Barron’s Mea Culpa

One of the criticisms I regularly make about the Financial Media is their lack of accountability for their own bad advice, as well as that of the many awful guests they have on.

Its a wonder that some people get quoted or appear on television so regularly, given their lack of acumen, insight and terrible track record. But some people are entertaining (Jim Cramer), others fit a particular political agenda (Don Luskin) and others merely refuse to go away (Ben Stein) — despite their money losing advice.

So whenever a major media outlet fesses up for their past advice — good and bad — the rarity of the event nearly make it a cause for celebration.  Such is the case with Barron’s annual review of their print magazine and online picks and pans. The past 3 years worth of long and short recs are all out there, for better or worse:

“THE BEAR MARKET OF 2008, WHICH HUMBLED some of the most notable investment managers, also took a toll on stocks favored by Barron’s.

The shares of 108 companies that were the focus of bullish articles in Barron’s last year showed an average decline of 29.4%, versus a drop of 25.9% in the relevant benchmark indexes. The performance is measured from the Friday before publication through the end of 2008 and doesn’t include dividends.

This was the second year in a row that our picks lagged behind the indexes. Until 2007, we had consistently outperformed for several years.”

Kudos to them for recognizing that accountability in the Financial Press matters, for collecting and revealing the track record, both good and bad.


Click for interactive graphic


Barron’s Stock Picks & Pans
Barron’s, JANUARY 17, 2009

Oops! We Missed the Mark in ’08
Barron’s, JANUARY 17, 2009

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