Wall Street has never had a shortage of strong opinions. In a few hours of watching cable news, you are likely to hear financial pundits make dozens of predictions — many of them contradicting each other — about the future of the stock market.
Such talk is entertaining, but taking these prognostications seriously and applying them to your portfolio can be disastrous. Don’t believe us? What follows are 11 predictions that blew up in the pundits’ faces, and burned the investors who listened to them. Don’t damage your own portfolio — learn to safely invest your money instead.
1. Missing the 1929 Stock Market Crash by a Mile
Even though the most devastating stock market crash in American history happened almost a century ago, urban legends of investors leaping out of windows to their deaths still resonate. It all began on Oct. 24, 1929, as the market lost 11% of its value. Just seven days before, the famous economist Irving Fisher offered a prediction.
Irving Fisher’s Prediction Miss
“Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau,” Fisher said. “I do not feel there will be soon if ever a 50 or 60 point break from present levels, such as [bears] have predicted. I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months.”
Turns out that Fisher was famously — and dramatically — off the mark. “Though Fisher is regarded as one of the giants in investment history, his ability to forecast market activity was less than stellar,” said Robert R. Johnson, professor of finance at the Creighton University Heider College of Business.
2. Ravi Batra Predicting the Great Depression of 1990 That Never Was
As an economist, author and professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Ravi Batra has made a name for himself critiquing capitalism and claiming that it can lead to inequality and political corruption. Batra put himself out on a limb with his 1987 tome “The Great Depression of 1990,” said Johnson.