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No. of Recommendations: 17
Hi folks!

I have a question. (I actually may have more than one, now that I think about it!) I have been reading a flurry of posts lately from disappointed/disgruntled people who have undoubtedly lost money with the FF strategy. I understand that you feel hurt by this. I have been posting lately trying to help "buck up" some of these people's spirits. Losing money hurts......I would venture to say that most of us can understand that pain this year! This was not a good year for investing in Dow stocks or many others.

But here is my question, which will lead me to several others. When you folks (who are asking for refunds for your purchases from TMF or asking for some sort of compensation from TMF for your losses) lose money with other investments, do you write to these folks and B****? I mean if you were invested in a mutual fund that lost money on the year (very conceivable would you not agree?) would you write the fund manager and ask for your money back?

I do not mean to sound harsh, but why are those of you doing the complaining so down on the Brothers G? To read what some of you are saying, you make it sound like Dave and Tom sat around in some big mansion (paid for by the monies that were lifted from poor innocent "fools") and tried to figure out how they could shake you all down. I mean, this is class envy at it's worst. Do you think that you will ever get anything by complaining in this fashion? I do not want to try to put myself in a position of a "know it all" or a "guru", but I will tell you a simple little fact that I have learned through life. If you want to get something in this world, you have to go out and earn it! You may recognize that saying as the "there is no free lunch" or some other such saying.

I have been around this board, other boards, TMF website, and the TMF books enough to know that there are ample warnings that say to "be sure that you know what you are doing" or that "past performance is no gaurantee of future results". The way I see it you folks who feel this way have about three different options. (1) You can continue to complain and get nothing but upset, angry, and frustrated. This will lead you to (and I hope this does not happen) possibly make more emotional decisions in the future that may be poor ones. (2) You can ban together and try to legally hold TMF responsible for your losses....Good luck on that one! (3) You can take the loss, pick yourself up, shake off the dirt, and count your blessings. I would ask you to take some time and look at the positives that have come from your experience with TMF.

I challenge you!! I'll bet if you try, you can make a list of four or five positives from your TMF/Bros G experience. Will that take the place of monies lost? No. Will the positive list be longer than the negative list? Yep....the only one on the negative list is the fact that you lost money. Will you be richer for this experience? <rhetorical question>


Respectfully,


Kirk
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No. of Recommendations: 8

Hi Kirk.

I do not mean to sound harsh, but why are those of you doing the complaining so down on the Brothers G?

i try once again. slowly.

they lied.
they lied while telling us they wouldn't lie, but that everyone else (the "Wise") would.
they lied to people who were so uneducated in investing that they were gullible and vulnerable.

that hurts.
rather like when you discover your parents were lying about SantaClaus.
maybe it hurts more because they blame themselves for believing in someone,
or because now they hear how they should have done something (what?) before investing...

could be wrong.
certainly could be overreacting...

...in the end you're right though that there's not much point in complaining. i think the folks just need to 'vent', maybe get a little sympathy and then "shake off the dirt" and be veryvery careful before listening to TMF then next time.


(several positives for me in the "TMF experience" --most having nothing to do with investing... one of them being a (i *think*) better understanding of statistics Thx to 'Snoop, Soui, et al, another being to be even more cynical about advice from strangers, &
since i didn't lose much to speak of on the F4.... cheap at twice the price (tho there are other negatives besides the F4))


-jp
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No. of Recommendations: 6

x23242562 writes:

they lied

How did they lie? My dictionary defines a lie as "intentional false statement". I think it's fair to say that if any misrepresentation happened, it was certainly not intentional.

I never bought into or followed the F4 strategy (I'm an LBTH guy), but it was obvious to me that the Gardner brothers genuinely believed in it. I bought the TMF book, and though I didn't adopt the F4 strategy, I think the book was worth every penny for all the other valuable information it contained.

I would add that the Gardner brothers seem to be doing what they're doing as much out of a passion for investment as the results. I see absolutely no evidence that they are out to get a quick buck. I applaud them for trying to educate people on investment issues, for starting and managing fool.com -- which I think is one of the better online investment communities out there -- and for being successful investers. If they made money on these things, so much the better for everyone involved.

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No. of Recommendations: 1
they lied
////////////
How did they lie? My dictionary defines a lie as "intentional false statement". I think it's fair to say that if any misrepresentation happened, it was certainly not intentional.


and your evidence is?

and though I didn't adopt the F4 strategy, I think the book was worth every penny for all the other valuable information it contained.

i don't doubt you, but those who bought the book, naively believed the rhetoric, and invested too much, might not feel the same as you.

(btw, my previous post wasn't so much an assertion that they lied, as an answer to Kirk's question-- Why is everyone so upset --because they believe they were lied to)

I would add that the Gardner brothers seem to be doing what they're doing as much out of a passion for investment as the results. I see absolutely no evidence that they are out to get a quick buck.

"quick buck"? --not in the stereotypical sense... they are more patient than that. But i see the way they reacted to the many months of critque here as evidence that they're more interested in making money (books, seminars, advertizing etc.) than in actually educating... which wouldn't bother *me* much at all if they were more open about it.
(you might want to point me to some of their posts here that are evidence against my position)



-jpt
(btw, in my inner dictionary, intentional Silence can also be lies)


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No. of Recommendations: 1
Hi jp!

"rather like when you discover your parents were lying about SantaClaus." Whew! You are tough, man! :-) How long did you hold that against your parents?? :-) No, seriously, I understand your point about being upset about being lied to. I think you are holding TMF and the Bros G to a much higher standard that I am. (Which is cool...to each their own.) Probably the truth is somewhere in between your opinion and HankDane's opinion. Hank sees it as "passion for investment as the results." and you see it as (btw, in my inner dictionary, intentional Silence can also be lies)".

I can even understand some venting...but I guess we are just going to look at this differently. We all need someone to blame in order for us to move past this point. I guess it is up to each and every one of us to take a moment and really search themselves and then assign the blame!

OBTW, you have a most unusual id (x23242562). I do not want to be personal, but why? That is a long one! I am glad you close with jp! I am a bit too lazy to type all of that out!


Kirk
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No. of Recommendations: 7
KirkWeber ruminates:

I challenge you!! I'll bet if you try, you can make a list of four or five positives from your TMF/Bros G experience. Will that take the place of monies lost? No. Will the positive list be longer than the negative list? Yep....the only one on the negative list is the fact that you lost money. Will you be richer for this experience? <rhetorical question>

--- --- ---

Seems like you're a rare voice of reason in the wilderness, standing back a bit to put some needed perspective on the overall situation. Life is a learning process, and what each person can learn from a situation that has changed might well be something for each to ponder.

--BigBunk
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No. of Recommendations: 2
>>which wouldn't bother *me* much at all if they were more open about it.

Oh, for heaven's sake!!!! What did you want them to do - provide you with a huge poster size breakdown of the statistical probablities of you losing money using their method. All books of that type...including Beating the Dow provide you with information that you CHOOSE to use. No stock picking method is guaranteed. I do not have the book that y'all are refering to, nor do I invest using the Dow method...but c'mon...we need to be adults here and resealize that each individual has to take responsibility for their choices. You made a CHOICE...live with it and stop trying to blame other!!!! I would have far more sympathy if I had some sense that some of you were looking inward at what you got yourselves into. Hell, I bought NetZero...you don't hear me crying in my tea!

Live and learn
-Kall
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No. of Recommendations: 8
Thanks for your posts, Kirk!

<<Losing money hurts......I would venture to say that most of us can understand that pain this year! This was not a good year for investing in Dow stocks or many others.>>

This is a good point. It's not like the market has surged this year and only FF investors have been left behind. And according to the findings, it appears that the Foolish Four is NOT clearly a good way to lose most of your money -- instead it seems that overall, it tends to outperform the market, but not by a significant amount and that given tax and trading costs, that it just doesn't appear endorsement worthy.

That said, though, I do understand why so many feel betrayed. It's clearly kind of a shock, our announcement. To be honest, it's a disappointment to us, too. For a long time, the evidence we had led us to believe that what we were advocating would likely lead to outperformance over the long haul.

<< But here is my question, which will lead me to several others. When you folks (who are asking for refunds for your purchases from TMF or asking for some sort of compensation from TMF for your losses) lose money with other investments, do you write to these folks and B****? I mean if you were invested in a mutual fund that lost money on the year (very conceivable would you not agree?) would you write the fund manager and ask for your money back?

<< To read what some of you are saying, you make it sound like Dave and Tom sat around in some big mansion (paid for by the monies that were lifted from poor innocent "fools") and tried to figure out how they could shake you all down. >>

I suppose, not knowing the brothers, some people might think this way. I'm eager to explain that that's far, far from the truth, but then, why should you believe *me*? :) For what it's worth, for those who'd believe me, the brothers and the rest of us writers really are out to help people to invest and to invest more successfully. And to improve their financial management in every way. The entire company was never a master plan, but just kind of happened, growing as a result of us realizing how we could help more and more people.

Are we in it for a profit? Well, yes. We're not here to make a killing, though. If we were, we'd probably have gone public long ago. We really are motivated by the thought of helping people. We're not perfect, though, despite our best intentions. Still, at least we learn from our mistakes, and even share our mistakes with the world, hoping that others might learn, too.

<< If you want to get something in this world, you have to go out and earn it! You may recognize that saying as the "there is no free lunch" or some other such saying. >>

Well, just to be contrary, the Fool site is free, and has been completely free for a long time. So that's something.

<<I have been around this board, other boards, TMF website, and the TMF books enough to know that there are ample warnings that say to "be sure that you know what you are doing" or that "past performance is no gaurantee of future results". >>

It's great that people recognize that. Unfortunately, it seems that not everyone does. That's why we created the "Don't Mimic Us" page and why we continue to make these points regularly.

<< I would ask you to take some time and look at the positives that have come from your experience with TMF. >>

I love this suggestion, although of course I realize that it's self-serving. Still, I think that no matter how disappointed in us you may be, and I know I'm not the only TMF around here who deeply regrets that, I think that there remains a lot to like about the Fool and much good that anyone can experience here.

<< I challenge you!! I'll bet if you try, you can make a list of four or five positives from your TMF/Bros G experience. >>

Here are five from me:

-- I've learned a lot about the problems faced by mutual funds - how they face bigger problems as they get bigger, the effect of their fees on performance, etc.
-- I've learned much about how one might evaluate a company's investing merits -- how to read financial statements, what kinds of things to look for, etc.
-- I've "met" many kind-hearted and generous souls on our boards, and a bunch in person, too. People who are happy to share what they know and ask and answer questions.
-- I've enjoyed the sense of humor of many community members and TMF staffers. And our annual jokes (like that at www.emeringue.com).
-- I've discovered a bunch of wonderful, inspiring, innovative charitable organizaions which I expect to support for a long time. (This year's drive is now underway, at www.foolanthropy.com)

I'll butt out now. Thanks to those who are still reading for indulging me this far. :)

Cheers!

Selena
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No. of Recommendations: 6
For a long time, the evidence we had led us to believe that what we were advocating would likely lead to outperformance over the long haul.

There was also a very long period of at least 18 months during which the flaws in this evidence were consistently and repeatedly pointed out, and it took a lot of this hammering to even get the Fool to reconsider the strength of the evidence.

The fact that there was a problem with the evidence that the Fool had should have been obvious to anyone with training in statistical methods of data analysis. I believe that the Fool did not intentionally mislead on this subject, but I also think that the Fool was negligent in not vetting the evidence with a statistician.

We got to the right place eventually, and I think it speaks very well of the Fool to own up in the end, but there should never have been a need for Snoop and the others to devote so much time to this issue.

And we still do not know just how significant the marginal outperformance was. I'd be surprised to see an empirical p-value less than 0.10, but I would be very interested to see it calculated since you have all the data anyway, and this should take no more than a few days. (I could probably do it in a few hours if I had the data in some usable form.)

--Soui
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Soui --

<< There was also a very long period of at least 18 months during which the flaws in this evidence were consistently and repeatedly pointed out, and it took a lot of this hammering to even get the Fool to reconsider the strength of the evidence. >>

I'll grant you that there was a lot of hammering and that some of it was useful. My understanding, though, is not that we sat and whistled and looked out the window for 18 months, but that instead we were examining the evidence during that time. We spent a good bit of $$ (I'm not sure how much) and accessed a database and had statistically-savvy people looking it all over.

Again, though... could we have acted faster? Perhaps. We're not perfect. I'll spare you any reasons for the time it took.

<< We got to the right place eventually, and I think it speaks very well of the Fool to own up in the end, but there should never have been a need for Snoop and the others to devote so much time to this issue. >>

Thanks for the kind words there. I don't know that Snoop et al had to press quite as much as they did. Believe it or not, they're not the only ones who doubted the system. And for much of the time that critics were criticizing, our evaluation was underway. Indeed, Ann C. even wrote on occasion about some doubts and concerns -- before the results were in.

<< And we still do not know just how significant the marginal outperformance was. >>

Nor do I. I think I recall from the announcement that more information will be coming from Ann and others.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts and reactions here.

Selena
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No. of Recommendations: 7
Kirk,

I've hung around this board for a little while, and though I can't answer your question completely, I can give it a shot.

First, let's get two things out of the way:

1) There is no question that individual investors are responsible for their investment actions.

2) The truth of statement #1 does not mean that those who offer investment information and advice cannot also bear responsibility for their own actions as well.

TMF offers investment "guidance," an awkward term that I'll use in recognition of the fact that TMF is trying hard not to be an investment advisor within the legal sense of the term. TMF has responsibility for the nature of the guidance it offers, and the manner in which it does so. Those who have received that guidance can be understandably upset when that responsibility has not been lived up to, even all the while recognizing that TMF's failure does not absolve them of their own role in their investment decisions.

TMF now believes that it was wrong about the F4. In one sense, everyone can make mistakes - and there's no shame in having been wrong about an investment idea. However, they did not exactly cover themselves in glory with the F4. They used statements to promote and discuss the strategy ("Proven" "Crush your mutual funds" "No way in h*ll due to chance") that were not supported even by the data they had at hand. They allowed the retirement ports to suggest that as long as you had enough confidence in the performance history of a mechanical, you could invest your entire retirement savings into four single stocks and turn out okay. As Soui pointed out, they took far too long to respond to the very legitimate and serious criticisms of their data analyses made on this board. Shockingly, they never sought to consult with anyone with formal training in statistical analysis.

The "Don't Mimic Us" section (and other exhortations to be independent in identifying investments) are helpful - but remember, many of them are very recent. Plus, I don't think those warnings are meant to apply to TMF's investing strategies, just TMF's investment decisions (ie particular stock purchases or the time they are made). I can't see that TMF could credibly say, "Don't mimic the RB Strategy, but pay us $19.99 and we'll teach you how to implement the RB Strategy."

And they targeted the F4 to beginners. That deliberate act (which they are not repeating with the MechaPort) has to increase TMF's level of responsibility. This was the next step after "index funds" in the old Fool's School 13 Steps. Investors that didn't know enough about investing to identify individual stocks were counseled to go into the F4! That is, I think, the reason that you're seeing folks pop in here and b****. One can't target a strategy to beginning investors, and then shrug off the fact that you didn't live up to their trust in you by telling them they should have known better.

I don't think TMF is to blame if anyone lost money on the F4, of course. But I'm pretty sure they deserve some of the criticism they're getting; I also think that TMF would agree with me.

Albaby

P.S. No excuse for not mentioning Snoop in the column, though. That is an infamy beyond all others.

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No. of Recommendations: 19
To begin with, I think TMF is great. This site is a wealth of financial knowledge and the discussion boards are some of the most sophisticated public forums that I have seen. Having said that, let me also say that I think the F4 is nothing more than random draws from the Dow 30 . . . The F4 is dead, long live TMF!

I'm not trying to point out poster's comments for ridicule, but I keep seeing posts that defend TMF that are missing the point. If we do not understand what the issues are, we can never learn from this experience. So here is a compilation of responses in this thread that I think completely miss the target.

Losing money hurts......

Yes, but that's not the point. The point is TMF continued to support (and in some ways still does) a strategy that either they knew or should have known was flawed. They continued to promote it despite the overwhelming evidence against it. If the F4 had returned 30% over the last few years, it wouldn't change the arguments against it.

How did they lie?

Well for starters, there is a great deal of evidence that the F4 is overly datamined and therefore is merely random picks from the Dow. Did you see that in their official withdrawal article? If it is datamined, then it will have much greater volatility and transaction costs but the same expected return as a Dow index. Did you see that in their official withdrawal article? The strategy has always claimed to have crushed the market for over 30 years, but the strategy is only a few years old. Did you see that in their official withdrawal article? When analyzing strategies using backtesting methods there is a great chance that the results are completely upward biased. Did you see that in their official withdrawal article?

No. Instead you saw that it has outperformed the market by a few points for about 50 years. That is a huge misrepresentation, which my Mom taught me was a lie.

No stock picking method is guaranteed.

Again, this is not the point. No one expected a guarantee. But they probably did expect that any flaws in the strategy or discovered falsification of the numbers would be reported. I use the term falsification because for a long time now, we have know that returns different from January starts haven't performed as well, but only January returns are listed in the official performance. That is sweeping the dirt under the rug. The most common reason for results to fall as you move away from January would be datamining. Instead, we hear about the “January” effect. The most reasonable explanation for it not to perform after the discovery date is because it was overly datamined. Instead we hear about dividend policy and tax law. Evidently, when TMF hears hoof-beats, they think “zebra”. I think “horse”.

. . . instead it seems that overall, it tends to outperform the market,

This is exactly the problem. Where is the evidence of this? I have seen no analysis that supports that point, rather the data I have seen shows that it doesn't beat the benchmark. Again, we are believing what the G brothers have written in an article without analyzing their results. Have we learned nothing?

We're not perfect, though, despite our best intentions. Still, at least we learn from our mistakes, and even share our mistakes with the world, hoping that others might learn, too.

The F4 looks to be a datmining artifact and the reason for its withdrawal is because of changing tax law and corporate dividend policy? It doesn't sound like you have learned a thing.

there are ample warnings that say to "be sure that you know what you are doing" or that "past performance is no guarantee of future results".

Actually, if you look at the data closely the future results were about exactly that of past performance. The problem doesn't lie with future performance, the problem has always been with the analysis of past data.
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No. of Recommendations: 11
TMFSelena writes (about the Foolish Four):

instead it seems that overall, it tends to outperform the market, but not by a significant amount and that given tax and trading costs, that it just doesn't appear endorsement worthy.

I wish you'd all (you, Ann, David and Tom Gardner, etc.) stop writing this. The evidence hasn't been presented yet and I can guarantee you that their conclusion is false. The truth is that the Foolish Four is likely to be volatile and match market returns while underperforming after transactions costs and taxes.

Of course, had the evidence been presented at this board before David and Tom Gardners official statement we could all have provided valuable input in interpreting the results. Oh well, we also asked numerous times to be updated on the progress for the past six months or so.

Datasnooper.
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No. of Recommendations: 6

Of course, had the evidence been presented at this board before David and Tom Gardners official statement we could all have provided valuable input
in interpreting the results. Oh well, we also asked numerous times to be updated on the progress for the past six months or so.


and well over a year ago even (many of) the true-believers asked that the data be analyzed by 'independent' statistical experts...

instead alanlyzed by TMFAnn (professed non-Expert) and interpreted by the Brothers (not exactly independent).

business as usual -- "Brothers Know Best"


-jp





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No. of Recommendations: 4
<< To read what some of you are saying, you make it sound like Dave and Tom sat around in some big mansion (paid for by the monies that were
lifted from poor innocent "fools") and tried to figure out how they could shake you all down. >>
>>>>>>>>>
I suppose, not knowing the brothers, some people might think this way. I'm eager to explain that that's far, far from the truth, but then, why
should you believe *me*? :) For what it's worth, for those who'd believe me, the brothers and the rest of us writers really are out to help people to
invest and to invest more successfully. And to improve their financial management in every way. The entire company was never a master plan, but
just kind of happened, growing as a result of us realizing how we could help more and more people


good question.... just exactly WHY should we believe you?

perhaps for starters... how many of the posts on this board have you read over the past two years? (Me: around 90%)

based on my reading, "really out to help people" is a Crock.

someone really out to help would have quickly: taken into account the criticisms here, listened carefully and responded.... the regular non-TMF here did that and were nearly all convinced by the arguments of 'Snoop et al.

while TMF continued to sell books and pimp ("crush you funds") the 'system'....
Acting for all the world as if there Only Wish was that these A$$es would just go away and leave them to their illusions.



-jp
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No. of Recommendations: 8
>>For what it's worth, for those who'd believe me, the brothers and the rest of us writers really are out to help people to invest and to invest more successfully.<<

I'm sure this is true, but unfortunately as much harm can be done with good intentions as with bad.

The underlying theme of the Gardners' work is that there are simple systems which any fool can use to get market-beating performance without learning anything about how to value a business. I find the Fool boards frequently enjoyable and sometimes useful, but the amount of ignorance floating around is appalling—and the Gardners abet that only-the-Wise-worry-about-discounted-value-of-future-income-streams kind of deliberate blindness.

I'm particularly concerned that they don't seem to have learned anything from the F4 debacle. There are a couple of possible explanations for the original perception that the F4 strategy (and the related Dogs of the Dow) could beat the market. First, it might actually have been a valid strategy that an investor could use to find undervalued stocks. Second, it might have been a statistical aberration, one of those freaks that you get when you mine data long enough.

But the important point is that in either case, it was a strategy that was unlikely to outperform the market. If the F4 or the Dog strategy were valid, as soon as the strategies became widely known people would bid stock prices up to the point where those stocks would no longer give an above-average return. (If people were enthusiastic enough, they'd probably bid the stocks to the point where they would actually give a below-average return.) If, on the other hand, the original data was a statistical aberration, then we'd have to expect a regression to the mean and you wouldn't get an above-average return either. These are points that many people were making at the time.

Yet the Gardners seem to be blaming recent losses on the fact that their initial sample wasn't broad enough, or that they misread the data, or that the Dow companies have changed, instead of on the fact that the initial proposition—that everybody could make money using this strategy—simply couldn't work. Even now, they appear to be claiming that it will, in fact, beat the market, but only by a couple of percentage points. In fact, both it and the Dogs have been getting thumped by the S&P 500 for the past few years, and they don't appear wildly undervalued even now.

All of this seems to show either that (1) the Gardners haven't learned anything from the lesson, or (2) they have learned the lesson but want to sweep it under the rug to keep their guru status in good order, or (3) their lawyers have told them not to write anything that could be used against them in a lawsuit. I expect the answer is either (1) or (3), but in either case people are still likely to be misled.

Dropping the F4 port would be a mistake. Keep it around with a legend warning people about simplistic approaches.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
<<Dropping the F4 port would be a mistake. Keep it around with a legend warning people about simplistic approaches. >>

It will always be around. It should be moved to our discontinued strategies area, where anyone can read about various strategies that we no longer have portfolios for. As you suggest, the area (at http://www.fool.com/portfolios/discontinued/intro.htm) is one where we hope people can draw lessons from our mistakes, as we have.

Note that we haven't lost faith in all these strategies. The Boring Portfolio, for example, was all about value investing, which is still an approach I and many other TMFs respect a lot.

Selena
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Datasnooper --

<<I wish you'd all (you, Ann, David and Tom Gardner, etc.) stop writing this. The evidence hasn't been presented yet... >>

Fair enough. There's little point in me offering any interpretation, as I'm just interepreting what people would be better off reading for themselves. (http://www.fool.com/ddow/2000/ddow001211.htm)

<<The truth is that the Foolish Four is likely to be volatile and match market returns while underperforming after transactions costs and taxes.>>

I think that's very close to what has been said so far. We've noted volatility. We see that the average returns are very close to the market's returns. And that transaction costs and taxes will reduce those returns.

Selena
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Thanks Albaby for forming my thoughts. I'm a novice investor who WAS looking for a conservative stategy for my IRA. I was hooked by the book and finally jumped in last December. I was tired of being screwed by my bank's CD 3.4% rate. They wanted me to switch to annunities (of course loaded). I realized they did not have my best interest in heart. The Brothers seems to be my answer..they told me I could get a better return and I believed them. Disenfranchised? you betcha. Thankful for this "education"? Why is it always called "education" when you lose money? Because I now learned the Brothers are in the same boat as my bank. And that's the education. Bitter? you betcha! Holding them to a higher standard than I did my bank? Yes, and as long as the book is on the market, I will continue to. Why has no one addressed the book issue? Product recall is in order. Or maybe just a label slapped on the cover of each copy saying the stategy has been abandoned by TMF on 12/12/00. I hear a snob attitude on this board that "you got what you had coming trying to get rich quick". I have read every post the last 3 days and I don't see the threat of lawsuit that Kirk keeps referring to. I hear him talking about our responsibility, but why don't the G Brother have a responsibility to stop the further disemination of the book? I hear him talk about what "stand up guys" the brothers are to admit their shortcomings. Well, it IS my responsibility for believing they were looking out for my best interest. I've learned that. I will pick up and move on, but what about future suckers. Kirk believed we don't owe anything to them...glad he wasn't the first guy to find out that you shouldn't drink the water in Mexico.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Why is it always called "education" when you lose money?

It is not always called education when you lose money ... it is only education if you have learned something in the process of losing money that can help you accomplish your goals more effectively in the future.

Long ago, living in Germany, I learned a great gambling game, Schaffskopf, down at the local Gasthaus. Three minutes of instruction during the first deal, and off we went. I lost. Laughing all the while, my German friends referred to this as Lehrgeld ... hard to translate precisely, but a compound of teach/learn and money. It worked. I learned not to mix Bavarian beer and card-playing for money.

More recently, an independently wealthy stockbroker explained to me the secret of successful investment decisions: experience. The source of said experience? ... unsuccessful investment decisions.

I would only add to this observation that while this sort of experience may be helpful or even necessary, it is not sufficient ... one also has to have the maturity to take responsibility for one's own education.

-- Fogey (== Old Fool)
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First time F-4 investor this past year. Took a beatin', but still willing to hang in there. It's that time of year to reinvest, however, the troops don't sound too keen on the F-4 approach. My question is, Whats next?, or Where do we go from here? Will the MF be advocating a new philosophy for the average Joe like me? Thank You!
Bill English @ nutsy@voicenet.com
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Author: repoonsatad Date: 12/14/00 11:35 AM Number: 38957
The evidence hasn't been presented yet and I can guarantee you that their conclusion is false.

Can't you see that it is because of amateurish statements like this that TMF doesn't trust anything you say?

Russ
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No. of Recommendations: 1
I wonder if a second edition of the book will be forthcoming. I'd like to see one, with a statistician retained to help with the lumpy parts.

cliff
... I could recommend a good one (or two)
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Snoop's wording may have been a bit strong, but after spending the last year following the statistical debates and seeing the TMF response (or lack thereof) I'd venture to say it is extremely likely that the calculations showing the RP4 beating the Dow by a small margin are biased by the use of in-sample data (to which no multiple hypothesis correction has been applied).

The fact that the numbers and analysis have yet to be publicized offer weak support for this conclusion.

It is clear to me that there was a deliberate omission of the datamining/multiple hypothesis issue in the RP4 obituary statement.

That is very disappointing to me as I once did take the integrity of TMF at face value.

Thanks very much to the stalwart "naysayers" who have argued patiently (qwerty's repetitious style notwithstanding :-), and helped me to learn more about statistics and datamining in the process. Your work is appreciated.

cheers,
progmtl
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No. of Recommendations: 5
I wonder if a second edition of the book will be forthcoming. I'd like to see one, with a statistician retained to help with the lumpy parts.

cliff

--- --- ---
Yep, I too would like to see those lumpy parts ironed out.

--BigBunk
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Datasnooper said:

The evidence hasn't been presented yet and I can guarantee you that their conclusion is false.

RKM replied:

Can't you see that it is because of amateurish statements like this that TMF doesn't trust anything you say?

TMF doesn't trust anything Datasnooper says? If true, what should we conclude from that?

Over the past year Datasnooper has posted extensively his reasons for questioning the FF. You can't legitimately suggest that he does not have a basis for his opinion. No TMFer has shown any flaw in Datasnooper's analysis. Datasnooper's critique of the FF has stood the test of time.

I too look forward to TMFAnnC's analysis of the CRSP data, but I have been following this FF dabate closely enough to recognize the obvious truth of Snoop's comment.

If you think he's wrong, I wish you'd say why. An extra 1.74% per year looks like a goldmine to me.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Can't you see that it is because of amateurish statements like this that TMF doesn't trust anything you say?

The thing is, though, that his conclusion is more or less correct. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that there is nothing remotely resembling statistically significant outperformance on the part of the Fool 4 when properly measured.

I also find it interesting that you can dismiss Snoop's conclusions so quickly and easily out of hand.

--Soui
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Hi PVCliff!

Thank you for your well reasoned reply. I will agree with the Big B! That would be a project worthy of TMF!


Kirk
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I'd bet dollars to doughnuts

I've always wondered, will that phrase go away when doughnuts cost more than a dollar?





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No. of Recommendations: 4
Albaby:

TMF now believes that it was wrong about the F4. In one sense, everyone can make mistakes - and there's no shame in having been wrong about an investment idea. However, they did not exactly cover themselves in glory with the F4. They used statements to promote and discuss the strategy ("Proven" "Crush your mutual funds" "No way in h*ll due to chance") that were not supported even by the data they had at hand. They allowed the retirement ports to suggest that as long as you had enough confidence in the performance history of a mechanical, you could invest your entire retirement savings into four single stocks and turn out okay. As Soui pointed out, they took far too long to respond to the very legitimate and serious criticisms of their data analyses made on this board. Shockingly, they never sought to consult with anyone with formal training in statistical analysis.

And they targeted the F4 to beginners. That deliberate act (which they are not repeating with the MechaPort) has to increase TMF's level of responsibility. This was the next step after "index funds" in the old Fool's School 13 Steps. Investors that didn't know enough about investing to identify individual stocks were counseled to go into the F4! That is, I think, the reason that you're seeing folks pop in here and b****. One can't target a strategy to beginning investors, and then shrug off the fact that you didn't live up to their trust in you by telling them they should have known better.

I don't think TMF is to blame if anyone lost money on the F4, of course. But I'm pretty sure they deserve some of the criticism they're getting; I also think that TMF would agree with me.



I agree that there isn't any glory here and that we deserve some of the criticism we are getting. But you might want to consider that no one else who has been promoting these Dow strategies, from the brokers who sell unit trusts, Michael O'Higgins, James O'Shaughnessy (not sure about him, actually), et al, has done the kind of study we did--and I would bet that they've heard the same kind of criticism we have, although since they don't maintain public discussion boards, they didn't have to live with it from day to day. :)

We may have taken too long to become convinced of the need for an additional study, but no one else has done it at all. In fact O'Higgins just issued a new edition of Beating the Dow (after disavowing the strategy because of market conditions--not additional research--then reviving it but only as part of Beating the Dow with Bonds.)

I know we said "Crush your mutual funds" but I don't recall saying the strategy was proven, and (one more time!) I never said the Foolish Four performance was "no way in hell due to chance." That phrase described the confidence level of a T-test, and I then went into qualifier after qualifier about how it was just one test that wasn't conclusive. Anyone who bothered to read that article all the way through, instead of searching for a twistable phrase, would see that there was no proof claimed at all. See: http://www.fool.com/ddow/1998/ddow981111.htm

We did target the Foolish Four to beginners. Naturally we would do that if we believed it was as simple and good as we thought it was. And you are absolutely right that we can't shrug that off by saying they should have known better. I do agree -- we deserve criticism on that account, and we should have recognized that sooner. But originally, back when the first books were written and we were looking at 18 years of market-beating returns and 5 years of post-discovery, market-doubling returns, it seems like it would be wrong if we didn't share what we thought was a great idea.

Yeah, we were naive. And we know we have to take the heat on this. We deserve some heat. But it's really silly to accuse of us deliberately misleading anyone.

P.S. No excuse for not mentioning Snoop in the column, though. That is an infamy beyond all others.

Come on! Snoop was the leader but a number of others contributed to the effort of educating us. That was my omission, and it was because I was pretty sure I would leave out someone who deserved to be mentioned if I started listing people.

Ann
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No. of Recommendations: 1
I wonder if a second edition of the book will be forthcoming. I'd like to see one, with a statistician retained to help with the lumpy parts.


a "statistician" was suggested about ten months ago...

it appears they decided to go with what was already on pay-roll (TMFAnn), and even ignore the offered professional help of 'Snoop and Soui....

a Cynic might say that they're afraid of what a recount might show.



-jp
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No. of Recommendations: 7

P.S. No excuse for not mentioning Snoop in the column, though. That is an infamy beyond all others.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Come on! Snoop was the leader but a number of others contributed to the effort of educating us. That was my omission, and it was because I was pretty sure I would leave out someone who deserved to be mentioned if I started listing people.


'Snoop was clearly the leader.

the one with the persistence, the one that came back when others were driven off.

the one that months on end patiently tried to explain the arcana to us and to TMF....

the one without whom Nothing would have ever happened.

"dollars to donuts" no one else would have felt left out...


-jp
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Albaby1 said:

P.S. No excuse for not mentioning Snoop in the column, though. That is an infamy beyond all others.

TMFAnnC replied:

Come on! Snoop was the leader but a number of others contributed to the effort of educating us. That was my omission, and it was because I was pretty sure I would leave out someone who deserved to be mentioned if I started listing people.

TMFAnnC,

Did you draft the Tom and David Gardner article? Do you know if either of them reviewed any of Datasnooper's posts regarding the FF?

Albaby,

I have to disagree with you (and Soui) about the failure to mention Datasnooper. Almost every sentence in that article is one he would reject. I don't see how the Gardners could credit him without coming off as insincere or ill informed.
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Whats next?, or Where do we go from here? Will the MF be advocating a new philosophy for the average Joe like me?

probably something in the works for beginners.

Caveat Emptor


-jp
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You are wasting your time. I can think of many more than 5, but trying to change someones mind who is negative on the MF is somewhat akin to chanking someones mind on the abortion issue(either way).
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Author: 1crates Date: 12/14/00 4:16 PM Number: 38997
TMF doesn't trust anything Datasnooper says? If true, what should we conclude from that?

Yes, indeed,what should we conclude?

Over the past year Datasnooper has posted extensively his reasons for questioning the FF. You can't legitimately suggest that he does not have a basis for his opinion. No TMFer has shown any flaw in Datasnooper's analysis. Datasnooper's critique of the FF has stood the test of time.

If you go back and look carefully, you will see literally dozens of posts that I and several others made that challenged Datasnooper's very basis for his analysis. It was my opinion and that of many others, that Datasnooper's results were flawed from the very beginning, and that the whole analysis was of dubious value.

In fact, I believe that there is no way at all to apply many of the statistical techniques he suggested to a database that does not conform to the character of a pseudorandom event.

The thing that Datasnooper did very well was to run people off with abrasive, overly opinionated, and self-serving postings, and to make people angry.

As an MS Electrical Engineer with almost 30 years of experience in statistical analysis, I can tell you that many of the things preached as gospel by Datasnooper were, in fact, distorted applications of statistics given the actual conditions of the market and the changing socio-economic conditions.

Russ
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Hi ep0001!

Thanks for your reply!


Kirk
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No. of Recommendations: 9
If you go back and look carefully, you will see literally dozens of posts that I and several others made that challenged Datasnooper's very basis for his analysis. It was my opinion and that of many others, that Datasnooper's results were flawed from the very beginning, and that the whole analysis was of dubious value.

In fact, I believe that there is no way at all to apply many of the statistical techniques he suggested to a database that does not conform to
the character of a pseudorandom event.

If this is your recollection of what happened the past 13 months, then you missed the point. The chief point of Snoop, Soui, qwerty, and I was that TMF's analysis was wrong. Several times we (at least, two of us) explained why we thought the correct analysis was impossible.

As an MS Electrical Engineer with almost 30 years of experience in statistical analysis, I can tell you that many of the things preached as gospel by Datasnooper were, in fact, distorted applications of statistics given the actual conditions of the market and the changing socio-economic conditions.

Name two.

Jim
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No. of Recommendations: 4
rkm:

As an MS Electrical Engineer with almost 30 years of experience in statistical analysis, I can tell you that many of the things preached as gospel by Datasnooper were, in fact, distorted applications of statistics given the actual conditions of the market and the changing socio-economic conditions.

You have previously admitted that you do not have an in-depth understanding of statistics. Do you really think that your 30 years of experience as an EE outweighs Snoop's knowledge of statistics and economics?
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No. of Recommendations: 4
One man's opinion,

The villification of the Brothers Gardner is surely not warranted.

Let's consider a few things:

1) The Foolish Four Portfolio was recommended as an investment strategy as part of a lifetime financial model.

2) Other investment strategies were offered in its place.

3) These guys make the same kinds of mistakes that the rest of us make. All of us are subject to some kind of emotional inertia (the tendency to "dance with the one that brung ya").

4) I find little credence in the argument that they "lied by omission". A very little while back I posted a message that I was going to invest my year-end bonus in the final four strategy. In less than four hours I had replies (both private and public) from folks warning me against this and providing evidence. The point here, is that Tom and Dave have provided a forum through which everyone has the opportunity to fully discuss their thoughts on these issues. Datasnooper, FractalWalk, Qwerty and many others have been able to say just about anything they want to about this strategy, and I thank them all for it. If the Gardners' were the Evil Twins of Doom that some protray, opinions like these would never have reached any of us through these pages.

5) Should one be inclined to judge another, shouldn't it be on the entire body of their work. Should we dismiss Mozart for one shoddy composition, or A-Rod for a crucial error in the 9th inning of an important game. I think not.

Just my quarter peso!

Great holidays to all from the desert, regardless of the one you might celebrate. (My personal favorite is Jack Daniels' birthday.)

Steve
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No. of Recommendations: 0
rkm: As an MS Electrical Engineer with almost 30 years of experience in statistical analysis, I can tell you that many of the things preached as gospel by Datasnooper were, in fact, distorted applications of statistics given the actual conditions of the market and the changing socio-economic conditions.

FractalWalk: You have previously admitted that you do not have an in-depth understanding of statistics. Do you really think that your 30 years of experience as an EE outweighs Snoop's knowledge of statistics and economics?

Well, I submit that my PhD Mechanical Engineering (acoustics) with 30 years of experience doesn't qualify me to understand the economics or the statistics involved.

cliff
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Should we dismiss Mozart for one shoddy composition, or A-Rod for a crucial error in the 9th inning of an important game.

Or O.J. for one little murder? Oh wait, that was two . . . never mind.
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I have to disagree with you (and Soui) about the failure to mention Datasnooper. Almost every sentence in that article is one he would reject. I don't see how the Gardners could credit him without coming off as insincere or ill informed.

It is common in scientific papers to offer acknowledgements of people who contributed significantly to your work or you understanding of a subject even if those people would disagree with your conclusions. An acknowledgement is not necessarily seen as an endorsement by that person.

--Soui
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Author: progmtl Date: 12/14/00 4:03 PM Number: 38993
It is clear to me that there was a deliberate omission of the datamining/multiple hypothesis issue in the RP4 obituary statement.

This is part of the misleading that has been taking place.

Please note this:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with data mining!!! Every corner of science uses datamining!

Every day, valid and invalid principles are found by searching historical patterns of data. Here is a simple one: I've studied the historical records and found that every day the sun comes up in the east. I think this is a valid result of datamining and I am will to bet it will come in the east tomorrow.

The real issue here is: Did the data mining find a legitimate trend or not? That is what has to be answered!

I maintain, for about the hundreth time, that the trend that has been found (ie, that high dividend yields in Dow stocks IS valid).

I believe that the 'out of sample' data used by the folks on this board was generated under a totally different set of socio economic conditions, and that there may not be ANY WAY to use statistics to verify whether or not this strategy is valid!!!

I further believe that the only way we are ever going to resolve this is to wait and see how the strategy works after several more years.

If you would all go back and look at the debate that we had over a year ago, you would see all these things discussed over and over.

Let me add one key point: The Foolish Four as currently described, ie, the RP formula is probably not defendable. It is most likely the result of data mining that found a pure statistical correlation rather than a valid one.

The core issue, in my mind, is: Do dividends have any effect on the value of a stock and can you find Dow stocks that will appreciate within one year by looking at the dividend alone? This is the real strategy that is behind the Foolish Four, and it is this strategy that needs to be studied over time. I believe that dividends do have an effect and can be used, albeit the effect is less now, because dividends represent a smaller portion of the stocks current overall return than they did in the past.

This is all that TMF have been trying to say!

Russ
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Author: PVCliff Date: 12/14/00 8:52 PM Number: 39032
Well, I submit that my PhD Mechanical Engineering (acoustics) with 30 years of experience doesn't qualify me to understand the economics or the statistics involved.

Maybe you didn't spend your 30 years performing statistical analyses of noise and other stochastic processes, as I have done. My understanding of the basic starting point says that much of the work done trying to analyze the F4 is flawed from the start.

However, even though I may have a lot of experience working with and using statistical methods, I still don't claim to be an expert. You simply don't need to be an expert here, though, to see that there are problems with the fundamental basis for the work being done.

Russ

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No. of Recommendations: 2
rkm:

I maintain, for about the hundreth time, that the trend that has been found (ie, that high dividend yields in Dow stocks IS valid).

You claim the returns are either datamining artifacts or valid results. You then claim your opinion is that they are valid. OK. I understand your opinion, but where is your evidence to back up your belief? Why should we make the same leap of faith as you? What has convinced you that the returns are real?

The core issue, in my mind, is: Do dividends have any effect on the value of a stock . . .

I agree that that is the core question. I guess we will find the answer when Ann presents her numbers with the Dow stocks removed. If dividend policy affects the 1973-1993 Dow stocks then it should affect the 1973-1993 non-Dow stocks as well. Removing the suspect stocks is the first step to a clean analysis.

I believe that dividends do have an effect and can be used, albeit the effect is less now, because dividends represent a smaller portion of the stocks current overall return than they did in the past.

That is great that you believe that, but where is the empirical data to support it? Everything I have ever read has claimed that dividend policy has never had an effect. In fact, this has led to a something of a paradox because tax law effects should cause high-yield to be avoided (your argument) but no evidence was found to support that. If you have research that shows dividend policy affects price please post the link.

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No. of Recommendations: 2
Author: FractalWalk Date: 12/15/00 11:06 AM Number: 39084

I wrote:
<<I maintain, for about the hundreth time, that the trend that has been found (ie, that high dividend yields in Dow stocks IS valid).>>

FractalWalk answered:
You claim the returns are either datamining artifacts or valid results. You then claim your opinion is that they are valid. OK. I understand your opinion, but where is your evidence to back up your belief? Why should we make the same leap of faith as you? What has convinced you that the returns are real?

This is my whole point! There is no data at this time to either verify or to disprove this issue. All the out of sample data available comes from another time with another set of socioeconomic conditions, and it is may not be valid! Note: We must be careful not to use absolute statements in any of these discussions.

I wrote:
<<The core issue, in my mind, is: Do dividends have any effect on the value of a stock . . .>>

FractalWalk replied:
I agree that that is the core question. I guess we will find the answer when Ann presents her numbers with the Dow stocks removed. If dividend policy affects the 1973-1993 Dow stocks then it should affect the 1973-1993 non-Dow stocks as well. Removing the suspect stocks is the first step to a clean analysis.

It is my opinion that the dividend effect may be found only in large cap stocks, as pointed out by O'Shaughnessy. If the database that is analyzed includes small cap stocks, then I believe, there is a strong possibility that in addition to not including effects due to the difference in socio-econimic conditions, the analysis will be tainted by not analyzing the proper set of stocks.

FractalWalk wrote:
where is the empirical data to support it? Everything I have ever read has claimed that dividend policy has never had an effect. In fact, this has led to a something of a paradox because tax law effects should cause high-yield to be avoided (your argument) but no evidence was found to support that.

The only empirical evidence appears in various books published by authors such as O'Shaughnessy, Siegle, Bogle, and O'Higgins. I don't find any credible work that disproves my opinion, and I always state that it is my opinion as opposed to the way many of the others post their opinions as absolute fact. I think that is what I object to the most about many of the posts made to this board by the 'experts'. If any of these people truly are 'experts' then they are not demonstrating it very well.

Russ
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No. of Recommendations: 8
I wrote:
It is clear to me that there was a deliberate omission of the datamining/multiple hypothesis issue in the RP4 obituary statement.

rkmacdonald responded:
This is part of the misleading that has been taking place.

Please note this:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with data mining!!! Every corner of science uses datamining!


I agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with datamining, and that it is a useful scientific tool. I don't believe that my comments were misleading.

Anyone who has spent the last year reading this board knows full well that the RP4 and its predecessors were developed using a process of datamining (not necessarily a bad thing). Furthermore, the support for the RP4 has been based on its stated returns in the in-sample period. There was even a claim of statistical significance for these returns.

I believe that TMF was initially statistically naive, and fully believed in all of their claims. However, I find it very difficult to believe that all the bright people at TMF could not, or would not, follow the last year's debate as to the errors in their analysis. Any TMF member who has spent any time on this board should be well aware that:
1. The use of in-sample data causes an upward bias on the stated results
2. The trying of multiple hypotheses causes an upward bias on the stated results

The in-sample returns of the RP4 have not changed (they can't, they're written in the annals of history). So why did TMF support the RP4 then but not now, given these fantastic returns? Answer: the analysis of the returns has changed. In other words, TMF is now accepting points 1 and/or 2 listed above.

However, in the RP4 "obituary" article, no mention of the problems inherent in using in-sample data or in the multiple hypothesis problem exist. These issues are ignored completely, and yet they are the fundamental reason for the fall from grace of the RP4. Perhaps most importantly, these issues are crucial to the analysis of any stock screen which was developed on historical data. For this reason, TMF should be emphasizing, not obscuring, these problems in the interests of education.

I think after a year of heated debate the plea of ignorance on this issue lacks any credibility. Therefore, I can only conclude that these issues were deliberately left out of the article. And my point, finally, is that this omission has degraded my opinion of TMF's integrity.

cheers,
progmtl
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No. of Recommendations: 7
rkm wrote:

There is no data at this time to either verify or to disprove this issue . . .All the out of sample data available comes from another time with another set of socioeconomic conditions, and it is may not be valid!

You did not answer my question. Why do you think the results are not overly datamined? You believe there is no data to support either view, so is it merely a leap of faith? Is it that you implicitly trust O'Higgins, O' Shaughnessy and the Gardener brothers and implicitly distrust all others who refute them?

There is existing data from the exact same time period that you reference that shows no out-performance by the F4. Look at the Dow returns in-sample for January and then look at them fo non-January starts. Look at the all month returns for Dow and non-Dow stocks. Do you believe the data is made up?

It is my opinion that the dividend effect may be found only in large cap stocks

I believe Ann's analysis will only be large cap stocks, so TMF has that information.

The only empirical evidence appears in various books published by authors such as O'Shaughnessy, Siegle, Bogle, and O'Higgins.

This gets us into a rather circular argument because it is basically their results that we are trying to test.

I don't find any credible work that disproves my opinion . . .

Lifted from a recent post by Snoop:

" . . . it is not possible to demonstrate that the expected returns on high yield common stocks differ from the expected returns on low yield common stocks either before or after taxes." -- Black, F., and M. Scholes, 1974, "The effects of dividend yield and dividend policy on common stock prices and returns, Journal of Financial Economics 1, 1-22.

The Nobel prize commitee thought they were credible.
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RKM,

In fact, I believe that there is no way at all to apply many of the statistical techniques he suggested to a database that does not conform to the character of a pseudorandom event.

Datasnooper and others have cited paper after peer-reviewed paper printed in scholarly journals analyzing stock returns statistically -- various papers assessing the momentum effect come to mind.

Is it your contention that these papers and any others that statistically analyze stock returns are inherently unsound? Is it just inappropriate to apply statistical methods to an analysis of stock returns?

The thing that Datasnooper did very well was to run people off with abrasive, overly opinionated, and self-serving postings, and to make people angry.

In your view, what could Snoop have done better? If I understand correctly, you agree with him that TMF's statistical claims regarding the FF were flat out wrong. By demonstrating that he did TMF and its customers a service. I think we can all be grateful for that. (I don't know of anyone who he made angry during the process, do you?)

As an MS Electrical Engineer with almost 30 years of experience in statistical analysis, I can tell you that many of the things preached as gospel by Datasnooper were, in fact, distorted applications of statistics given the actual conditions of the market and the changing socio-economic conditions.

This is a key point. Do you have any links supporting it?

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No. of Recommendations: 3
VMSoui,

It is common in scientific papers to offer acknowledgements of people who contributed significantly to your work or you understanding of a subject even if those people would disagree with your conclusions.

Sure, but do you see any evidence in the Tom and David Gardner article that Datasnooper contributed significantly to their work or their understanding of the subject? I don't.

You're coming close to slandering Snoop.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I would like to see how the original F4 from 1973-1993 compares against the Top30 non-Dow stocks from the same time period. Unfortunately, I don't have that data, but here are some very very rough numbers from almost the in-sample period of the original F4. Since Ann provided the 1996+ returns as well as the 1990's returns, we can back into the 1990-1995 returns. I calculated the following CAGRs for 1990-1995; Top30=16.42% and F4=14.36%

Adding those numbers to the 70's and 80's return. Would give us the 1970-1995 returns for Non-Dow stocks that follow the F4 method (I'm assuming F4.2). This is almost the in-sample discovery period for the original F4. These numbers provide the following results for 1970-1995: Top30=12.9% and the F4=15.6%

We know that the F4.2 earned about 2.5% higher CAGR than the F4.0 http://www.fool.com/DDow/1998/DDow981211.htm
Subtracting that would make the original F4 have only about a .2% greater return than the non-Dow Top 30.

Of course since the years 1970-1972 and 1994-1995 are included, that number is not correct. In addition, I believe the 2.5% added performance by the F4.2 was for 1961-1995 and not just 1973-1993, so that number may also not be correct. But it is the best guess that I can make with the info that I have.
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Frac,

That wouldn't be just the least bit over the top would it?

Steve
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That wouldn't be just the least bit over the top would it?

It's completely worthless.

But I'm hoping that maybe someone who has the data can do it properly or at least it sparks ideas in others that I didn't think of. FWIW, I don't think there should be a reason for the F4.2 and F4.0 to have any difference in returns in return in the non-Dow list (barring randomness) and so the 2.5% adjustment should be removed. That leaves the 1970-1995 data with a 2.7% differential to the Top30. Is that significant?





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No. of Recommendations: 5
russ: However, even though I may have a lot of experience working with and using statistical methods, I still don't claim to be an expert. You simply don't need to be an expert here, though, to see that there are problems with the fundamental basis for the work being done.

Of course your premise that the market is a non-stationary process is well taken. I'm assuming you have been working in signal processing, which should make you very well versed in handling non-stationary stochastic processes. I would agree with short time span non-stationary.

That the market is non-stationary is the equivalent of Ann's saying that "Value stocks are out of style right now." Yes, the market seems to have a mind (or loss thereof) of its own. I submit, however that when one has fifty years of data with which to work, that the process would look stationary to an analyst. Any process can look non-stationary with a small enough sample, but there have been hundreds of brilliant folks poking at the market for many years, and their collective pronouncement seems to be that the market is random, and at least mostly efficient. I suspect that the micro caps may offer a window of non-efficiency, but that's hard to tell.

Assumming that you are absolutely correct that the non-stationarity of the market makes the FF somehow more viable, how can one exploit this? If value stocks are out of style right now, one would lose money buying the FF. If value stocks become "in style" then one could make money. How will you know in advance which kind of market you have? Will your non-stationary statistics help? Will back testing predict the future? Every gimmick proposed, from chart patterns to the RP4, has been tried in the furnace of experience and found wanting. (There was a time when I really wanted to believe in charting, but I got over it after a few drubbings.)

I still don't see your point of saying that the work Snoop, Soui, Jimmei, and others here is invalid, but TMF's datamining (oops, I mean multi-back testing) somehow has validity. I just don't get it. Maybe you could explain.

cliff
... don't be afraid of a technical explanation. Acoustic noise manages to be a bit random, and non-stationary, too.
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Author: PVCliff Date: 12/15/00 10:48 PM Number: 39113

Of course your premise that the market is a non-stationary process is well taken. I'm assuming you have been working in signal processing, which should make you very well versed in handling non-stationary stochastic processes. I would agree with short time span non-stationary.

That the market is non-stationary is the equivalent of Ann's saying that "Value stocks are out of style right now." Yes, the market seems to have a mind (or loss thereof) of its own. I submit, however that when one has fifty years of data with which to work, that the process would look stationary to an analyst. Any process can look non-stationary with a small enough sample, but there have been hundreds of brilliant folks poking at the market for many years, and their collective pronouncement seems to be that the market is random, and at least mostly efficient. I suspect that the micro caps may offer a window of non-efficiency, but that's hard to tell.


First, thanks for a well-written post. You have hit on several key points.

OK. I will get into a little of it, but the limitations of a regular keyboard make mathmematical discussions painful and hard to understand.

You are partially correct about my personal experience with probabilitic issues. However, almost all the stochastic processes we use in control and communication engineering are constructed to have some sort of stationarity. For others who may be reading this, stationarity can be pictured intuitively as the absence of any drift in the ensemble of member functions as a whole. More to the point, the past history of a stationary stochastic process can be used to predict the future of the process in a probabilitic sense. This speaks to the very heart of this stock market discussion.

There are actually three main flavors of stationarity. Assume a stochasatic process

[X(.,t);t member set gamma]

It is called first order stationary if:

Fx(z,t1)=Fx(z,t2) for all (t1,t2) and all real numbers z.

Similarly, wide sense or second order stationarity (also sometimes called covariance stationary) is described:

Fx(z1,t1,z2,t2)=Fx(z1,t1+tau;z2,t2+tau)

for all (z1,z2) and all allowable (t1,t2,tau)

Lastly, the one that I believe is most germaine to us in analyzing the stock market is strictly stationary as follows:

Fx(z1,t1;z2,t2;...;zn,tn)=Fx(z1,t1+tau;z2,t2+tau;...;zn,tn+tau)

for all sets of real numbers (z1,z2,...,zn)

(this is very difficult to do, and I don't think this is a very good place to be discussing details of probability theory, so I think I stop here)

It is my contention that unless the market can be shown to be stochastic and strictly stationary, many tools used by the statistician are of questionable value.

However, it may be that the market is close enough in many situations that these tools would give a reasonable result.

Assumming that you are absolutely correct that the non-stationarity of the market makes the FF somehow more viable, how can one exploit this?

Please don't misunderstand my main issue here. I am not saying that the stationarity aspect, per se, is any indication of whether the F4 is a valid strategy or not. My only point was that many of the analyses performed by Snoop and the others depend on stochastic processes with strict stationarity, and that since this is suspect, it introduces an element of uncertainty into their results. I'm not saying that they are wrong. I'm only saying that they cannot make definitive and absolute conclusions based on their statistical analyses.

I guess my bigger problem is that I don't believe any historical market evidence can be dependable in predicting the future of any strategy regardless of whether data has been collected, in sample, out of sample, or under sample, for that matter. I just don't think the data-mining artifacts are as big a problem as they have been made out to be.

If value stocks are out of style right now, one would lose money buying the FF. If value stocks become "in style" then one could make money. How will you know in advance which kind of market you have? Will your non-stationary statistics help?

I know very little about non-stationary analysis, since we usually construct some amount of stationarity before making our analyses. Some of our 'brains' know a lot more about this stuff than I. It is very deep and involves lots of smoke and mirrors.

Will back testing predict the future? Every gimmick proposed, from chart patterns to the RP4, has been tried in the furnace of experience and found wanting. (There was a time when I really wanted to believe in charting, but I got over it after a few drubbings.)

This is really the bottom line. I have nearly reached the conclusion that statistical analysis of historical stock market data may be totally useless in predicting the future. I have played around with several of the MI techniques here on TMF, and just can't be comfortable that any of them are based on truly sound principles.

I still don't see your point of saying that the work Snoop, Soui, Jimmei, and others here is invalid, but TMF's datamining (oops, I mean multi-back testing) somehow has validity. I just don't get it. Maybe you could explain.

As you probably know, much of the work that they have done is mathematically correct. Again, it is properties of the set they are analyzing that is suspect in my mind.

My biggest objection all along is that the non-stationary (and possibly non-stochastic as well, but that is a different discussion) nature of the market could introduce errors far larger than the effects of the so-called datamining artifacts. This throws the whole statistical analyses into question.

I also need to clarify that I find no logical or statistical basis for the F4 (RP calculation). My interest really lies in the effects that dividends may have on the value of a stock (DDA strategies). I still think there has been enough evidence compiled over the last 50 years by enough independant economists to show that there is some corelation between dividend yield and appreciation. I also believe that the stochastic non-linear nature of the market may be causing erroneous results in some of the studies done by our resident statisticians using traditional statistical methods. They are blaming some of these on the use of multiple hypotheses. I think this may not be correct.

Russ
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Author: FractalWalk Date: 12/15/00 2:26 PM Number: 39099
Lifted from a recent post by Snoop:

" . . . it is not possible to demonstrate that the expected returns on high yield common stocks differ from the expected returns on low yield common stocks either before or after taxes." -- Black, F., and M. Scholes, 1974, "The effects of dividend yield and dividend policy on common stock prices and returns, Journal of Financial Economics 1, 1-22.

The Nobel prize commitee thought they were credible.


I have a lot of respect for Black and Scholes, and they are certainly credible. The Black-Scholes Option Model is famous, and that is what they won the Nobel prize for. In fact, one of the books I own is 'Black-Scholes and Beyond', and they write estensively about statistical analysis of the stock market.

However, I was unaware that Black and Scholes ever analyzed the effects of dividends on appreciation of large cap stocks, even though this is certainly not what they won the Nobel Prize for. I would like to read the referenced paper, but have been unable to find it anywhere.

Russ
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No. of Recommendations: 0
The thing is, though, that his conclusion is more or less correct. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that there is nothing remotely resembling statistically significant outperformance on the part of the Fool 4 when properly measured.

I also find it interesting that you can dismiss Snoop's conclusions so quickly and easily out of hand.

--Soui

The one thing I notice is, being right is fine,
but being right and explaining it to the lesser educated of us and allowing it to sink in and thus make
sense is better! If I could follow your arguements
better ( that is if they were clearer) than they would be more convincing! The truth is some points were presented very well and I did accept them!
Best wishes D68
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No. of Recommendations: 0
D68: The one thing I notice is, being right is fine,
but being right and explaining it to the lesser educated of us and allowing it to sink in and thus make
sense is better! If I could follow your arguements
better ( that is if they were clearer) than they would be more convincing!


Unfortunately the statistics involved (actually any statistics) are somewhat elusive. I find Fractal Walk's posts are easier reading and not bogged down with the math.

It's an easy matter to take a statistical average of a group of numbers. It's quite another thing to say that this average has a qualitative meaning, and that's where the going gets tough. The number crunching for the FF is easy, but interpreting the numbers is where one needs someone skilled in ths arcane science of statistics.

regards
cliff
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Sorry to resurrect an oldish thread, but Ann was kind enough to reply to one of my posts just before I went on vacation. She correctly pointed out an overstatement in my first message (but committed one of her own), when she noted:

I know we said "Crush your mutual funds" but I don't recall saying the strategy was proven, and (one more time!) I never said the Foolish Four performance was "no way in hell due to chance." That phrase described the confidence level of a T-test, and I then went into qualifier after qualifier about how it was just one test that wasn't conclusive.

The bolded language is my error, based on a lapse of memory. I should have noted that TMF repeatedly used terms like "safe" (not "proven") in emphasizing the benefits of the F4 - as in David noting:

"Concentrated on enormous companies with long histories in the public markets, the [BTD] is the simplest and safest route to common-stock outperformance that I've ever come across. I also believe that the Foolish Four variations of the Dow Approach are a less expensive and more rewarding dish than was the original recipe." http://www.foolmart.com/Shopping/Product_View.asp?PRODUCT_ID=MF014_02

As for the other issue, Ann, you might be correct that you never said that the F4 performance was "no way in hell due to chance" (although it's arguable) - but I originally didn't say that you said that. I believe that Snoop and other stat-heads have shown that even the limited statement that you made:

The Foolish Four outperforms the S&P 500 at the 99% confidence level, and the RP4 outperforms at the no-way-in-hell-is-this-due-to-chance confidence level of 99.9%.

was far too broad given the data you had at hand (which was my initial point).

A minor nitpick. I appreciate your response, and wanted to clarify my error in using "proven" when I meant to say "safe."

Albaby
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Albaby:

You were closer than you thought when you wrote <<A minor nitpick. I appreciate your response, and wanted to clarify my error in using "proven" when I meant to say "safe.">>

The Fool School called the RP4 "practically foolproof".

At the very end of the Foolish Four section it said "Want to sink your teeth into something a little more challenging than the practically foolproof Dow Approach? Want to really learn about a company that interests you? Read on in Step 8."

I honestly think that TMF owes it to the readers of the Fool School, the readers of the daily column, and the readers of this board to explain how they could have made such strong statements as the one in the previous paragraph and then virtually abandon the strategy.

If TMF won't stand behind a strategy that is "practically foolproof" then how can anyone be sure that TMF will continue to stand behind the RB and RM strategies?
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Author: rkmacdonald Date: 12/16/00 7:44 PM Number: 39126

I also need to clarify that I find no logical or statistical basis for the F4 (RP calculation). My interest really lies in the effects that dividends may have on the value of a stock (DDA strategies). I still think there has been enough evidence compiled over the last 50 years by enough independant economists to show that there is some corelation between dividend yield and appreciation.

You may be interested in some research by American Investment Services and their parent organization, American Institute for Economic Research. AIS/AIER has conducted comprehensive studies on high yield Dow investment strategies. AIER ran an informative study on the original high yield ten and back-tested over 1000 other high yield Dow strategies. These ranged from holding just the no. 1 stock for one month to buying all 30 and holding them for three years. AIS also looked at excluding the no. 1 holdings and even ran the F4 through their data base.

AIS stated : "The question we were trying to answer was always this: what combination of Dow stocks ranked by yield held for how long would have provided the highest risk-adjusted total return in the past? Is this data mining? It probably is."

AIS never asserted, however, that following their recommended strategy would provide the same returns that it would have in the past, or even that it would prove to be the very best HYD choice in any future period. AIS stated: "Our back-testing was simply an effort to establish the basis of selecting from the Dow stocks, and how long to plan to hold the selections".

My own experience with HYD investing has been good. I started using a HYD strategy when I retired in 1993 and have enjoyed very good returns. Given my positive experience with HYD investing, I'm somewhat more sanguine about future returns than many of the writers on this board.

RTC
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No. of Recommendations: 16
Ann: I know we said "Crush your mutual funds" but I don't recall saying the strategy was proven


But the Foolish Four, over time, is a proven strategy.
http://www.fool.com/FoolPort/1997/FoolPort970107.htm

I've written a fribble or two on the taxes issue which you can read at your leisure, but in short, even under the most burdensome taxation possible (assuming the full long-term capital gains rate of 28% and a 100% turnover in the Foolish Four each year, an unlikely occurrence), the after-tax return is still 16%. I have yet to see a mutual fund strategy or buy-and-hold forever approach that has equaled that return over the last 25 years PRE-TAX, let alone after tax. If it's out there, please, let us know about it. We don't eschew mutual funds because they're evil; we eschew them because we have found something that has proven consistently better and amazingly easy to implement. How Foolish!
http://www.fool.com/DDow/1996/DDow960605.htm

So, should you stick to the system? You decide. But knowing how lousy my own intuition is, I prefer to go "by the numbers" on this proven strategy.
http://www.fool.com/DDow/1996/DDow960624.htm

The recent attacks on the Dow approach by the Wise are funny in a way. They claim the approach can't keep working (although the last five years have shown it to be working just fine, thank you, averaging nearly 34% a year), yet the Wise are unable to offer an alternative that has a proven track record that beats it.
http://www.fool.com/DDow/1996/DDow960702.htm

So, let's all keep in mind the beauty and simplicity of Beating the Dow. It works, and works very well. We'll always continue to play with the model, of course. That's half the fun. But don't let that play transfer over into your stock holdings. If you want to change approaches, wait comfortably until your next annual update with the knowledge that ALL of the variations we track here have proven themselves better than the market averages over the last several decades. Pretty sweet, isn't it?
http://www.fool.com/DDow/1996/DDow960910.htm

I figured socially conscious investing had no place in a proven mechanical system like this.
http://www.fool.com/DDow/1997/DDow970917.htm

The Dow Approaches work on a unique two-part screen, and occasionally, this unusual format lends itself to confusion. The idea of investing in the highest yielding stocks is pretty straightforward and has been proven again and again to be a sound way to find value among large stocks.
http://www.fool.com/DDow/1997/DDow970909.htm

There you have it, Fools. Three major approaches to high-yield investing on the Dow: the straight High-Yield Approach, focusing on nothing but the highest dividend yields; the Foolish Four, which uses two separate screens to test high yield, then low price; and the RP Variation, which uses both high yield and low price in a single combinatory equation to select the best candidates for the coming year or two. All three methods haven proven successful and consistently out-perform the market indices the majority of professional money managers lose to year after year. Choose the one that fits your portfolio requirements the best and Fool on!
http://www.fool.com/DDow/1998/DDow980416.htm

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No. of Recommendations: 3
Albaby,

Sorry to resurrect an oldish thread, but Ann was kind enough to reply to one of my posts just before I went on vacation. She correctly pointed out an overstatement in my first message (but committed one of her own), when she noted:

I know we said "Crush your mutual funds" but I don't recall saying the strategy was proven, and (one more time!) I never said the Foolish Four performance was "no way in hell due to chance." That phrase described the confidence level of a T-test, and I then went into qualifier after qualifier about how it was just one test that wasn't conclusive.

The bolded language is my error, based on a lapse of memory. I should have noted that TMF repeatedly used terms like "safe" (not "proven") in emphasizing the benefits of the F4 - as in David noting:

"Concentrated on enormous companies with long histories in the public markets, the [BTD] is the simplest and safest route to common-stock outperformance that I've ever come across. I also believe that the Foolish Four variations of the Dow Approach are a less expensive and more rewarding dish than was the original recipe." http://www.foolmart.com/Shopping/Product_View.asp?PRODUCT_ID=MF014_02


If we are talking about safety, one could argue that even in these bad times, the Foolish Four has been safer than many, many other options. Of course it has been less safe than, say, Dow Diamonds, or a bank account. I wish we HAD been selling it as a safer type of investment. That might be easier to defend. :)

As for the other issue, Ann, you might be correct that you never said that the F4 performance was "no way in hell due to chance" (although it's arguable) - but I originally didn't say that you said that. I believe that Snoop and other stat-heads have shown that even the limited statement that you made:

The Foolish Four outperforms the S&P 500 at the 99% confidence level, and the RP4 outperforms at the no-way-in-hell-is-this-due-to-chance confidence level of 99.9%.

was far too broad given the data you had at hand (which was my initial point).


Yes, that statement is much too broad given the data we had at hand. That's why I also said:

And it still doesn't mean that the stock selection strategies we employ are the cause of the outperformance, although it is not unreasonable to assume that, as long as you realize it is your opinion, not some kind of statistically proven fact.

Yes, I was very naive when I wrote that over two years ago. I certainly wouldn't write something like that now, or at any time during the last year and a half. But I wasn't so naive back then that I thought that the strategy was "proven," and I know that at the time I wanted to be very sure that I didn't say that.

That's what's so irritating about this whole "no way in hell" argument. I went out of my way to avoid saying that the test proved the strategy worked. Yet, its been thrown in my face for a year now as though I did say that. And I'm rather tired of it. Sorry if I sound petulant. I feel petulant about this, although I suppose I should know by now that most subtleties never seem to live beyond their first writing.

Speaking subtleties, I appreciate your (Albaby's) point that you weren't saying I said that the strategy was proven--that the statement was just "too broad." Single sentences taken out of context often are. I guess my point is that the "stat-heads" seemed to be looking for something that they could take out of context and blow out of proportion. That's what bothers me.

Ann





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I honestly think that TMF owes it to the readers of the Fool School, the readers of the daily column, and the readers of this board to explain how they could have made such strong statements as the one in the previous paragraph and then virtually abandon the strategy.


Hello? Didn't we do that? We thought it was great. It "looked good at thet ime." We were wrong. We said that. We've rewritten the 13 Steps.

Ann
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No. of Recommendations: 2
mmmmBeer:

Ann: I know we said "Crush your mutual funds" but I don't recall saying the strategy was proven.

Great search engine you got there, mmmmBeer. Thanks for demonstrating that I have never said the strategy was proven. I wasn't entirely sure that I had always been so careful, especially when I first took on this job, and we only had data limited to January starts. Things sure looked different then. We've learned a lot since the last time someone at the Motley Fool used that word (in April of '98 according to your research).

Ann

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No. of Recommendations: 1
somewhere between 12/20/00 and12/21/00, AT&T (T)seems to have vanished from the list of top dow stocks (rp order)...anybody or AnnC have a reason why...thx,winterfly.
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No. of Recommendations: 5
winterfly notes:
somewhere between 12/20/00 and12/21/00, AT&T (T)seems to have vanished from the list of top dow stocks (rp order)...anybody or AnnC have a reason why...thx,winterfly.

--- --- ---
They slashed their dividend by some 83%. Perhaps that is the reason.

HTH
--BigBunk
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Ann,

If we are talking about safety, one could argue that even in these bad times, the Foolish Four has been safer than many, many other options. Of course it has been less safe than, say, Dow Diamonds, or a bank account. I wish we HAD been selling it as a safer type of investment. That might be easier to defend. :)

Maybe, but I think I have a different notion of what it means to be "safe." I can't imagine a circumstance in which a narrow investment solely comprised of U.S. equities might be appropriately labeled as "safe."

Sure, the official F4 has more or less tracked the S&P500 in its two years, while trailing the DOW. But as has been pointed out many times, that's just one portfolio on one starting day. The other semi-official F4 port (the F4 component of the Retiree ports) closed out its first full year with a loss of 21.5% (compared to 7.2% for the DOW and S&P500 over that time period). That's extraordinary - I don't believe that an investment portfolio that is capable of losing 20%+ in a single year can be called safe under any circumstances.

I personally think a claim of "safety" (had you made it more strongly - not saying that you did) would be less defensible than the statements suggesting outperformance. A minor point, but I stress it because I feel that TMF routinely understates the degree of risk involved in investing in U.S. equities. The thought that a basket of four stocks could ever be labelled "safe" is reflective of that understatement.

Best regards,

Albaby

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No. of Recommendations: 8
Ann: Great search engine you got there, mmmmBeer. Thanks for demonstrating that I have never said the strategy was proven. I wasn't entirely sure that I had always been so careful, especially when I first took on this job, and we only had data limited to January starts. Things sure looked different then. We've learned a lot since the last time someone at the Motley Fool used that word (in April of '98 according to your research).
-------------------

There you have it, Fools. Three major approaches to high-yield investing in the Dow:
* The High-Yield Ten approach, focusing on nothing but the highest dividend yields.
* The Foolish Four, applying two separate screens to test high yield and then low price.
* The RP variation, combining both high yield and low price in a single ratio.
All three methods point you to a group of stocks poised to perform well in the coming year. And all three have proven successful …

"The Foolish Four: How to CRUSH Your Mutual Funds in 15 Minutes a Year", Published by the Motley Fool, October 1998, page 23.

Having read this Foolish guide to the Dow Dividend Approach, you now know about three simple methods that have wildly outperformed the market for the past 35 years. But we didn't promise you mere outperformance, we promised you would crush your mutual funds.
"The Foolish Four: How to CRUSH Your Mutual Funds in 15 Minutes a Year", Published by the Motley Fool, October 1998, page 80.

In my opinion, the Foolish Four is about as good as you can get for a basic retirement or legacy-building strategy. For your more discretionary investment cash, there are lots of options. First, you might want to visit our Foolish Workshop -- we have mechanical strategies there where you can trade as often as every month. They don't have the proven track record that the Foolish Four does …
http://www.fool.com/ddow/1999/ddow990625.htm (Ann Coleman, June 25 1999).
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No. of Recommendations: 7
Ann:

Are the equivocations on the Foolish Four performance and past claims worth the embarrassment of the hole being dug for you by mmmmBeer and her/his search engine? Just come clean completely and be done with it.

Regards,
fingfool
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Hi fingfool!

Man, and you inferred that I was most persistant? :-) How would you like TMFAnnC done? Hung, electrocuted, lethal injection, blindfolded and shot at dawn? :-)

She stated her position as best she could with what she was aware of a couple of years ago (at least that is my understanding). She has further stated (as was pointed out by mmmBeer's earlier post) that she was not so totally careless as everyone has accused her. She has also stated that she would not make the same claims now in light of what has been "discovered". And.....she notes that TMF has made changes that reflect the statements that might be misconsrued as inaccurate.


Respectfully,

Kirk
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No. of Recommendations: 3
KirkWeber:

I expected no less persistent defense of whatever TMF does from you. You are even persistent in your use of "persistant".

I, on the other hand, am just as persistent in making my point that TMF would do its advertised image as a teacher better by pushing the analyses of investing strategies over advocating them. I too am persistent in misspelling the same words over and over again.

We both suffer the same affliction - its just directed differently.

Persistently Yours,
fingfool


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Hi Fingfool!

Very good! You managed to make your point and backhandedly give me a bit of a jab for my poor spelling! I had to go look it up! It is persistent and not persistant. :-) I defer to your spelling prowess sir! :-)

Seriously, I agree that we each will have our own viewpoints. I see this fact as a good thing!


Respectfully (and persistently),

Kirk

where is the dam spellcheck on these boards??!!~~
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No. of Recommendations: 6
Kirk

where is the dam spellcheck on these boards??!!~~

--- --- ---
...non-existent AFAIK.
[BTW, dam s/b damn!] ;-)

--BigBunk
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No. of Recommendations: 0
Hi Big B!

"[BTW, dam s/b damn!] ;-)" I no, I no!!:-)

I was just having some early morning fun! It is good to see that someone else cruises this early in the morning though!

Kirk
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