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The Making of a Market Guru: Forbes Presents 25 Years of Ken Fisher

Book Description

Ken Fisher is founder and CEO of Fisher Investments, an independent money management firm managing over $35 billion (as of Dec. 31/09) for individuals and institutions. And, Fisher has written the monthly "Portfolio Strategy" column for Forbes magazine for the last twenty-five years—since 1984—making him, so far, the fourth longest-running columnist in the magazine's history. During this time, he's seen everything from the stock market crash of 1987 and the great bull markets of the 1980s and 1990s to the Tech bubble of 2000 and the global market meltdown of 2008.

Now, with The Making of a Market Guru, you'll gain an insightful look at Fisher's prolific career over the years and discover the high-profile market calls he's made so far in these monthly columns. At times engaging and timely, at others revealing and informative, this book is a sweeping look at a recent and eventful slice of stock market history. You'll read about what's changed, but you'll be more amazed by what hasn't. And you'll see investing wisdom that still applies, now and for the foreseeable future, from a quarter-century of Fisher's concise and witty market wisdom.

Preceding Fisher's columns for each year are a few pages of commentary—putting them in historic context, pointing out areas that are still salient, and others where Fisher's perspective has changed over the years—highlighting key points that deserve extra attention.

Chapter by chapter, this book offers practical investment advice from a leading market voice, while:

  • Looking at Fisher's market analysis over the years and providing an industry insider's view of major, and not-so-major, market events

  • Examining how Fisher called three of the last four bear markets

  • Showing that what many commonly think impacts markets doesn't—and some very surprising things that do impact markets that few are aware of.

  • And much more

The more things change, the more they stay the same—at least when it comes to investing. And seeing history through the eyes of a market guru can help improve your overall investment endeavors today. If you take the time to read this unique, historic compilation, you'll be taking your first steps to understanding how to become your own market guru.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Introduction
    1. 25 Years of Relevancy
    2. Money Where Your Mouth Is
    3. Evolution of the Guru
    4. A Road Map to 25 Years
  3. 1. 1984: A Not So Orwellian Year
    1. 1.1. Cherchez the Sales Rep: July 16, 1984
    2. 1.2. Why Glamour Doesn't Pay: August 13, 1984
    3. 1.3. High-Tech Checklist: September 10, 1984
    4. 1.4. The Lion and the Mouse: October 8, 1984
    5. 1.5. Blind Pessimism: November 5, 1984
    6. 1.6. How to Cash In on Whizzers: December 3, 1984
    7. 1.7. Big Bloopers of 1984: December 31, 1984
  4. 2. 1985: A 30% Yawner
    1. 2.1. Big Companies, Fragile Stocks: January 28, 1985
    2. 2.2. Pint-Size Powerhouses: February 25, 1985
    3. 2.3. Look Out Below: March 25, 1985
    4. 2.4. Follow the Wino's Lead: April 22, 1985
    5. 2.5. Bankruptcy Bargains: May 22, 1985
    6. 2.6. Gifts of the Gurus: June 3, 1985
    7. 2.7. Don't Be Too Smart for Your Own Good: July 1, 1985
    8. 2.8. IBM Drove a Tough Bargain: July 29, 1985
    9. 2.9. Where Are They Hiding?: August 26, 1985
    10. 2.10. How to Get the Real Lowdown: September 16, 1985
    11. 2.11. How to Shoot in the Dark, Safely: October 7, 1985
    12. 2.12. Emulating America's Richest: October 28, 1985
    13. 2.13. Half-Buck Bargains: November 4, 1985
    14. 2.14. Modesty Is the Best Policy: December 2, 1985
    15. 2.15. Keep Your Worms Warm: December 30, 1985
  5. 3. 1986: Global-dy Gook
    1. 3.1. The Case for Madness: February 24, 1986
    2. 3.2. Rigged: March 24, 1986
    3. 3.3. Bombs Away: April 21, 1986
    4. 3.4. Ready-to-Go: May 5, 1986
    5. 3.5. Witch Doctors: June 2, 1986
    6. 3.6. Lessons From My Losers: June 30, 1986
    7. 3.7. A Time to Buy, a Time to Sell: July 28, 1986
    8. 3.8. Sell? Or Hold?: August 25, 1986
    9. 3.9. Be Conservative, Not Conventional: September 22, 1986
    10. 3.10. Myths to Frighten Children: October 6, 1986
    11. 3.11. Pipe Dreams: October 27, 1986
    12. 3.12. Smoke, Mirrors and Suckers: November 17, 1986
    13. 3.13. Greener Grass?: December 15, 1986
  6. 4. 1987: Crash!
    1. 4.1. Bag a Bargain: January 12, 1987
    2. 4.2. Back to Basics: February 9, 1987
    3. 4.3. Betting on the Dow—Partly: March 9, 1987
    4. 4.4. Bull in Bull Markets: April 6, 1987
    5. 4.5. Spread on Thick: April 27, 1987
    6. 4.6. 15% With Little Risk: May 18, 1987
    7. 4.7. What Goes Up . . .: June 15, 1987
    8. 4.8. Will Rogers Was Right: August 1, 1987
    9. 4.9. Medium Is Beautiful: August 24, 1987
    10. 4.10. Fair-Weather Genius: September 7, 1987
    11. 4.11. Double Damned: October 5, 1987
    12. 4.12. How to Take—and Keep—Unfair Advantage: October 26, 1987
    13. 4.13. Diary of a Money Manager: November 16, 1987
    14. 4.14. The 2% Rule: December 14, 1987
  7. 5. 1988: Ear to the Ground
    1. 5.1. The Coming Recession: January 11, 1988
    2. 5.2. Tighten Up, But Don't Panic: February 8, 1988
    3. 5.3. The Quiet Bull: March 7, 1988
    4. 5.4. By the Book: April 4, 1988
    5. 5.5. And the Last Shall Be First: April 25, 1988
    6. 5.6. Frankly, I Am Confused: May 16, 1988
    7. 5.7. Stormy Weather Stocks: June 13, 1988
    8. 5.8. Three Stocks for a Dull Market: July 11, 1988
    9. 5.9. Thanks, Dad: August 8, 1988
    10. 5.10. Too Little, Too Late: September 5, 1988
    11. 5.11. If It's Too Complicated, Forget It: October 3, 1988
    12. 5.12. Anything That Can Happen . . . Probably Will: October 24, 1988
    13. 5.13. Ownership Counts: November 14, 1988
    14. 5.14. Unburying the Footnotes: December 12, 1988
  8. 6. 1989: The End Is Nigh
    1. 6.1. Getting the Lowdown: January 9, 1989
    2. 6.2. Security Analysis Updated: February 6, 1989
    3. 6.3. All in a Name: March 6, 1989
    4. 6.4. I Call Them "Takeaways": April 3, 1989
    5. 6.5. Few Is More: May 1, 1989
    6. 6.6. Buy 'Em When They're Not Hot: May 29, 1989
    7. 6.7. Big Fish in Small Ponds: June 26, 1989
    8. 6.8. Right Under Your Nose: July 24, 1989
    9. 6.9. The "S" Factor: August 21, 1989
    10. 6.10. The End Is Nigh: September 18, 1989
    11. 6.11. The Quiet Bear: October 16, 1989
    12. 6.12. Three Easy Steps: October 30, 1989
    13. 6.13. What You're Not Reading About: November 27, 1989
    14. 6.14. Early Casualties: December 25, 1989
  9. 7. 1990: A Sneaky Bear Market
    1. 7.1. It's Here, Folks: January 22, 1990
    2. 7.2. A Sitting Bull: February 19, 1990
    3. 7.3. Backwater Bargains: March 19, 1990
    4. 7.4. America's Decade: April 16, 1990
    5. 7.5. There's Life in the Old Bear: May 14, 1990
    6. 7.6. Don't Sell America Short: June 11, 1990
    7. 7.7. Dad, You Were Right: July 23, 1990
    8. 7.8. Growth or Value?: August 6, 1990
    9. 7.9. Right Around the Corner: October 15, 1990
    10. 7.10. Buy Small, Think Big: October 22, 1990
    11. 7.11. It Kinda Sneaked Up On Us: October 29, 1990
    12. 7.12. Knee-Jerk Selling: November 26, 1990
    13. 7.13. Buy Now: December 24, 1990
  10. 8. 1991: Unbelievable Bull
    1. 8.1. The Year of the Small Caps: January 21, 1991
    2. 8.2. A Contrarian's Mailbag: February 18, 1991
    3. 8.3. The Young Bull: March 18, 1991
    4. 8.4. It's Early in the Game: April 15, 1991
    5. 8.5. Sell Growth: May 13, 1991
    6. 8.6. Watershed: June 10, 1991
    7. 8.7. Surveillance: July 8, 1991
    8. 8.8. Dumb Bears: August 5, 1991
    9. 8.9. Who Cares About Bankers?: September 2, 1991
    10. 8.10. Geographical Biases: September 30, 1991
    11. 8.11. Unloved and Undervalued: October 21, 1991
    12. 8.12. Surprise: October 28, 1991
    13. 8.13. The Bucking Bull: November 25, 1991
    14. 8.14. Stay With It: December 23, 1991
  11. 9. 1992: Times, They Were a Changin'
    1. 9.1. Misery in the Media: January 20, 1992
    2. 9.2. Ripe for Rotation: February 17, 1992
    3. 9.3. Fear of Falling: March 16, 1992
    4. 9.4. Overripe: April 14, 1992
    5. 9.5. Going Up: May 11, 1992
    6. 9.6. Two to Avoid: June 8, 1992
    7. 9.7. Worry, Worry: July 6, 1992
    8. 9.8. My Favorite Indicator: August 3, 1992
    9. 9.9. The Cool Shall Be Hot: August 31, 1992
    10. 9.10. Value Will Out: September 28, 1992
    11. 9.11. Profitable Reading: October 26, 1992
    12. 9.12. Buy American: November 23, 1992
    13. 9.13. Damn Lies: December 21, 1992
  12. 10. 1993: A Taxing Year
    1. 10.1. The Other Dow Theory: January 4, 1993
    2. 10.2. Acres and Acres of Bargains: February 15, 1993
    3. 10.3. Design Your Own: March 15, 1993
    4. 10.4. Henry's Cattle Prod: April 12, 1993
    5. 10.5. The Clinton Factor: May 10, 1993
    6. 10.6. A Near Sure Thing: June 7, 1993
    7. 10.7. Your Board of Directors: July 5, 1993
    8. 10.8. Stay Bullish: August 2, 1993
    9. 10.9. He's Still Hibernating: August 30, 1993
    10. 10.10. Housecleaning Time: September 27, 1993
    11. 10.11. The Bubonic Plague Technique: October 18, 1993
    12. 10.12. Love the Sinner: October 25, 1993
    13. 10.13. For Giving and for Reading: November 22, 1993
    14. 10.14. Four Don'ts and Some Dos: December 20, 1993
  13. 11. 1994: The Calm Before the Storm
    1. 11.1. Nolo Contendere: January 17, 1994
    2. 11.2. Jell-O Versus the Facts: February 14, 1994
    3. 11.3. False Glitter: March 14, 1994
    4. 11.4. Fessing Up: April 11, 1994
    5. 11.5. The 7% Rule: May 9, 1994
    6. 11.6. Fashion Report: June 6, 1994
    7. 11.7. A Bullish Spread: July 4, 1994
    8. 11.8. What's in a Name? Too Much.: August 1, 1994
    9. 11.9. Avoiding Whiplash: August 29, 1994
    10. 11.10. Three's the Charm: September 26, 1994
    11. 11.11. Be a Buyer, Not a Seller: October 17, 1994
    12. 11.12. The Babson Four-Step: October 24, 1994
    13. 11.13. A Reading List for Serious Investors: November 21, 1994
    14. 11.14. Inflationary Ghosts: December 19, 1994
  14. 12. 1995: List After Bullish List
    1. 12.1. A Year of the Bull: January 16, 1995
    2. 12.2. Compared With What?: February 13, 1995
    3. 12.3. Advanced Fad Avoidance: March 13, 1995
    4. 12.4. How to Tell a Bull From a Bear: April 24, 1995
    5. 12.5. Special Situations: May 8, 1995
    6. 12.6. Warren Buffet Versus the Beardstown Ladies: June 5, 1995
    7. 12.7. This Time, It's Different: July 3, 1995
    8. 12.8. Wall of Worry: July 31, 1995
    9. 12.9. Bear-Proofing Your Portfolio: August 28, 1995
    10. 12.10. Babbling Bears and Other Menaces: September 25, 1995
    11. 12.11. The Liquidity Trap: October 16, 1995
    12. 12.12. Countdown to a Top: October 23, 1995
    13. 12.13. Apples and Oranges: November 20, 1995
    14. 12.14. Rummaging in the Attic: December 18, 1995
  15. 13. 1996: The Nifty Nineties
    1. 13.1. Year of the Aging Bull: January 22, 1996
    2. 13.2. Bet on the Bull: February 26, 1996
    3. 13.3. Acrophobia: March 25, 1996
    4. 13.4. The Election and Stocks: April 22, 1996
    5. 13.5. Pity the Poor Bears: May 20, 1996
    6. 13.6. The Orderly Retreat: June 17, 1996
    7. 13.7. Good for Europe, Bad for America: July 15, 1996
    8. 13.8. Time to Take a Trip: August 12, 1996
    9. 13.9. PSRs Revisited: September 9, 1996
    10. 13.10. The Election and Stocks: October 7, 1996
    11. 13.11. Why the Rich Get (Relatively) Poorer: October 14, 1996
    12. 13.12. Small Isn't Always Best: November 4, 1996
    13. 13.13. For Your Christmas Shopping List: December 2, 1996
    14. 13.14. The Top Is Nigh: December 30, 1996
  16. 14. 1997: Rational Exuberance
    1. 14.1. Decoupling: January 27, 1997
    2. 14.2. My Annual Report: February 24, 1997
    3. 14.3. Golden Opportunity: March 24, 1997
    4. 14.4. Bet Against Buffett? Not Me.: April 21, 1997
    5. 14.5. Nowhere to Go But Down: May 19, 1997
    6. 14.6. Do It Yourself: June 16, 1997
    7. 14.7. The Top? Not Yet.: July 28, 1997
    8. 14.8. Bigger Is Beautiful: August 25, 1997
    9. 14.9. When Should You Get Out?: September 22, 1997
    10. 14.10. Beware of Foreigners Bearing Bucks: October 20, 1997
    11. 14.11. Go Slow: Inflation Ahead: December 1, 1997
    12. 14.12. Buy High, Sell Small: December 15, 1997
  17. 15. 1998: Rubles, Corrections, and More Bull
    1. 15.1. The Bull Market's Not Over: January 12, 1998
    2. 15.2. A Passing Storm: February 9, 1998
    3. 15.3. Report Card: March 9, 1998
    4. 15.4. The Dance of the Elephants: April 6, 1998
    5. 15.5. This Bull Ain't Tired: May 4, 1998
    6. 15.6. 1998 Looks Like 1958: June 1, 1998
    7. 15.7. Dumb Is Beautiful: August 10, 1998
    8. 15.8. Complain All You Want: September 7, 1998
    9. 15.9. Stay Cool: September 21, 1998
    10. 15.10. Don't Let 'Em Scare You Out of Stocks: October 5, 1998
    11. 15.11. Pick a Strategy and Stick With It: November 30, 1998
    12. 15.12. Bullish for '99: December 28, 1998
  18. 16. 1999: IPOs, Y2K, Nasdaq, Oh My!
    1. 16.1. Report Card 1998: January 25, 1999
    2. 16.2. The Case Against Index Funds: February 22, 1999
    3. 16.3. Why Big Gets Bigger: March 22, 1999
    4. 16.4. Bet Against the Experts: April 19, 1999
    5. 16.5. Not Your Average Joe: May 17, 1999
    6. 16.6. Adaptability: June 14, 1999
    7. 16.7. Investing for Acrophobics: July 26, 1999
    8. 16.8. The Broken Bond: August 23, 1999
    9. 16.9. Small Stock Fantasies: September 20, 1999
    10. 16.10. Greater Fools: October 18, 1999
    11. 16.11. Never Say Dow: November 15, 1999
    12. 16.12. The Index Sirens: December 13, 1999
  19. 17. 2000: Tech Bubbles Over
    1. 17.1. Against the Odds: January 10, 2000
    2. 17.2. Good and Lucky: February 7, 2000
    3. 17.3. 1980 Revisited: March 6, 2000
    4. 17.4. Break Their Crystal Balls: April 3, 2000
    5. 17.5. Downturn Insurance: May 1, 2000
    6. 17.6. What to Do About Tech: May 29, 2000
    7. 17.7. How to Get Richer: July 3, 2000
    8. 17.8. The Luck God: October 2, 2000
    9. 17.9. Wife Haters: October 30, 2000
    10. 17.10. America Versus the World: November 27, 2000
    11. 17.11. Ode to John Schulz: December 25, 2000
  20. 18. 2001: Bear Market!
    1. 18.1. Tech 2001: January 22, 2001
    2. 18.2. Lucky Again in 2000: February 19, 2001
    3. 18.3. Bear Market!: March 19, 2001
    4. 18.4. Bears, Bush and Greenspan: April 16, 2001
    5. 18.5. Fall Till the Fall: May 14, 2001
    6. 18.6. Bear Market Corrections: June 11, 2001
    7. 18.7. The Lone Ranger: July 23, 2001
    8. 18.8. I Hate Funds: August 20, 2001
    9. 18.9. Mad Magazine Investors: September 17, 2001
    10. 18.10. What HP Says About the Market: October 15, 2001
    11. 18.11. Wacky Forecasts: November 12, 2001
    12. 18.12. Bottoming Out: December 10, 2001
  21. 19. 2002: Triple Bottom Blues
    1. 19.1. Troubling Questions: January 7, 2002
    2. 19.2. 2002: Another Down Year: February 4, 2002
    3. 19.3. Fatigue-O-Meter: March 4, 2002
    4. 19.4. Myopia: April 1, 2002
    5. 19.5. Buy Now: April 29, 2002
    6. 19.6. Controlled Risk: May 27, 2002
    7. 19.7. Buy Stocks Now: July 8, 2002
    8. 19.8. Four Dangerous Words: August 12, 2002
    9. 19.9. A Beautiful Market: September 16, 2002
    10. 19.10. Five More Reasons to Buy: October 14, 2002
    11. 19.11. The P/E Myth: November 11, 2002
    12. 19.12. Not Bonds, Books: December 9, 2002
  22. 20. 2003: Buy on the Cannons
    1. 20.1. Three's the Charm: January 6, 2003
    2. 20.2. Next Year Will Be Better: February 3, 2003
    3. 20.3. The Bipolar Market: March 3, 2003
    4. 20.4. Buy Money Managers: March 31, 2003
    5. 20.5. Crash and Opportunity: April 28, 2003
    6. 20.6. Greed Is Good: May 26, 2003
    7. 20.7. Volatility, the Good Kind: June 23, 2003
    8. 20.8. Dumb Bears II: July 21, 2003
    9. 20.9. Professors and Markets: September 1, 2003
    10. 20.10. Valuation Myths: September 29, 2003
    11. 20.11. Don't Sweat Small Moves: November 10, 2003
    12. 20.12. A Three-Year Bull Market: December 8, 2003
  23. 21. 2004: If
    1. 21.1. The Great Humiliator: January 12, 2004
    2. 21.2. A Lucky Year: February 16, 2004
    3. 21.3. Bush's Bull Market: March 15, 2004
    4. 21.4. My WAG Model: April 12, 2004
    5. 21.5. Philip A. Fisher, 1907–2004: April 26, 2004
    6. 21.6. The Benign-Rate Scenario: May 24, 2004
    7. 21.7. Road Map 2004: June 21, 2004
    8. 21.8. Value Made Easy: July 26, 2004
    9. 21.9. Stocks for an Iffy Investor: September 6, 2004
    10. 21.10. Those Bearish Brits: October 4, 2004
    11. 21.11. When Earnings Are Cheap: November 1, 2004
    12. 21.12. The Coming Melt-Up: November 29, 2004
    13. 21.13. Pray for Deficits: December 27, 2004
  24. 22. 2005: Giving It Time
    1. 22.1. Give It Time: January 31, 2005
    2. 22.2. It's a Beautiful World: February 28, 2005
    3. 22.3. End Your Gloom: March 28, 2005
    4. 22.4. Surprise—America Owes Too Little: April 18, 2005
    5. 22.5. The Wall of Worry: May 9, 2005
    6. 22.6. Do Your Own M&A: June 6, 2005
    7. 22.7. Bubblenomics: July 4, 2005
    8. 22.8. Stop Fretting About Oil: August 15, 2005
    9. 22.9. You Bought a What?!: September 19, 2005
    10. 22.10. Three Questions That Count: October 17, 2005
    11. 22.11. Buy That Earnings Yield: November 28, 2005
    12. 22.12. The Integrity Premium: December 26, 2005
  25. 23. 2006: Celebrity Market Indicators
    1. 23.1. I Still Hate Funds: January 30, 2006
    2. 23.2. A Replay of 1995?: February 27, 2006
    3. 23.3. Take My Stock, Please: March 27, 2006
    4. 23.4. Lessons From Lurie: April 17, 2006
    5. 23.5. Feel the Force: May 8, 2006
    6. 23.6. Surviving Rate Rises: June 5, 2006
    7. 23.7. No News Is Good News: July 3, 2006
    8. 23.8. The Short, Sharp Stock: August 14, 2006
    9. 23.9. The November Surprise: September 18, 2006
    10. 23.10. Fear Will Fade: October 16, 2006
    11. 23.11. The Rangel Factor: November 13, 2006
    12. 23.12. When Turkeys Fly: December 11, 2006
  26. 24. 2007: Another Broken Record
    1. 24.1. A Broken Record: January 29, 2007
    2. 24.2. Housing Boom!: February 26, 2007
    3. 24.3. Takeover Targets: March 26, 2007
    4. 24.4. Don't Worry: April 16, 2007
    5. 24.5. Never Before!: May 7, 2007
    6. 24.6. Thanks for Not Legislating: June 4, 2007
    7. 24.7. The Media Monitor: July 2, 2007
    8. 24.8. The First and the Best: August 13, 2007
    9. 24.9. The Fall 2007 Rally: September 17, 2007
    10. 24.10. Credit Goblins: October 15, 2007
    11. 24.11. Put Some Money in Japan: November 12, 2007
    12. 24.12. Another New Era: December 10, 2007
  27. 25. 2008: The Unbubble
    1. 25.1. We're Too Gloomy: January 28, 2008
    2. 25.2. 1998 Redux: February 25, 2008
    3. 25.3. Crunch Mythology: March 24, 2008
    4. 25.4. Dear Abby: April 21, 2008
    5. 25.5. Bully for Obama: May 19, 2008
    6. 25.6. A Stock for Eco-Nuts: June 16, 2008
    7. 25.7. Don't Fret About the Fed: July 21, 2008
    8. 25.8. Five Blue Chips: September 1, 2008
    9. 25.9. The Unbubble: September 29, 2008
    10. 25.10. Stocks to Survive On: October 27, 2008
    11. 25.11. Pessimism and the Rebound: November 24, 2008
    12. 25.12. Media Mayhem: December 22, 2008
  28. 26. 2009: 25 Years and Counting
    1. 26.1. Be a Bad News Bull: January 12, 2009
    2. 26.2. Anticipate the V: February 16, 2009
    3. 26.3. Get a Grip on Your Fears: March 30, 2009
    4. 26.4. Lift Up Your Eyes: April 27, 2009
    5. 26.5. Blink and You'll Miss It: May 25, 2009
    6. 26.6. The Obama Effect: June 22, 2009
    7. 26.7. Quarter-Century Mark: July 13, 2009
    8. 26.8. The Bear Market Is Over: August 24, 2009
    9. 26.9. Buy Into Fossil Fuels: September 21, 2009
    10. 26.10. Viva the V: November 2, 2009
    11. 26.11. The Old Normal: December 14, 2009
  29. Notes
  30. Acknowledgments
  31. About the Author