Close Calls: Russia ruins everything

Welcome back to Close Calls for the week of August 4 through August 8, 2014. They give you the trend, I give you the forecast.

You can't blame the markets for being transfixed by the massive build-up of Russian troops on the border of Ukraine this week. The situation is now serious enough to make a brave man cry, and yes, it is time that even those who don't normally follow international news need to start paying attention. Unfortunately, a slew of experts have laid out a very realistic scenario in which Russia invades Ukraine in the clever guise of delivering humanitarian aid. Here are some good rundowns of the issue:


The Independent

I often get foreign news from European sources to avoid the taint of US partisanship, not there is any real disagreement about the seriousness of this threat.



And yet I'm in too good a mood to reconsider anything this week

As I mentioned, my stocks had a particularly good week. My favorite 3D printer company, Stratasys ( SSYS ), blew away everyone's expectations, as did the much-maligned Elon Musk company SolarCity ( SCTY ), which saw its revenue rise on "unprecedented demand." SunEdison ( SUNE ), a company the evolution of which I have followed closely, also had a fantastic quarter, while NVIDIA ( NVDA ), which I have been long in for years, post a surprise revenue jump of 30%. You know I'm often humble and self-deprecating in this section, but how can I do that when the names of my favorite stocks are the blazing winners in every finance headline? It would be a lie this week, and I won't do it.


I have described my investment methodology as social trend analysis, though the word "social" could be replaced by "economic." This should in no way be confused with the BS technical analysis technique of drawing meaningless lines on charts-what I'm doing is attempting to reason out how people will spend their money differently in the future. Why do I pick stocks this way? Because it is the only way they can be picked.

Everyone sees the same numbers-they are already priced in. The only way to get an edge over the market is to spot a spending trend early, understand it better than the market does, make a lot of guesses based on that understanding, and be prepared for many of them to be wrong. If you can do that, chances are you will go far.

Based on social trend analysis, followed by a lot of guesses, here are five companies I pronounced terminal this week: Five stocks that aren't long for this world .

And here's what else I had to say:

The success of Michael Kors means nothing for retail

Is the tablet market crashing?

S&P: Wealth disparity is bad for the economy

Bully hotel threatens $500 fines for negative online reviews

Walgreen won't expatriate to avoid taxes - and Wall Street is enraged

Six fatal investing mistakes

Yes, monkey stock pickers really do beat fund managers and the S&P 500

This article was originally published on

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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