Saturday, October 18, 2008

Getting it right

Here is a snippet from a letter by Casey Research:

Imagine you’re in America, back in 1970.
Richard Nixon is president. The Beatles have announced their breakup. And the average weekly wage is around $170.
Out of your $170, you’ve managed to save $35, and you want to invest it… but you’re not sure of the best place to put your hard-earned money.
And then, in 1971, Richard Nixon takes the country off the gold standard…
… which means the dollar is no longer tied to the price of gold.
It also means the price of gold is no longer fixed, and can go up according to demand.
You recognize what this change means. So you take your $35 and you buy one ounce of gold.
That’s in 1971.
Thanks to worries over the stability of the economy, and inflation galloping along at around 15% annually… by 1974, your single ounce of gold has risen from $35 an ounce to $195.
That’s a 557% return in just 3 years.
Then, in 1979, the price of gold more than doubles in 12 months – to $400 an ounce.
By 1980, it more than doubles again, to $850… before settling back to $627.
Your $35 has gained 1,719.42%, in one decade.

At the end of 1980, you sell your gold…
… and you’re looking for a new place to invest your money.
One of the things you’ve noticed over the years is that something odd is happening to the balance of the world economy.
You noticed that in the ‘70s, the people who did the best during the oil crises of ‘73 and ’79… were the Japanese car manufacturers. Their smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles were quickly becoming more popular than the heavy, gas-guzzling American cars.
You also notice that everywhere you look, people are listening in on a new kind of personal stereo… the Walkman… made by Sony.
Confident that Japan is the place to put your investment capital, you invest your $627 into the Nikkei Index in Japan… in 1981.
In the early ‘80s, the Nikkei more than doubles – bolting from a 1975 high of 4000… up to 8000.
From 1983 to 1985 - the Index jumps again, from 8000 to 18,000.
You get the feeling that you should strap yourself in well for this ride, because it’s only going to get more exciting.
And indeed it does.
From 1986 until early 1989, the Nikkei catapults from 18,000 to 28,000…
… and reaches its peak on December 29th, 1989 – at a whopping 38,194.
The $627 you originally invested into the Nikkei is now worth $3,548… that’s an increase of 565.86%.
You jump out of the Nikkei market at the end of 1989 (just before the market collapses, losing 63.5%)… and look around for a safe place to land.

It’s now 1990… and there’s another market starting to make a lot of noise.
In the early ‘90s, there’s a lot of talk about bio-tech companies, and scientific and medical-device firms that are promising to do everything from cloning humans to curing cancer in our lifetime.
Most of the companies at the center of this talk trade on the smaller, electronic stock market called NASDAQ… and you like what you hear.
So you take your $3,548 and move it all into the NASDAQ Index.
The NASDAQ exchange is doing okay – but in 1994, the computer age takes firm hold… and soon after that, the Internet revolution takes the market by storm.
In 1996, the NASDAQ is sitting at 600.
On March 10th, 2000, the NASDAQ peaks at 5132.52.
Your’ $3,548 is now worth $35,105.

But you’re hearing a lot of talk about the Internet and the “New Economy,” and how the old business models are no longer applicable to the new Internet age… recessions and market corrections are a thing of the past…
This “irrational exuberance” makes you nervous… so you take your money out of the market – just before the meltdown.

Now what?
You look for another vehicle, and realize there is only one place to put your money for the new millennium… and you set your sights on energy.
Specifically, crude oil.
This final investment of your four-decade adventure proves to be one of your finest.
The crude markets are fairly tame in the early part of this century…
… but we all know what happens next.
Your $35,105 invested in crude oil gives you one of the great moon-shots of all time…
That humble $35 you began with originally in 1970 – has ballooned to $159,591.

Here’s how it would look all laid out on a chart:

That’s a return on investment of 455,971%.

Provided you get it right four times in a row and entered and exited the market at the perfect times. Which is just not possible for average Joes like you or me.

Show me just one example of someone who has succeeded in doing so and I will show you a million failures.

Though, I have to say, it looks good on paper!

1 comment:

Vinod_Sharma said...

A good journey through history with a non existent smarty making all the right moves at just the right time.

No one did that, of course. If you just do the reverse of what this guy did, you'd be dead by now, with a bullet fired fired from you own gun by your own self! No one did that either, I am sure, but there are enough people who got got it about 50% right or wrong, I think!