‘Henry Blodget, Merrill Lynch’s celebrity Internet analyst, may have put the new economy view best on January 10, 2000, when he wrote in a report, ‘Valuation is often not a helpful tool in determining when to sell hypergrowth stocks.’ Mr. Blodget was referring specifically to Internet Capital Group, an incubator of Web companies that was trading at $173.88 then – and $3 a share now.’ – Gretchen Morgensen in Sunday’s New York TimesBlodget was making millions for this, and Merrill was charging its full-service customers accordingly. Click here to see what this lowly column had to say about the same stock on December 27, 1999, two weeks before Blodget’s report.

The morals, if you ask me:

  • Full-service brokerage accounts, and their concomitant fees, are nuts for most people. Most people should do their stock-market investing, in the main, through low-expense, no-load mutual funds (index funds, mostly), with the rest, if they buy individual stocks, going through a deep-discount broker.
  • Common sense, a bit of homework, and an insistence on some measure of “value” beat “hot tips” and “hot stocks,” over the long run, almost every time.
  • “It’s different this time” are still the four most dangerous words in the English language. (To see an October 13, 2000, column on that, click here.)

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