The Five Worst Ideas In Money Management

Robert Zuccaro, CFA is Founder and CIO Of Target QR Strategies managing the Golden Eagle Growth Strategy

As a portfolio manager specializing in common stocks, I have spent more than 40 years researching and trying to identify the common characteristics of top-performing stocks. I’ve put my key findings on achieving superior returns in the context of what not to do in selecting stocks. My research supports these ideas, and some may come into conflict with conventional thinking.

1. Short selling: The Dow has risen from just over 1,000 at the end of 1982 to just under 30,000 as of this writing. My research has found that on average, the stock market rises six of every 10 days. Investors can find better odds in Las Vegas than trying to short the market or shorting specific stocks even though this idea offers great intellectual appeal.

Want proof? From 2010-2019, equities hedge funds generated a cumulative return of 58% versus 257% for the S&P 500 during 2010-2019, or 22.6% of the S&P 500 return. According to Lipper mutual funds data, long-only mutual funds have provided a cumulative return of 182%, more than three times the return of hedge funds. Worse yet, investors pay higher fees to have their money managed in a hedge fund.

2. Using price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) to evaluate stocks: In 2019, Merrill Lynch reported that 80% of investors use P/Es as their primary investment tool. S&P Dow Jones Indices reported that 87% of all types of equities funds failed to beat the S&P Composite 1500 Index over the past 15 years.

The general perception on P/Es is that lower P/E stocks offer greater value. This viewpoint runs counter to the evidence at hand. William O’Neil of IBD studied P/Es and found that stocks selling at an average P/E of 35 returned on average 120% during 1996-1997. I studied the top 10 stocks during the period of 2006-2015, which achieved cumulative price gains of 845%-5,345%. I found that these stocks started their runs at an average P/E of 40X. This research demonstrates that profits growth trumps P/Es in evaluating stocks.

3. Focusing on positive earnings surprises: Wall Street is fixated on earnings surprises, both positive and negative. Quarterly earnings reports are almost always discussed in the context of a positive or negative surprise, with no mention of earnings growth. Consider two stocks, one reporting a lesser loss of 4 cents per share versus the estimate of a 5 cent loss, for a 20% surprise. Another company reports $2 per share versus $1 per year ago, but falls short of the estimate by 20%. My research shows that earnings growth is far more important than a quarterly surprise in stock evaluation and that conventional reporting on surprises has no relevance to a company’s growth trajectory.

4. Ignoring money-losing companies: Most investors shy away from money-losing companies. Moreover, Wall Street often comes to a wrong conclusion in rating a stock because of its reliance on earnings per share (EPS), which can give

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Nick Wright: Wentz playing the worst of his career at 27 makes an ominous sign for his future | FIRST THINGS FIRST






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Eagles’ Darius Slay calls performance against DK Metcalf the worst game of his career

The Philadelphia Eagles gave Darius Slay $50 million over three years to contain elite wide receivers like DK Metcalf. To say Slay fell flat on his face in the Eagles’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks would be an understatement. 

Metcalf finished with 10 catches for a career-high 177 yards in Seattle’s 23-17 win over Philadelphia, with seven catches for 141 yards were when Slay was covering him. The Eagles decided to leave their high-priced cornerback in man coverage against Metcalf, who dominated the matchup against Slay throughout the night.

“It was tough. I feel like the plays weren’t going my way,” Slay admitted after the game. “Like I said, he did a great job of catching the ball. He did everything good as a receiver. I would say this is by far the worst game I have ever played in the league. I truly lost every 50/50 ball. I was probably 0-for. I have never been that, but I say props to him, he played his ass off today, and I have to get better.

“I let the team down. I told the defense, that game was on me.”

Slay took full accountability for his performance, which is uncommon with the recent history of Eagles’ high-priced cornerbacks. The Eagles haven’t received the bang for their buck regarding Slay’s contract, as the former All-Pro cornerback has allowed 71.4% of the passes targeted his way to be caught heading into Monday’s loss against the Seahawks. Slay has allowed 8.0 yards per target as opposing quarterbacks have a 100.8 passer rating when targeting him, even though he’s only allowed one touchdown on the year. 

The Eagles guaranteed Slay $12 million this year to be an elite cornerback. While Slay has played the part at times, the lack of interceptions (zero) and passes defensed (four) are concerning — despite Slay being targeted just 5.1 times a game (not counting his numbers against the Seahawks). 

“I am a man about what I do. I am always feeling great. I am not always in a bad mood or bad spirit, but I understand and I have great ownership,” Slay said. “I know that I can change the game and I could have helped. I put that game on me because I was supposed to do my job and shut him down. 

“Like I said, he was making every catch possible, every 50/50 one. That is why he had no yards after catch because I am right there. He just made more plays than I did and I take real big ownership because I feel like I am one of the best in the game and I will continue to take my ownership. He got the best of me today, but I am looking forward to going to work next week, this week, and getting better for the team. They deserve it, I deserve it, and this organization does.”


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Darius Slay has ‘worst game’ of his career trying to stop DK Metcalf

The Eagles traded for Darius Slay and gave him a contract extension for these games. There are occasions where the Eagles are going to ask him to shut down their opponent’s top receiver.

Slay didn’t come close to doing that against DK Metcalf on Monday night.

At least he owned it.

“I would say this is by far the worst game I have ever played in the league,” said Slay, now in his eighth NFL season. “I truly lost every 50/50 ball. I was probably O-for. I have never been that, but I say props to him, he played his ass off today, and I have to get better.”

Metcalf ended up with 10 catches for 177 yards and most of that damage came with the Pro Bowl corner covering him.

At least Slay was accountable.

In his postgame press conference, the 29-year-old cornerback said he let the Eagles down and he even told the rest of the defense that game was on him.

Of course, the Eagles’ defense as a whole wasn’t the biggest problem in the 23-17 loss. The Eagles’ offense continues to flounder and had mustered just nine points before the final touchdown in garbage time.

The Eagles this offseason struck out in the free agent cornerback pool and then traded a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to get Slay out of Detroit. The next day, he signed a three-year deal worth $50 million ($30 guaranteed). That contract comes out to an average of $16.7 million per season.

This offseason, the Eagles paid Slay to be a shutdown corner. Sometimes that means tough duty of trying to stop physical freaks like Metcalf.


“I thought overall, [Slay] did some good things,” Doug Pederson said. “Played tough. That’s a tough receiver to defend, and I thought D-Slay did some good things.”

When asked after the game if there were any conversations about getting him some more help to guard Metcalf, Slay seemed offended.

“Nah, hell no,” he said. “Next question.”

Well, the next question is this: Is Slay a really good cornerback or is he a shutdown corner?

Because on Monday night, really good wasn’t good enough.

“I put that game on me because I was supposed to do my job and shut him down,” Slay said. “Like I said, he was making every catch possible, every 50/50 one. That is why he had no yards after catch because I am right there. He just made more plays than I did.

“And I take real big ownership because I feel like I am one of the best in the game and I will continue to take my ownership. He got

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Everything Cam Newton said after career worst passing performance: ‘I’d rather have an ugly win rather than a pretty loss’

FOXBROUGH — It wasn’t pretty, but Cam Newton will take it.

The Patriots stole one from the Cardinals despite a quiet day from the offense, as Nick Folk nailed a walk-off 50-yarder for a 20-17 victory. Though Newton was intercepted twice and his 23.6 passer rating was the lowest of his career, the quarterback was happy to wind up in the win column.

Here’s everything he said afterwards:

Q: How did it feel to come away with this win after a string of games this year where you have had a tough time in the fourth quarter in crunch time?

CN: I said in the locker room, I’d rather have an ugly win rather than a pretty loss, if that makes any sense. I don’t know if that even exists.

We didn’t play our best game offensively, but when we needed it, we got the job done. That’s all that counts.

Q: A lot of games this season, the close games, you haven’t been able to come out on top. To come out on top, how much confidence can you build in a close game like this?

CN: We got to stack ‘em together. That’s what it pretty much comes down to. Find ways to win football games. It’s better to find ways to win in situational football, got to have the situations, rather than playing the game just to play the game.

Coach does a great job with harping on that throughout the week, as well as Josh, all the position coaches. To come to fruition, for us to come out on top is great.

Q: The play James White had on the fourth-and-two, talk about what he brought to your offense today.

CN: He got Rex Burkhead. Usually that’s Rex’s responsibility and job. White took the job and responsibility, kept (indiscernible) going in that room. I know Rex is somewhere smiling.

Q: Obviously you made the plays to win the game. Your thoughts on the offensive execution as a whole? Did the Cardinals give any looks that you weren’t expecting? They made it difficult for you guys.

CN: Just came down to in-game adjustments. I’m pretty sure they had some things that come up. With us getting the report of some guys not being able to play, kind of threw a loop in things early on. That’s what it comes down to: in-game adjustments and for us to be able to execute those to the best of our abilities.

Q: How nice was it to get another big contribution from (Nick Folk) Kicker Guy? Despite the fact that you maybe struggled on offense, for you to come up with the big play on third and 13? What kind of hit did you take from Simmons? Looked like you were down and out.

CN: I told Kicker Guy, he’s putting on a performance that is going to put him on Santa Claus’ Christmas list. I’m expecting him to stay on Santa’s good list moving forward from Boogie’s household. You

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The best and worst moments of Diego Maradona’s turbulent career | Scott Murray | Football

Maradona’s best moments

1) 1979 World Youth Championship

Diego Maradona wasted no time in announcing his talent. On his first senior appearance in 1977, for Argentinos Juniors of Buenos Aires, the 5ft 5in 16-year-old nutmegged Jose Daniel Valencia of Talleres. Valencia was an Argentina international, one of six in the Talleres team. One incredulous reporter noted that “Diego could not care less.” César Luis Menotti didn’t select Maradona for Argentina’s upcoming World Cup, explaining: “He is too young this time, but I think he will be captain in 1982”. Maradona made no fuss in missing out on the subsequent ticker-taped triumph, instead leading the kids to glory at the 1979 Fifa World Youth Championship. He was player of the tournament, scoring six goals including a deal-sealing free kick in the final that landed in the back of the USSR net.

2) Mexico ‘86

Proper World Cup glory arrived seven years later. Brazil and France were the hot tips, with Uruguay, Denmark and hosts Mexico the hip ones. Maradona, Argentina’s only world star, was carrying a knee injury and also wore odd-sized boots, the legacy of a mangled ankle at Barcelona. The stars were far from alignment, but Maradona teased them into order again and again. A clever goal against reigning champs Italy was followed by second-round mastery of Uruguay. Then the piece de resistance: the field-long sashay against England. Or was it the even-more-intricate ramble which saw off Belgium? Or the defence-splitting pass to set up the winner in the final? Yeah, yeah, the Hand of God … but it’s fair to say that on the spiritual and artistic ledger, he came out of this tournament well in credit.

3) Napoli’s first Scudetto

No team south of Rome had won Serie A before Maradona pitched tent in Naples in 1984. Napoli only had two Coppa Italias to their name. But the outsider status of both city and club suited Maradona perfectly. He became the heartbeat of a team which would win two Scudettos, in 1987 and 1990, a Coppa Italia in 1987, and the Uefa Cup in 1989. The first time is always the most memorable, though, and in Naples the street parties went on for days, with mock funerals being staged for the Old Lady. Maradona was immortalised by several large murals. He left in 1991, under something of a cloud, accused of living life a little too fast and loose. But that never stopped the club retiring his No 10 shirt.

Diego Maradona of Napoli in action for Napoli against Fiorentina in 1987.

Diego Maradona of Napoli in action for Napoli against Fiorentina in 1987. Photograph: Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

4) Divides Italy … and conquers

Few thought Argentina had any chance of retaining the World Cup in 1990: dismally out of form, they had won just one of their previous 10 matches, and that against Israel. They were then shocked by Cameroon in the opening match of the tournament. But Maradona had other ideas, turning the ship around through sheer force of will. Against the USSR, he used his godlike

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Is Gavin Williamson the worst education secretary ever? | Department for Education

Since 1900, 44 men and nine women have had charge of English education. They included one duke, two marquesses, two earls, two viscounts and three hereditary baronets. Eight were old Etonians; four were old Harrovians; 10 went to state schools but only two, including Gavin Williamson, the present incumbent, to comprehensives. Only four had ever been schoolteachers; about twice as many were barristers. One (you know who) went on to be prime minister.

Until recently, the job – not considered one of the great offices of state – rarely interested politicians of stature. Winston Churchill turned it down in 1905 because it involved “smacking children’s bottoms and blowing their noses”. It was a position mainly for has-beens, never-weres and political climbers who couldn’t wait to move on to something else. Another Tory education minister, Edward Wood (later the 3rd Viscount Halifax), was equally dismissive of education: state schools, he said, should train children up “to be servants and butlers”. Civil servants complained it was hard to discuss anything with him because he spent so much time hunting.

Is Williamson worse? Or worse than another Tory predecessor, John Patten (1992-4), who called Birmingham’s then chief education officer, Tim Brighouse, “a nutter” and a “madman”, was sued for libel and had to pay substantial damages? Worse than Sir Keith Joseph (1981-6), who made it all too plain that he didn’t like the idea of state schools and once said “I wish we’d taken a different route in 1870”? Is Williamson worse, indeed, than any of his predecessors?

Margaret Thatcher visiting a school, in 1971.
You know who: Margaret Thatcher, the only education secretary so far who went on to become prime minister Photograph: Tom Stuttard/The Guardian

Many think so. “What could have been in the prime minister’s mind,” tweeted Nicholas Soames, Churchill’s grandson and a former Tory minister, “… to appoint so mere, so unreliable, so wholly unsuitable a man?”

“He’s fucking useless,” was the crisper verdict of an unnamed vice-chancellor, speaking to the Guardian. And: “Any minister who makes children cry is not in a good place,” said a Tory MP.

All were referring to this summer’s A-level grading debacle. With exams cancelled because of Covid, Williamson decided that grades would be decided by a combination of teacher assessments and a mysterious algorithm that would correct for teachers’ over-optimism and generosity. When 40% of assessments were downgraded, some drastically, an outcry ensued, in particular because disadvantaged pupils were most commonly the losers. Williamson insisted there would be “no U-turn”. Two days later, he announced the re-instatement of the original teachers’ assessments, for GCSEs as well as A-levels, pleasing students and teachers but throwing universities, which had already filled many of their places, into crisis.

It was A-level grading that also did for a Labour education secretary, Estelle Morris (2001-2), who had been popular and had seemed well qualified for the job. Not only had she taught for 18 years in a comprehensive, she had spent four years in more junior positions at the education department. Alas,

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Iwan Rheon had ‘worst day’ of his career on Game of Thrones

Iwan Rheon smiling for the camera

© Bang Showbiz
Iwan Rheon

Iwan Rheon admitted shooting a rape scene on ‘Game Of Thrones’ was the “worst day” of his career.

The 35-year-old actor’s alter ego, Ramsay Bolton did many cruel and sadistic things during his tenure on the fantasy drama series, but Iwan didn’t find any of them as “horrible” to film as the season five moment when his character forcibly had sex with his new wife Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) on their wedding night.

He said: “That was horrible. Nobody wanted to be there. Nobody wants to do that, but if it’s telling a story then you have to tell it truthfully.

“‘They didn’t sensationalise it or anything. It was very, very hard watching. It’s a horrible thing that happens, unfortunately, and it shouldn’t be. It was the worst day of my career.

“Chopping someone’s finger off you don’t really see it, and when you’re doing like a close up, it’s a piece of plastic. We’re just acting, it’s not real. Then something like that where you’re in the actual reality of the situation is very difficult to deal with. It was a horrible, horrible day.”

Iwan admitted it was particularly tough because he’s aware marital rape still happens.

He added to “This is something that we shouldn’t even have to worry about, because it’s something that shouldn’t exist in this world but unfortunately it does.”

Meanwhile, the ‘Riviera’ actor has been keeping busy during lockdown by making music, but he insisted it’s all just been for “pleasure”, not as part of a new career path.

He said: “I don’t necessarily want it to be a massive thing, and the lovely thing about it is there’s no pressure on the music. I get to just enjoy it.

“I’ve written another [album], I call it ‘Studio Iso-f*****g-lation’! I’ve recorded bits and bobs on my own but they’re only demos not for release, just to start to get a collection of songs. Hopefully at some point I’d like to record another album or something.”

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Iwan Rheon says that Game of Thrones rape scene with Sansa Stark was ‘the worst day of my career’

Game of Thrones star Iwan Rheon has said that the day of filming a rape scene for the show was ‘horrible’ and that ‘nobody wanted to be there’.

Rheon played the unhinged Ramsay Bolton in the HBO series, who rapes his new bride Sansa Stark, played by Sophie Turner, on their wedding night, in front of Alfie Allen’s character Theon Greyjoy.

The scene, from the episode Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken in the show’s fifth season, was rounded on by both critics and fans at the time of its broadcast in 2015.

Rheon told Metro: “That was horrible. Nobody wanted to be there. Nobody wants to do that, but if it’s telling a story then you have to tell it truthfully.

Sophie Turner and Iwan Rheon at Comic-Con 2016 (Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

“They didn’t sensationalise it or anything. It was very, very hard watching. It’s a horrible thing that happens, unfortunately, and it shouldn’t be. It was the worst day of my career.”

It’s thought that some viewers voted with their feet after the episode was broadcast, with the show losing nearly one million viewers by the show’s next episode.

Read More: ‘Game of Thrones’ star Liam Cunningham refused Davos Missandei crush plot

In an article for The Atlantic, critic Christopher Orr wrote: “I continue to be astonished that showrunners Benioff and Weiss still apparently believe that their tendency to ramp up the sex, violence, and – especially – sexual violence of George R.R. Martin’s source material is a strength rather than the defining weakness of their adaptation.”

Watch: Turner and Williams were in tears over wrap party prank

US Senator Claire McCaskill also said that she would stop watching the show.

Other critics praised the show, however, Sarah Hughes in The Guardian noting: “I have repeatedly made clear that I’m not a fan of rape as a plot device – but the story of Ramsay and Sansa’s wedding was more than that… The writers are walking a very fine line here. They handled it well tonight, telling a gothic tale of innocence sacrificed.”

But following the broadcast, and the consequent uproar, the show’s producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff curbed the show’s scenes of sexual violence.

Read More: Paddy Considine lands the lead role in ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel ‘House of the Dragon’

Jeremy Podeswa, who directed the episode, told reporters at the time: “We were aware ahead of time that it was going to be disturbing but we did not expect there would be people in Congress talking about it.

“It was a difficult and brutal scene and we knew it was going to be challenging for the audience, but it was very important to us in the execution that it would not be exploited in any way.

“To be fair, the criticism was the notion of it, not the execution. It was handled as sensitively as it could possibly be; you hardly see anything.”

Rheon had previously referred to the shocking nature of the scene

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World’s Largest Wetland Has Worst October Fires on Record

(Bloomberg) — Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands, a fragile cradle of endangered species, burned at the fastest rate for the month of October since record keeping started in 1998, further damaging the country’s environmental credentials.

At least 2,846 fire spots have been registered this month in the biome, surpassing a previous 2002 record, according to data from Brazil’s Spacial Research Institute, known as INPE. So far this year, an area larger than the size of Belgium has been lost to the flames.

chart: Brazil's wetlands are burning at a record rate this year.

© Bloomberg
Brazil’s wetlands are burning at a record rate this year.

The Pantanal is home to around 1,200 species of animals, about 40 of which are threatened with extinction. Photos of burnt animals found among the ashes, including rescued Brazilian jaguars with bandaged paws, have shocked the world and raised questions about Brazil’s environmental policies.


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With the Amazon rainforest also burning at a record pace this year, foreign investors have started to demand more action from President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration to protect the environment.

Although a wetland, the Pantanal is facing its worst drought in 47 years, which has contributed to the spread of the flames. Brazil’s government has pointed to the drought as the “major cause” of the fires, but environmental organizations say the blazes have been caused primarily by humans. The environment ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Read more: Bolsonaro Slams Biden’s Plan to Stop Amazon Deforestation

INPE uses satellites to detect fire spots at least 30 meters long and 1 meter wide. One spot, however, can encompass a vast area. More than 3.5 million hectares — an area larger than Belgium — have already burned this year in the Pantanal, according to data from the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, where the majority of the biome is located.

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