I really dug myself into a hole with all that mining stuff!

Well, OK, so now it’s just the four of us.

In the meantime, it’s been exactly a month since I suggested those five “old economy” stocks that I thought — for all their boredom — might actually wind up looking better over the next few years than some of the new economy stocks. It’s much too early to tell, but so far these five are up 27.5%, while the NASDAQ is down about 25%. Many of the higher fliers are down a lot more. Inkotmi is down from 210 to 110. China.com is down by nearly two-thirds, Webmethods dropped a further 50 points yesterday. Internet Capital Group, last knocked in this space on December 27th at 212, is down in the last month from 125 to 42.

One clue that the switch back to value was about to occur — however temporary it may prove — was the capitulation of Tiger’s Julian Robertson. Here was this very smart, very successful value investor, legend around the world, finally giving up. A perverse sign that perhaps the craziness that had defeated him was in fact . . . over.

The converse of that sign may have come a couple of years earlier when a large, full-service brokerage firm FedEx-ed me the extraordinarily good news that I could now, for the first time, have my money managed by the legendary Julian Robertson. I don’t have the deal in front of me, but it basically said that, in the past, you would have had to invest at least $5 million (or was it $25 million?) before you could get into his fund. And perhaps be a non-U.S. citizen. But now, through great effort and ingenuity, this broker had persuaded Tiger to allow it to pool my $500,000 (or was it $1 million?) with a lot of others, so that we little guys could get in on the astounding returns, too. Yes, the broker had fees and Tiger had fees. But was I blind? Just look at this man’s prior performance!

It brought to mind the old-standby, “If this is such a good deal, why are they offering it to me?

I am not privy to the exact results of this particular partnership — I decided that $500,000 (or was it $1 million?) was just way too big a chip for me, and that the fees just went against all my notions of a light jockey. (See Personal Fund if you don’t know about the jockey.) But whatever the exact results of this partnership over the last two years, I’m pretty sure I missed a bullet. And the fees just made it worse.


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