The latest email ad from Stansberry Research entices us into believing that Stansberry’s got the next gargantuan gainer, like Amazon or Apple…
“Nearly two decades ago, one of our analysts covered an obscure online bookstore called Amazon…
“And it went on to change how we shop forever.
“Today it’s one of the biggest companies on the planet, has minted countless millionaires, and the stock has since soared 3,100%….
“MarketWatch hailed one of our analyst as ‘The Advisor Who Recommended Google Before Anyone Else.'”
Which means now’s a good time to remind you that “covering” an obscure stock does not mean you get to take credit for all of its subsequent gains — Porter Stansberry did start his flagship newsletter back in 1999, and maybe he liked Amazon at the time, I have no idea… but there isn’t a Stansberry analyst who’s been recommending holding Amazon for the past 20 years, or even the past ten years. According to their own scorecards, the past couple times I’ve seen occasional updates that readers have shared with me, their best-ever trade remains the 990%-ish returns that Steve Sjuggerud reported on the gold explorer Seabridge Gold a decade or so ago.
So yes, if you had bought Amazon 20 years ago you’d be sitting on 9,800% gains… and there are plenty of points in the intervening years when a buy would have put you at 3,100% gains as of today, but whatever analyst Brett Aitken is pitching here did not publish a recommendation of “buy and hold” on Amazon that persists to today. If he did, we’d never heard the end of it.
That isn’t unusual, of course, and this kind of “if you had bought XX stock 15 years ago you’d be sitting on life-changing gains” claim pops up in ads very frequently, despite the fact that there’s rarely any real indication that the newsletter in question actually recommended that particular trade. Lots of “you could have earned” statements, not “our subscribers did earn” statements.
Newsletters tend to be pretty skittish and don’t like to show losses, so they don’t often hold stocks through 50%+ declines, and Amazon has had several of those along the way… the only widely-followed newsletter pundit that I know has been recommending Amazon all along, from the crazy early days through the dot com crash, without selling, is the Motley Fool’s David Gardner, and he’s got a pretty famously strong stomach for sitting through those occasional 50-80% drops in his growth stocks… which is made easier by the fact that his newsletter portfolio often includes 100+ stocks. Most newsletters like to keep a smaller list and much more activity in their portfolios, going in and out of stocks far more frequently and rarely holding for five years, let alone 20, partly because their customers are always advocating for something new.
The new service Aitken is selling, Stansberry Innovations Report, isn’t even featured on the Stansberry website yet — it seems to be mostly a set of “Special Reports” so far, perhaps they’ve cobbled together recommendations from their other newsletters for this entry level offering, but there’s no name on the masthead yet. We’ll learn more as readers have a chance to sample it, I suppose.
From what I can tell, that analyst he’s referring to that picked Google in 2005 must be Louis Navellier, a longstanding “quant” growth stock pundit who has been in business for almost 40 years (he started his first newsletter in 1980), and with whom Stansberry has done some co-marketing… though I wouldn’t call Louis Navellier a Stansberry analyst unless things have changed, he’s still got several newsletters of his own that are published by Investorplace and his firm manages private accounts, and though his Navellier-branded mutual funds have disappeared he does still subadvise a mutual fund.
Maybe another Stansberry person wrote up Google back in 2005, but I never n