Investor Psychology

Bad Media Calls of 08: Did They Really Say That?

There were plenty to choose from, including from us.

What a year. The economy nosedived. U.S. stocks lost 38% of their value. And those of us who earn a living trying to peer into the future had our comeuppance. Along with all the bad news, the panic of '08 will be remembered for a bumper crop of wrong predictions from pundits, prognosticators, and analysts of all stripes. Here are a few bloopers from a year that turned out to be a bust on many levels. See if you agree.

Larry Kudlow, economist and syndicated columnist.

What He Said: "With the U.S. dollar up and oil down and businesses investing, I think [the] Goldilocks [economy] is back in business." – August 28,2008 CNBC’s Kudlow & Company

What Happened Next: Several weeks later Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and signed an agreement to be taken over by Barclays PLC.

What He's Saying Now: "Who knew about Lehman, AIG and the LIBOR [interbank-lending] freeze? But we will see Goldilocks again."

Worth Magazine

What The Magazine Said: "Emerging markets are now the global investors’ [sic] safe haven of choice." – April/May 2008

What Happened Next: Emerging-markets stocks shed 52% of their value in 2008, through December 19.

What They're Saying Now: Nothing [Worth didn’t respond to our request for comment].

Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine

What We Said: Stock investors should "beat the rush to the banks."– November 2008

What Happened Next: The banking industry has come to the brink of collapse over the past few months.

What We're Saying Now: "We grossly underestimated the risks of these companies, but at least all our picks are still in business."- Elizabeth Ody, author of this article.

Suze Orman, Financial advisor and author.

What She said: "If any of you have your money at brokerage firms in a money-market [mutual] fund that is not FDIC-insured, you better switch it out today to either a money-market account that’s insured, a bank that has FDIC insurance, or a money-market fund that invests in Treasuries." – September 23, 2008, The Oprah Winfrey Show

What Happened Next: The U.S. Treasury had already announced a guarantee of money-market mutual funds. Wouldn't a run on these funds help fuel a financial meltdown?

What She's Saying Now: "It is far better to be safe than sorry."

JIM CRAMER, television personality and author.

What He said: "The market will not revisit the panicked lows it hit on July 15…. Bye-bye, bear market. Say hello to the bull, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out." – July 30, 2008 CNBC’s Mad Money

What Happened Next: The Dow fell another 3,400 points from July 15 to its low on November 20.

What He's Saying Now: Nothing [Cramer didn’t respond to our request for comment].

Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher Investments.

What He Said: "I still think the year will end in the plus column…. So keep buying." – April 21, 2008 Forbes

What Happened Next: Stocks are on track in 2008 for their worst calendar year since 1937.

What He's Saying Now: Nothing [Fisher didn’t respond to our request for comment].

BARRON'S Magazine

What the Magazine said: "Home prices are about to bottom." ­ – July 14, 2008

What Happened Next: The month-to-month price decline accelerated, and the year-over-year decline is breaking new records every month.

What They're Saying Now: "The story pointed out that all bets would be off if the U.S. were to descend into a serious recession." responded a spokeswomen from Barron's

DONALD LUSKIN, CIO for Trend Macrolytics LLC.

What He said: "This bull market has been born again…. It’s time to go in and buy junk bonds … it’s time to buy financials." – March 24, 2008, CNBC’s Kudlow & Company

What Happened Next: Stocks, junk and financials are off 30% or more since then.

What He's Saying Now: "We all make [bad calls], though we try our very best not to."

ALLAN SLOAN, editor at Fortune.

What He said: "Lehman won’t fail." – July 7, 2008 Fortune

What Happened Next: Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy on September 15.

What He's Saying Now: "I got it wrong."

To see this in slide show format click here.

To see the bears and how they were right click here.

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