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Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

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What do readers here care most about?

edited December 2019 in Off-Topic
A non-scientific look at click-counts (last 40 threads receiving comment):

1. Where to invest $10,000 right now - 1.9K

2. A well built balanced fund for retirees - TRRIX - 774

3. Buy, sell, ponder ... December 2019 - 548

4. Charles Schwab to buy TD Ameritrade ... - 472

5. December Commentary is posted - 441

6. The power of click-bait journalism— 335

7. Jeffrey Gundlach - The stock market will get crushed in the next recession - 335

* @TheShadow ‘s “Capital Gains Distributions” has been posted atop the board since September and had far more clicks than any of the above (24.5K). I did not attempt to rank it.


  • edited December 2019
    Old_Skeet's market barometer drew a good number of clicks and at times a number of comments. However, its last post on 11/08/19 failed to draw a comment. Due to the posting rules on the board for discussion it went to never ... never ... land ... and ... died.

    I have linked below the last two barometer reports that were posted.

    I'd consider bringing it back ... but, without comments to keep it alive (and ongoing) under the discussion area rules of the board it was left to die with no updates to follow.

    I'd also like to express that I enjoy the board and the views that others express through their postings. It's this collection of expressed thoughts that keeps bringing me back.

    I wish all ... "Good Investing."

  • Top three over the past seven days, per the Google:

    Cap gains: 4,021 views
    Buy-sell-ponder: 500
    TRRIX: 460

  • edited December 2019
    - @DavidSnowball - Thanks for catching that. Kudos to @TheShadow for blowing the competition away with that post. My bad.

    - @Old_Skeet - Thanks for the mention of your always exceptional Market Barometer for November 8. Had I noticed, I’d have bumped it along. Would you believe Nov. 8 was smack in the middle of a trip to London? While I sometimes read the board and post when traveling domestically, my busy schedule of plays every night and touring / sight seeing during the day did not allow attention to the board. In addition, the significant time difference would have led to responding to comments many hours apart from when they went up.

    It’s obvious your reports are of interest to a great many. Thanks for observing the self-bumping rule. However, FYI: I’m aware of no rule prohibiting “updating” a post of your own that’s already made it over to the Discussions+ section. Please do continue to add new information / corrections to them as you find necessary once readers have indicated an interest.

    Old_Skeet, Please send a note to my mfo inbox when your next new Barometer goes up - just in case I miss it on the initial post. I’ve been frustrated a few times when something I posted was quickly buried by an avalanche of 20-30 new posts - often by a single member. And, I’ve occasionally tried to bump over week-old posts by others. But some it seems are already in the mfo bull pen by than (actually a cemetery) and seemingly can’t be reawakened. However, somehow I jump-started your November 8 report this morning.
  • @OLD_Skeet I guess I have not kept up on posting etiquette - but what is the MFO
    Premium category specifically used for? In my mind it's for announcements or special events. Just asking

    Re: A Guide to Use of the Mutual Fund Observer Site
    Just shows 3 tabs in info provided no additional tabs. Just my 2 cents.

    Cap gains as far as I am concerned are a non event. I have no possible cap gains in taxable accounts to worry about.

  • edited December 2019
    Gary said:

    Cap gains as far as I am concerned are a non event. I have no possible cap gains in taxable accounts to worry about.

    @Gary, While not a “non-event” IMHO, I usually just update my (largely tax-sheltered) portfolio holdings monthly and whatever cap gains were kicked out come along for the ride. What I failed to realize when writing the post about reader interest is that, apparently, a great many here have significant investments outside tax sheltered accounts and are keenly interested in the tax repercussions. To them, it’s critical to stay abreast of that info. Explains the extraordinary number of hits that post receives.
  • Great question @hank. I tend to click on any post with a comment. Rarely do I click on the ted articles w/o comment except for the morning briefs and the closing statements, but I do appreciate his dedicated effort. I enjoy the buy and sell post but not for investing purpose. Same for the market barometer OS posts. Neither investible for me but still very interesting to hear others thoughts.

    Add a comment and I'm in. Add another and I'm in again and again and again. I enjoy reading what others are saying.
  • @hank u are right -I probably shouldn't have made that comment but was amazed at the number of viewers!
  • It would be fun to know if members would click on the capital gains link so often if this had been a year in which the market tanked.
  • Not just MFO members are clicking on "capital gains" link. Posters on M* looking for a list have been directed here.
    Is there any other place on the internet where the info is aggregated and available for free?
  • edited December 2019
    I've always had help with the CG posting. The CG post serves several purposes, one it advises investors for tax purposes and it is another item that draws attention to the Board among many reasons. Posters at M* attempted to start a CG post only later to refer to this Board.

    Probably 15 of those 4021 views were mine as I was putting up new links!
  • For what it’s worth, I believe the strength of this site is the focus and analysis on great funds. Best article was the recent list of great owl funds with strong recent gains. David’s advice to me re my Meridian Funds was very helpful. However, the discussion section is a shotgun approach that I admit I skim, but most of it repeats articles I’ve read elsewhere. I would find the site more interesting if there was a model portfolio with an ongoing track record and discussions. I’ve shied away from the premium site because I’m not one to run scans, and the other services I subscribe to provide the results of their scans. There is a bit too much bearishness here at times. And when I come across political arguments, I move on.
  • Some excellent points there, Lawlar. I think a model portfolio of Great Owl funds would be an excellent idea. Perhaps four model portfolios along the lines of growth, equity income, balanced and retirement income. I'm sure the good folks who run MFO are busy enough as it is, but perhaps this could be an idea for the future?

    I agree with you on the level of bearishness here and on many other sites. It seems to me to be completely unwarranted. The low last December was an extremely important bottom - only the third time the S&P500 has touched the 200 week MA since 2009. Look at a ten year chart of the S&P and you can see what happened after the 200MA was hit.

    Sir John Templeton's most famous quote was "Bull markets are born on pessimism, grown on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria".

    Does anyone see much euphoria around these days?
  • Simon, Thank you. 4 models is great idea. I think the biggest mistakes I’ve made over the years was to become too cautious and move some of my funds to cash. During the Great Recession, I reread one of Peter Lynch’s books. He wrote a line that helped me stay the course, to the effect that more money has been lost by trying to avoid corrections than any other cause. If one is fortunate to have invested in a great owl fund, it makes little sense to sell when times become scary. Let your fund managers make those decisions. That’s the only way to get their fantastic returns. I agree that last December was probably a bear market low and the start of a new bull run. But who knows? Did not mean to detract from the excellent comments from members of this site, just offering my thoughts based on my interests.
  • edited December 2019
    Love all these comments.

    John Templeton’s one of the greatest ever. The first equity fund I ever owned was TEMWX during the time Sir John managed it. Lynch was far more flamboyant. Rubbed a few the wrong way. Quite different from Sir John’s long-term oriented value approach. But Lynch put his money where his mouth was, driving Magellan to extraordinary multi-year highs. And to his credit, he was smart enough to get out at the top of his game.

    As far as getting out of stocks / equity funds too early, I agree that’s a common mistake. I’ve certainly done it. On the other hand, folks well into retirement might reasonably prefer to sacrifice some potential gain and err on the side of caution.

    One of my favorite lines: “Bulls make money. Bears make money. Pigs get slaughtered.”
  • I'm only here for the doughnuts.
  • Hank: I lose sleep when I get up to 70% invested, or so. But Lynch recommended staying 100% invested. He claimed his Fidelity aides did the math, and you’d be better off staying fully invested. If memory serves, he wrote that one would get at least 7% by holding for long term. Haven’t seen anyone else advocate that approach. I wonder if Lynch still believes in his all in method. (I remember reading some of Templeton’s literature, but never had the good sense to invest in his fund, but I did hang on to Michael Price’s fund.)
  • edited December 2019
    Another possible suggestion for a future feature of the site is a monthly sentiment poll. A simple question could be asked on whether you are bullish, neutral, or bearish for the coming month (or whatever time period would be appropriate). There does seem to be a wide variety of opinions on the future direction of the markets, ranging from very bullish (as I am) to fairly bearish with several people taking defensive positions depending on their individual time frames. As I mentioned previously, the good folks who run MFO are people with busy jobs and busy lives and I would hate to overburden them with even more work. MFO is an outstanding resource as it is. Again, perhaps this could be an idea for the future.
  • edited December 2019
    Lawlar said:

    ”Hank: I lose sleep when I get up to 70% invested, or so.”

    I agree the sleep-test is important.

    Personally, my portfolio is nowadays so boring the way I have it positioned that when I’m having trouble falling asleep, I just think about it for a few minutes. Always does the job. But for variety, I listen to an audiobook edition of “The Most Important Thing” by Howard Marks. That’s also great for nodding-off - as much as I value his financial wisdom. And Ray Dalio’s “Principles” is a real close second when it comes to curing insomnia.

    @Simon - Thanks for the thoughts. FWIW - Recently-departed poster Junkster used to say he used the prevailing opinion here as a “contrary indicator.” So, bearishness on the board represented a buy signal for him and vice-versa. (:
  • The best sleep inducer I have encountered is the watching of any old Warner Oland Charlie Chan film. After 10 minutes I'm asleep. I'm not bored, there's just something soporific about them. Nothing to do with investing in mutual funds. But reliable.
  • edited December 2019

    Simon you bring forward an excellent idea about an investor sentiment poll. Perhaps, this is something that you would be willing to headup and take on for us thus becoming a more active posting member?

    For me, a poll just tells what one thinks or their beliefs might be. For me, I use naked short volumes in the 500 Index to follow what invetor sentiment really is for this tells me what investors are actually doing over what they might say, or think, which a poll would reflect.

    Naked short volume in the S&P 500 Index is what I use to gauge investor sentiment along with money flow.

  • edited December 2019
    @Old_Skeet, Are those “naked shorts” what Buffet’s talking about when he says: “When the tide goes out you know who’s been swimming naked”? I’m sure Simon appreciates your suggestion. I’m more inclined to nominate @Old_Joe myself. He’s been hanging around here a long time. Probably knows what everybody thinks.:)

    I’m fine with Simon’s suggestion. But I’d caution anyone against making serious investment decisions based on any kind of sentiment poll. When such polls are done, they usually include (1) the particular market, like a stock index, a particular bond yield or a commodity, and (2) a time frame. Sometimes participants respond to both a near term time frame, like 6 months, and a longer time frame, like maybe 3 years. No one needs permission to start such a thread or even a tally of what they’ve discerned reading others’ remarks. Just label it “unscientific” at the top (as I did this one) and that should cover your a** in case something you put in it is found to be incorrect.

    I always try to construct my portfolio based on objective criteria like age, needs, goals etc. But, in all honesty, my current allocation also reflects a long-held belief that major U.S. stock indexes have lost touch with reality and at some point - possibly years in the future - will retrench sharply. I think the low bond yields are what’s supporting valuations and feel that that will end one of these days. (Caution: I’m a liberal arts major - not a CPA or certified financial planner.)
  • edited December 2019
    Hi @hank,

    My thoughts concerning @Simon was to expand the participation on the board. Who better to carry an idea forward than the one who brings the idea to the board. Simon seems well versed. Old_Joe has indeed been a long time contributing member of the board as many others have. I'm also thinking there is some real tallent behind Simon's screen name. Hopefully, he will decide to share some of it with us.

    With Ted now gone it will take some of the regulars to step forward along with some new tallent to keep the board alive and progressing. @johnN has stepped up his postings so that when readers vist there are articles for them to read. This is one of many things that keeps bringing folks back ... to read new investing articles. Another thread that does well is "Buy, Sell & Ponder" hosted by @Pudnhead as it draws a good number of both readers and posters.

    Old_Skeet is thinking along these lines as how I might better interface my talent and perspectives on the board as well. I now host "Old_Skeet's Market Barometer" and plan to continue with this venue as long as it continues to draw readers and commets keeping the discussion alive.

    I feel Simon had a grand idea and hopefully he will choose to carry it forward. If not, perhaps someone else will.
  • edited December 2019
    Ditto what Ol’Skeet says here. Simon would be great for such a job! He’s already a step ahead of anyone else since he’s already expressed interest in such a poll.

    (I was just picking on Old Joe because he “volunteered” me the other evening for some thankless task.)
  • There's always AAII's weekly sentiment survey, which is presented graphically by ycharts
  • From CWS
    “The secret to investing is to figure out the value of something and then pay a lot less.” – Joel Greenblatt

    Weekly sentiment survey is gossip and fake news. It will get you in trouble and not for the long term investors!
  • @Gary - you said "Weekly sentiment survey is gossip and fake news."

    How so?

    Are you implying that AAII is lying, or their subscribers are lying or what?
  • @Mark I'm saying it's a commercial paid for publication and it has no business being advertised on MFO.. You pay them at least a dollar and they collect information from you.
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