When it comes to stocks, the only thing as old as the market itself is the attempt to predict it. Every year brings with it a new tribe of analysts and advisors, along with a new generation of investors willing to pay for their advice. As often as not, the real cost to the investor is when the results come in. But it makes no difference. It’s a game that will never stop. That’s because there will always be winners along with the losers, and most players will just shift their allegiances.
Two of the best known predictors are Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics and Ken Fisher of Fisher Investments. Both have built strong reputations on the basis of major successful calls, but were on dramatically different sides of the fence one year ago.
In the spring of 2009, the general feeling among many analysts was one of resignation. After years of bad news and unprecedented financial turmoil, the word recession was being shadowed by depression. The sense of many was that there was simply no place for share prices to go but down.
When Nouriel Roubini, of Roubini Global Economics, warned against continued major market losses in 2009, it seemed like the safest of bets. After all, Roubini was one of the few that had pegged the mortgage crash the year before. He was just one more voice in an increasingly pessimistic choir. But look at what happened. The S&P500 was in the 800s last April, and now stands near 1,200.
At exactly the same time so many pundits were throwing in the towel, Ken Fisher, of Fisher Investments, and son of renowned Wall Street investor Philip A. Fisher, was predicting a huge run-up in the S&P500, perhaps as much as 70%. Fisher’s philosophy: Since all widely known factors have already been priced into the market, the only way to add value is to identify factors not widely known, or to more intelligently interpret those factors. Fisher believed that the market was grossly underpriced, and still sees upside potential, but with a special look at opportunities outside the U.S.
Fisher has now increased his holdings in overseas companies like Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), Nestle (NQB: NSRG.Y), and Roche (NQG:RHHB.Y), while cutting back on Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), and other U.S. companies.