Herb Greenberg's 5 Simple Lessons

Sunday, May 25, 2008 | 09:00 AM

In case you didn't know, Herb Greenberg has retired from WSJ and Marketwatch to go into "private practice."

For his final column as a journo, he put together these 5 simple lessons for investors.      

Lesson No. 1: The numbers don't lie.
That is why some short sellers and forensic analysts don't like to talk to companies. They want to avoid the spin or the face-to-face meeting that can create a psychological connection that may skew what otherwise would be black-and-white analysis.

Lesson No. 2: Quality, not quantity.
Ignore the "beat the Street" headlines on earnings. It is what goes into the earnings that counts. The real story is often on the balance sheet, and the cash-flow statement. The more complex and convoluted the financial statements get, the more reason to worry.
Lesson No. 3: GAAP isn't the same as a Good Housekeeping seal.
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles include plenty of gray areas -- GAAP is subject to interpretation.  Just because its legal doesn't mean the results aren't lousy.
Lesson No. 4: Don't confuse stocks and companies.
They sometimes go in opposite directions. Stocks sometimes do lie. They can be pushed artificially higher by rotation, by short squeezes, by momentum.
Lesson No. 5: Risk isn't a four-letter word. Before you buy, instead of asking how much you can make, ask how much you can lose.
Great stuff, Herb. Good luck in the new venture -- and if you ever feel the need to vent or want an outlet for us proles, the floor is always open for you . . .



Parting advice:
After 34 years of covering business, five simple lessons
Herb Greenberg
MarketWatch, 7:49 p.m. EDT April 27, 2008

Sunday, May 25, 2008 | 09:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
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Lesson 6: When people on TV regale the genius of a CEO of a major corporation, such as Kenneth Lewis when Bank of America Got a 'great deal' on Countrywide, ignore it at best, short it if you can.

Posted by: VennData | May 25, 2008 11:39:29 AM

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