’S WRITE UPO SHOULD AHVE SAID WHEN BULLS ARE THE CROWD THEY’RE RIGHT

  8. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jan 13

    The 3rd key up from the bottom on the left hand side is the caps lock

    USE IT.

  9. Eclectic commented on Jan 13

    Herb…

    You’re an excellent and diligent commentator on common sense in investing… one among a relatively small handful that I pay attention to. Hat’s off.

    –Eclectic

    But, BTW, you gotta quit the sets from San Diego with the sails flappin’ in the breeze; it’s disruptin’ my attention span!

  10. jj commented on Jan 13

    Greenberg’s one of the better writers/thinkers out there …. he is a contrary thinker who is right more times than he is wrong … and best of all , he will admit when he’s wrong ( a sign of a great investor –if that’s what avenue he would have chosen to take )… a modest man in spite of being on TV and Print… always a thoughtful , provocative writer and commentator

  11. Eclectic commented on Jan 13

    Herb,

    We’re workin’ up a plaque for you.

    You’ll get it at the ‘1st Annual Big Pic Sit-n-Spin Dinner’ to be held in conjunction with this years Festivus Dinner at BR’s rambling estate.

    As soon as BR’s pinned… Mrs. Bic Pic will serve cookies and hand out iPhones to all guests.

  12. Estragon commented on Jan 13

    Contrary thinking need not be an on or off proposition. I find the more useful contrary thoughts (Herb G’s among them) are often expressed as risks, probabilities, and fragilities rather than black or white up/down calls.

  13. Your what? commented on Jan 13

    Barry,

    Not “(if your a gazelle)”, but “(if you’re a gazelle)”.

  14. Lauriston commented on Jan 13

    Everyone, whether contrarian or otherwise, will eventually be right, and wrong. Just wait long enough. – Mongolian Proverb

  15. lurker commented on Jan 13

    Herb,
    If you aren’t a stock picker how come you care so much about your “report card”? I am confused. As a non money manager you have no audited track record so pointing out your great picks (or mistakes) is pretty meaningless. Your job is to write and get readers. One you seem to do very well.
    IMHO.

  16. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jan 13

    Lauriston:

    The Mongolians may be wrong or right, but did they out or under perform their benchmarks??

  17. Lauriston commented on Jan 13

    At one point the Mongolians way outperformed their benchmarks. Genghis Khan conquered the then known world, all the way from China to Persia and including Iraq, a feat other other countries way underperformed or failed subsequent. Currently I would say the Mongolians are slightly underperforming but very content. Who knows what is under their feet right now, could be the mother-of-all oil reserves! Will make Kazakhstan look like a fishbowl.

  18. Eclectic commented on Jan 13

    Lurker,

    I would observe that should a person give you insights into irregularities of a company’s finances, or give you reason to question fundamental valuations of a company’s current stock price, and then subsequently if that person chooses to assume you’d acted on the insights and avoided a later collapse in the stock price that did happen…

    …then, to my mind, it’s fair to allow the person credit to assume you did act, and to notch it as a successful recommendation, no differently than a paid analyst, broker or money manager would.

    He would also be liable to be criticized for situations in which his insights were incorrect or, even when they are correct, when the stock price still behaves illogically and contrary to his expectations.

    I think that sums up HG pretty well.

  19. donna commented on Jan 13

    Maybe the answer is not to worry about whether or not one is contrary, but just do what makes sense to you?

    At least, that’s how I’ve always done things…

    And I have a Mac and an ipod, but probably will never get an iphone.

  20. m3 commented on Jan 13

    come on, barry.

    everyone knows mongolian philosophers are indexers.

    i thought this was common knowlege…

  21. Market Speculator commented on Jan 13

    Market is going higher, Nasdaq’s accumulation this week speaks volumes!

    Anyone shorting this thing is in for a rude awakening.

  22. herb greenberg commented on Jan 13

    John: Actually, I’m the most optimitic guy I know when it comes to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — and a bunch of other stuff as well.

    Lurker: I do the report card for 2 reasons: 1) Readers have asked for it but more importantly 2) because I do think it’s fair to see what has happened. Most journalists who do what I do also do their versions of report cards. It’s the right thing to do.

  23. tj & the bear commented on Jan 13

    3) Beware extremes: The crowd will take markets much higher and much lower than they should go based on reasonable, logical common sense metrics.

    This is what economists always miss, and why we’re headed for a depression.

  24. tj & the bear commented on Jan 13

    3) Beware extremes: The crowd will take markets much higher and much lower than they should go based on reasonable, logical common sense metrics.

    This is what economists always miss, and why we’re headed for a depression.

  25. tj & the bear commented on Jan 13

    3) Beware extremes: The crowd will take markets much higher and much lower than they should go based on reasonable, logical common sense metrics.

    This is what economists always miss, and why we’re headed for a depression.

  26. tj & the bear commented on Jan 13

    3) Beware extremes: The crowd will take markets much higher and much lower than they should go based on reasonable, logical common sense metrics.

    This is what economists always miss, and why we’re headed for a depression.

  27. tj & the bear commented on Jan 13

    3) Beware extremes: The crowd will take markets much higher and much lower than they should go based on reasonable, logical common sense metrics.

    This is what economists always miss, and why we’re headed for a depression.

  28. tj & the bear commented on Jan 13

    3) Beware extremes: The crowd will take markets much higher and much lower than they should go based on reasonable, logical common sense metrics.

    This is what economists always miss, and why we’re headed for a depression.

  29. tj & the bear commented on Jan 13

    3) Beware extremes: The crowd will take markets much higher and much lower than they should go based on reasonable, logical common sense metrics.

    This is what economists always miss, and why we’re headed for a depression.

  30. tj & the bear commented on Jan 13

    3) Beware extremes: The crowd will take markets much higher and much lower than they should go based on reasonable, logical common sense metrics.

    This is what economists always miss, and why we’re headed for a depression.

  31. My1ambition commented on Jan 13

    3) Beware extremes: The crowd will take markets much higher and much lower than they should go based on reasonable, logical common sense metrics.

    I think this pretty much sums up Herb. While almost every asset class reached significant highs this past year – and continues to do so – the best of us are left scratching our heads as to what is pushing these Markets higher and what will happen when that “what” stops.

  32. Zephyr commented on Jan 13

    Liquidity is that “what”…

  33. alexd commented on Jan 13

    Does the sailor ask why the wind blows or where?

  34. Eclectic commented on Jan 13

    When I was a 4-year-old, we lived in a pasture. No kidding… the house had a fenced enclosure, but the entire compound was within the pasture, and it was loaded with sheep.

    My father said “Watch this,” and he began to walk toward a ram in the pasture. He focused on the ram, fixing his gaze on him directly, and then he moved slowly toward him as a predator might, across maybe 25 yards.

    Rams are mean and defensive, and they’ll charge you (in a semi-wild environment they’re not so domesticated), but my father knew how to intimidate him and bluff him, and the ram began to move the flock away and across the pasture.

    Dad then ran about 4 more quick steps and made a halting terminal action, as if pitching a baseball, but he finished in a stance with his arm extended toward the ram.

    When he did, the ram jumped the extended imaginary line of my father’s arm, even though it was still maybe 15 yards or more away. Then the entire flock jumped (I don’t think a single animal failed to jump) the same imaginary line that the ram had just jumped. They jumped a point in space exactly as if they’d been clearing a real stationary wall or fence.

    I asked my father why they did it, because even at that age I could see there was no reason to jump. He said “If you were a sheep in that flock, you’d jump too, because to the ram there is something real there that he has to jump, and the flock follows his lead and must jump too.”

    That entire flocks of sheep have supposedly mysteriously jumped to their deaths over cliffs (unusual, but still a random truth in mountainous sheep country) is no mystery to me, because of the lesson taught to me at age 4. It’s possibly only because of the bad decisions of just one ram.

  35. rebound commented on Jan 13

    Eclectic-san,

    Wise words, Freakin’ intense story.

    More importantly, are these tricks and/or special powers applicable in singles bars or the dating scene?

    Wait, I think this has been tried before, in a pure fictional sense, with humans.

    The scenario:

    “While hanging with my buddies, I set down my drink and said, “Watch this” and he began to walk towards the dance floor. The music began, and I paused, making a halting terminal action …”

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/45/Saturday_night_fever_movie_poster.jpg/200px-Saturday_night_fever_movie_poster.jpg

    [If the link does not work, this is the poster for Saturday Night Fever w/John Travolta’s killer move]

    “When I did, the hottest chick in the night club jumped at the extended imaginary line of my arm, even though she was still maybe 15 yards or more away. Then an entire flock of women jumped, spilling their drinks, jumping at the same imaginary like the alpha female had just jumped at.”

    Just joking. Thanks for the great story.

    According to John Nash, and a Nobel prize or something, this apparently does not work in singles bars with humans.

    In the movie, he was depicted as saying, “If we all go for the blonde and block each other, not a single one of us is going to get her. So then we go for her friends, but they will all give us the cold shoulder because no on likes to be second choice. But what if none of us goes for the blonde? We won’t get in each other’s way and we won’t insult the other girls. It’s the only way to win. It’s the only way we all get laid. ”

  36. Craig commented on Jan 14

    Ecletic, you’re father (or someone) used to throw stuff (like rocks or pebbles) at the sheep to move them, so they jumped. Not uncommon. My business is sheep and herding dogs (Australian Cattle Dogs).
    I did it this afternoon with my sheep. They were pastured last week next to the road and the school kids sometimes throw stuff at them, which is why I moved them to a pasture closer to the house where I can see them. They now expect that anytime someone makes that motion a rock is coming and they jump.
    I move my sheep with dogs and I give clinics all over North America to people that compete in herding trials. I judge herding events for AKC,CKC,USBCHA and AHBA. Lots of times in Herb’s neighborhood (Valley Center and Murietta).

    They will also jump puddles of water and shadows from trees or telephone poles. Shadows look like a hole to them so they jump it, like painted cattle traps. They will only jump off cliffs if pushed or panicked. They’re not brilliant, but not that stupid either. They can be pushed too hard and can break their necks on fences but usually turn from both fences and cliffs. I have gathered wild sheep and they tend to be lighter (move with less pressure and more distance) but are usually sensible.
    Best to be careful, some rams are not so easily fooled and can knock the crap out of a human. Much depends on how they have been handled previously and the breed. Don’t try it with Highland Cheviots. Sheep can recognize different dogs and humans from very far away when both appear to be little dots to one another. Like the market they get desensitized with the familiar. Other times they panic at the silliest but unfamilar thing, like a cat or strange dog.

    I respect Herb and certainly listen to his cautions, but sometimes the flock keeps moving even after the dog stops, like Hanso did for a while. I expect he will be right soon enough and the herd will stop as he expects. The market isn’t quite as sensible as sheep.

    I never tried it with women but never had to. My wife doesn’t jump but picks up real rocks and throws them back at me.

  37. Philippe commented on Jan 14

    The crowd is just the tail, what is of interest is the head and its motivation.
    Finance and mercantilism seem begnin untill they make history.

  38. Eclectic commented on Jan 14

    Rebound:

    Funny turn on my story. I don’t think you’ll need any help findin’ a way to land on some fleece, but make sure to hang on to your own. Just select some nice chops and ‘focus.’

    Craig:

    I defer to your obviously superior knowledge of sheep, but my father didn’t throw anything and after he’d resumed an upright and calm stance, the remainder of the flock (or herd) continued over the spot; not as a single line formation, but they just went over as if an actual line had been stretched, and all broadly over that exact line like a giant white wave.

    I enjoyed your story, but maybe our fellow sheep didn’t enjoy either of our stories, except for ‘Rebound’ and I think he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I wouldn’t trust him with one of my lambs. How ’bout Ewe?

    Maybe our fellow Big Pic’sters will enjoy this story instead:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-07-08-sheep_x.htm?csp=34

  39. DavidB commented on Jan 14

    The 3rd key up from the bottom on the left hand side is the caps lock

    Whoa dudes! Barry can see us all!! *shudder*

    One of my maxims combines both points 1 and 3 quite well

    The crowd is usually right, EXCEPT in the extremes!

  40. Eclectic commented on Jan 14

    Contrarianism and Momentum.

    Aren’t they cousins of a sort?

    Imagine the following:

    You’re an experienced jumbo jet captain with 25 years of experience. You’ve never had an accident of any sort although there have been a few tight spots.

    This afternoon your plane is loaded with 306 passengers and crew, including yourself, and you’re sitting at the gate a few minutes behind schedule; should have been pushed back 10 minutes ago. Your flight is supposed to connect to Atlanta in about 4 hours.

    There are still some unavoidable delays and 10 minutes later you finally get pushed back and taxi out into a very long line of other aircraft waiting to take off. If you’d not been delayed, it would’ve been 3 or 4 ahead at most and by now you’d be near cruising altitude. If you miss your gate time by too much in Atlanta, the company will be hosting a very expensive list of hotel guests tonight, and things are beginning to look like you might miss it.

    As it is, you’re basically in a linear parking lot of heavy iron, and as you taxi at wheelchair speed you notice a large thunderstorm darkening the sky in the distance, even as there’s only sun and cloudless blue sky above you now. Boy, you wish you were getting the okay for takeoff now, but what will it be like in another 20 or 30 minutes?

    There are still 10 ahead but you’re down near the end of the taxiway now, and you can see cleared flights ahead of you take the 180 degree turn, sit a moment, and thunder by you in the opposite direction. But now incoming flights are reporting wind shear on their approach legs to landing, and part of the thunderstorm is wrapping around and beginning to threaten the departure space. Each time a flight turns and departs you get closer to takeoff, but the thunderstorm gets closer as well.

    Now, finally, you’re up next and you are cleared to turn and hold the runway for takeoff clearance. As you turn, you get a really good look at that thunderstorm. Damn!… that’s close, far closer than you’d hoped. You call the tower and ask about windshear at the airport. “None reported,” the controller says, but incoming flights are beginning to get put into holding patterns now because of pilot reports of severe turbulence on approach.

    From your perspective now, sitting on the end of the runway, it can’t help but be worsening at least a little in the departure zone, but the flight ahead of you was cleared just a minute ago and he’s airborne. You’re next. While you wait, you look back down the line of aircraft now facing you and you can taste the tension they have as they wait for your wheels to roll them closer to a takeoff for themselves.

    Another look at that thunderstorm… it’s still closer it seems… don’t know if this is a good idea. There are winds in that thunderstorm that will steal the lift from over your wings and put you and your fellow 305 souls in a big pile of fire, smoke and twisted metal just off the airport grounds. But the tower still reports no windshear from electronic detectors near the runway. The next turning flight behind you for takeoff is so close you can see the eyes of the captain and copilot watching you.

    At that instant, the tower says your flight is ‘cleared for takeoff.’ Now the moment is all yours. What are you going to do? After waiting in that line so long… and while watching flight after flight take off… and after being told 2 or 3 times that there’s no windshear, there you sit with your hand on the 2 throttle controls connected to giant air-sucking monsters that will give you what you’ve been waiting for.

    Your copilot is watching you like your pet dog waits for table scraps. The thunderstorm is even closer now than it’s ever been, and you’d pray for an instant of relief if the tower canceled your clearance. But, no… all you hear is the tower repeat your clearance for takeoff. You’re sitting there like a dummy, cleared for takeoff but the sweat is beading on your forehead.

    All the captains in all the flights behind you also heard the first and repeat clearances for takeoff… so why are you sitting there. You only have a second or two to make a decision… What’s it going to be?

    You can refuse the clearance if you want to, but then you’ll have to taxi at wheelchair speed again down the active runway to the nearest turnoff, and there you‘ll have to wait until ground control moves some of the departing aircraft behind you out of the way just so you can go lamely back to the gate. And when you’d turn off the active runway, you’ll have to hear the flight that was behind you thunder into the air… and know that captain and copilot are whispering to themselves, ‘fools.’

    If you refuse the takeoff clearance, you won’t be able to get back in line again even if you wanted to, because your copilot worked an extra flight this morning and he’s due to be off the clock before you could get to the arrival gate in Atlanta with another huge delay. Not only would a number of connecting flights at Atlanta now be without their passengers who are on your flight, but you’ll have to put them in hotels tonight in the big city where you are, and it’s possible they might miss connections again tomorrow and stay another night in Atlanta.

    What are you going to do? You’ve been flying most of your adult life and every instinct inside your body and soul says, “Don’t go!” But everything in your chain of momentum; your company, the passengers, your copilot’s eyes, the flights behind you and the controllers are all telling you, “Go… go… go now, fool, what are you waiting for?”

    So, what are you going to do?… You’ve now had an extra thin second to think, but you’ve got to do something and do it now. What’s the decision? We don’t have all day.

  41. My1ambition commented on Jan 14

    Talking from experience are we Eclectic?

  42. Eclectic commented on Jan 14

    My1… I promise I’ll answer that later, but for now don’t distract me… Let’s ratchet this up a notch.

    Okay, so you’re the captain of this jumbo and you’ve made the decision. It’s a go.

    You and the copilot join your hands on the throttles and push them firmly over to maximum power. The engines whine up and that massive sense of thrust begins to press you back into the seat. We’re on our way!… I’ve done this and it’s a “Go!”

    The tension immediately passes from your body and soul and routine takes over.

    One fraction of a second after the throttles are pushed, your copilot hears a garbled sound, a tiny clicking sound, over his headset. He knows from experience someone may be having their microphone transmissions “stepped on” (when two simultaneous communications can’t both be received), and if it’s the tower’s mike getting stepped on by another aircraft’s transmission to the tower at that exact same instant, then “What might the tower have been trying to tell us?” he thinks.

    Another fraction of a second later, your copilot tells you, softly at first, “We’re not… I don’t think, uh.. I don’t think we’re cleared,” but he begins to say it much louder as you continue down the runway, gaining more and more speed.

    You’d not heard the tiny clicked hint of a stepped mike and tell him “We’re cleared for takeoff! They cleared us!”

    Finally, the copilot almost yells the warning that he thinks the clearance has been “deleted,” and that you should “abort!”

    Now, you’re almost moving too fast to abort, but in 1 or at most 2 more seconds, you will be beyond aborting. It’s raining now so hard at the far end of the runway that you can’t see the end.

    What are you going to do now?… You wanna be twice the fool?… once for sitting like a chicken on the end of the runway with half the flying public lined up behind you?… and now again as you abort and possibly end up, brakes locked, tires screaming and smoking, sliding to a disturbing grinding halt beyond the runway’s end marker?

    That’ll get the blow-out emergency escapes inflated and you’ll see broken hips of old ladies when you finally get to the bottom with them. It’ll close the airport for hours. They’ll investigate what happened.

    You’ll get to tell ’em your dumbass copilot talked you out of an unambiguous takeoff clearance. Of course the tower will agree with that, so you’ll be the bigger fool still.

    What are you going to do now?… Think about it hard and fast… you’ve got another 1/2 second… that should be enough for a professional with your training, background and expertise.

    So, what’s the word, J-Bird?… What are we going to see happen now?

  43. Craig commented on Jan 14

    Safety first. Abort and slink back to the gate in embarrassment.

    In this situation there is no safety stop, just a big gap down with no recovery.

    I’m glad I’m not responsible for that many souls. If they lie on the ground dead it’s really bad for business. If they miss a flight for safety reasons they will be disappointed but will understand. Broken hips would be bad but not fatal in most cases. Hopefully they’re securely strapped in and the flight attendants did their jobs. I’d have called it before the tower cleared takeoff. My perspective and responsibility is different than the tower’s.

    If it’s my beloved dog (45 lbs)and she’s standing in front of 1500LBS of pissed off hamburger, I’d leave it to her expertise and instincts on how to proceed. My job is much easier. She will either wait to see what said burger does and bite what presents itself first, a nose or front foot and then heel him back to the herd or side step the whole affair and recover to try again. She could also get a kick to the head or a foot in her back and the ensuing possible disaster. Luckily this almost never happens.

    The passengers are in my position. They are relying on experience and instincts of an experienced pilot.

    Now for reality. I’ve already ridden appl for a decent gain including the 11% or so left from last week’s gain and Herb’s call (co-pilot) only warns me to tighten my stops and take IBD’s (tower) bold square near-buy point ($93.26) call with a bit more caution on Tuesday. If it turns against me I’ll bail with my profit and perhaps wait to see if volume and momentum lose enough altitude to set up a short.

    Luckily not life or death, just a tax issue.

  44. snook commented on Jan 14

    i like this fellow’s aproach 2 smatmoney.com>>>Already in ’07, There Are Signs the Conventional Wisdom Is Off. Also, if you think there is no reason for a global stress premium on oil….think again. btw..why is connie rice spending her holiday weekend in the middle east?? i had a dream!!! that steve jobs was wearing prison stripes. anyone else dream this??????????????????????????????????

  45. Eclectic commented on Jan 14

    My1, no… never been employed in aviation. I was once an instrument rated pilot and used general aviation for recreation and random business, so that experience possibly helps me tell such a story as this.

    I’ve been lined up on the taxiway with dozens of mostly larger aircraft ahead of me, all of us lined up and slowed because of weather threats… And I’ve made “go/no go” decisions in the face of potential windshear that were emotionally taunt… but nothing more than trivial in comparison to what the fictional pilot in this story faced.

    Really, my story is not about flying at all, but a metaphor for human emotional momentum and how powerfully it can overtake common sense.

  46. My1ambition commented on Jan 14

    Snook: It was actually an article in the Daily Wealth a few weeks ago. look it up. lol.

    Eclectic: If your flying a jumbo than Bernanke is flying the new airbus A380. Aren’t you more experienced too? lol.

  47. david foster commented on Jan 14

    Eclectic–there was an article in an aviation magazine about 2 years ago that supported your scenario: an airport with forecasts of possible wind shear, etc. Lots of flights sat on the group for about a half hour; then somebody decided it was OK to go. Pretty soon, all, or just about all, the flights had left. The forecast had not changed, so arguably the odds against bad things happening to flight #10 were no more favorable than they were against flight #1.

  48. DavidB commented on Jan 14

    Your story reminds me of this FedEx video. As explained at you tube:

    This is a radar recording taken of the Memphis area on a particularly busy day in Summer 2003. Memphis is the HQ of the international courier company FedEx and each of the planes displayed on the screen here are Fed Ex flights inbound to Memphis. The red/yellow/green colouring is an approcahing thunderstorm.

  49. Eclectic commented on Jan 14

    DavidB, that is incredible! Thanks.

    BR, “I got your topic control right here.”

  50. Eclectic commented on Jan 14

    My1… Bernanke is, to now, just on the GreenSplane, and it’s still on autopilot.

    Don’t misunderstand me… Bernanke is a good, diligent and caring man I think, but most of the accolades for him as Fed Chairman so far in his early tenure are because the stock market has gone up since he took over.

    With identical monetary policy since he took office, if the market were down 15% overall, it would be a different story.

  51. Craig commented on Jan 14

    Snook, No dreams of stripes, but I did pay attention to the Pres. sending a couple battlegroups to cut-off Iranian and Syrian support in Iraq. Notice how oil rebounded the next day? I thought it would take the general market down but was surprised it was not to be. I did expect oil to about- face though. It’s that geopolitic thing again….. Made some decent $ on defense/bullets/etc. I expect it to be with us for some time.

    Imagine if we don’t do the Iraq thing….and SA, turkey, Iran, Syria get involved. Anyone want to take bets on Israel’s response? NOT GOOD.

    Wasn’t it Mark Twain that said it’s easier to stay out then to get out? Smart guy.
    Too bad the Pres. isn’t very well read.

  52. Tom commented on Jan 16

    Concerning the idea of spin by the media and those in power, I just read an interesting book. It is by an MIT graduate. The subject is disinformation. To learn more about it, feel free to go to: http://www.peterv.com/disinformation.htm

  53. The Big Picture commented on Sep 16

    Forex Money Show Keynote Presentation

    Here’s an overview of today’s Keynote Address at the Forex Money Show, September 16, 2007, 9:00am Variant Perception -What is it -Signs it may be nearby language; things that don’t sound quite right listen for weasel words: Spend more time with his fam…

Read this next.

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