Zombie Bears

Wednesday 01DEC2010

Barry Ritholtz wrote an amusing, but spot-on, article recently about the bears that will not die, the bears that cannot be killed, the Zombie Bears:

Zombie Bears: Time to Admit the Recession is Over
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/11/zombie-bears-time-to-admit-the-recession-is-over/

This is the gist of the article, my bolding.

Even after all this, these reflexive Bears refuse to flip. They will not admit the economy is getting better, albeit slowly. They insist the recession was a depression; they insist it never ended. These are the bears who cannot be killed. They will stay bearish, regardless of the data that all but insists otherwise.

These are the Zombie Bears . . . they cannot be killed.

As I write this, the market is off 1.5%, and some of our long positions will soon hit our sell discipline (We will stop ourselves out). This is the nature of asset management: One needs to be flexible, intellectually nimble, open minded. One cannot marry a position, ignore data that goers against it, and just hope for the best.

Ritholtz’s article has been widely cited and quoted, and unsurprisingly, the data-eschewing Zombie Bears have been on the attack, more often than not combined with abuse and condescension (often these bears believe they are more intelligent than everyone else … LOL).

Ritholtz has followed up with a couple of posts further needling the Zombie Bears (as if the data and massive US/Global stock market rally weren’t torment enough), like this one:
A Dozen Random Things I Am Thinking About . . .
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/11/thinking-about/

Some of my favourite excerpts from the article, again the bolding is mine:

4. Wisdom consists (in part) of learning what to keep and what to discard. What you purposefully sequester and do not read is just as important as what you do consume. In practice, you I find it helpful to “Quarantine” the sources that are consistently wrong or money losers.
5. Evolution has shaped Human Beings over many millenia. I suspect Human learning came from adapting to recent experiences. Perhaps this is why people are so backwards looking, suffering extensively from the recency effect: Learning from recent events is a good survival skill, but it turns out to be a terrible investing trait.
9. How someone constructs their rhetoric tells volumes about the underlying strength of their arguments. Abusing data, appealing to emotions, ignoring facts, shifting the debate to secondary or tertiary issues are signs of a weak, poorly reasoned thesis. Investors that learn to recognize the difference between powerful arguments and clever, weak ones are at an advantage.

Good stuff, Mr. Ritholtz. There are is some seriously good advice for traders and investors in your articles, especially in the two I refer to above.

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