ChangeWave Investing

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Sparky
Sparky
February 28, 2009 11:24 am

Tobin Smith is of course one of the better known touts/analysts/pundits, (regular appearances on Fox) and is genial though bombastic in his videos which are available on the site or through a free email letter. Change Wave Investing is a mid priced newsletter that expands on the content of the above mentioned free service. I subscribed orginally in the Spring of 2007 and did not renew as his picks were so bad as to pretty much fall in the category of “buy puts on these and you will become very rich.” This was not true for every pick–he had a few winners but these were generally the most obvious picks that everyone had, like Apple.

His mistakes were far more numerous, and often characterized by an attempt to captitalize on global macro economic trends that haven’t panned out, at least not yet, though in fairness they may eventually. So I bought Puda Coal (clean coal in China!) at something like $1.89, currently .19, Lighting Science Group (Green Energy, LED’s!)bought at 8.60, current value something like .65, Basin Water (water is the new oil! or some such hype, this company turned out to have fraudulent management, bought at 12.70 current price about .70, and the list goes on. One of his huge miscalculations was recommending some “high yield” commercial real estate plays in the fall of 2007 that he thought would be insulated from the sub-prime contagion (he thought it would only apply to companies with residential exposure). Municipal Mortgage and Equity which I bought at $19.50 on his recommendation, current price 22 cents. On this one he kept recommending hold to see what would happen (they also had legal issues, failing to submit 10-k’s I think, and were delisted to the pink sheets) up until I didn’t renew his service. So you see he has a knack for picking absolute disasters.

Yes, stocks are down across the board, but many of his picks, especially the ones I bought, I guess, have a habit of losing over 90% of their value. And other prognosticators, such as Nouriel Roubini and Harry S. Dent (who of course aren’t stock analysts) accurately predicted the disaster we’re now in the middle of–if only I had listened to them! I believe Toby did recommend s short fund in the spring of 2008, but then decided the market was coming back over the summer and recommended getting back on the long side–wrong again.

And as I remember, he frequently made the common mistake of recommending stocks after their initial run ups, often at what turned out to be the top. So all in all, his service was a huge disappointment for me–he does earn 4 stars for consistency, consistently wrong. And to close on the plus side the Change Wave survey can be a valuable tool.

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elliotl
elliotl
March 24, 2009 11:04 am

A news letter that conceptually sounds great but in practice produces losses of magnificent proportions. It might be a bible for short sellers – The most amazing thing was the documented recommended buy price and current price which illustrated the magnitude and frequency of loss.

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