Ritholtz on Why We’re Bad at Forecasting

Forecasts are unproductive, writes Barry Ritholtz in a recent Bloomberg article, and we should not make investment decisions based on them. Ritholtz offers a list of reminders for readers of “what we know about forecasts and predictions, and why they are so rarely right.” Here are some highlights: We’re generally bad at it. “Examples are everywhere,” Ritholtz argues, citing how data provides clear evidence to support our failings at economic forecasts, expectations of future technologies, and earnings estimates, “not to mention election predictions.” Ritholtz adds that “whenever you see someone forecasting their own behavior, what you are getting is a […]

Ritholtz on the Foibles of Forecasting

Barry Ritholtz, columnist and founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management, offers insights on the “problems and investing risks of forecasting” in a recent Bloomberg View. He explains that, because people dislike uncertainty so much, they tend to believe in predictions to create an “illusion of control and stability, where often there is none. Order is created out of chaos; it is a comforting illusion.” For investors, Ritholtz points out that “one of the biggest risks is the unfortunate tendency to stay wedded to predictions.” He uses the example of a bullish or bearish investor who, instead of admitting an error when […]

Beware of Rosy Stock Market Predictions

We’ve written before about the precarious nature of forecasts, and an article in last week’s Wall Street Journal sings the same tune—that investors shouldn’t get “carried away” with predictions that the market is headed for one of the best years ever. At the beginning of this year, it says, the average prediction was that the S&P 500 would “end at 2216, a figure hit—and passed—for the first time on Wednesday.” It argues, however, that “this year’s accuracy was a matter of luck, not a sudden improvement in the forecasting power of brokers.” Among the naysayers is David Kostin, chief U.S. […]

The Frailty of Market Predictions

The unexpected Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential election victory both occurred despite overwhelming predictions to the contrary, writes John Reese in a recent article for The Globe and Mail. The CEO of Validea illustrates how forecasting in the world of investing is “equally fraught with unpredictable outcomes despite seemingly reasonable expectations.” Reese supports his argument with the research findings of psychology professor Philip Tetlock, who conducted a study of the predictive success of both experts and non-experts and analyzed upwards of 80,000 forecasts regarding various political and economic events. Tetlock found that, regardless of educational background, experience or access […]

Siegel Says Stocks Will Higher

“If we get a good second half of the year earnings-wise, then I think the market could be up 10 to 15 percent” predicts well-known Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel in a recent interview on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” According to CNBC’s account of the interview, Siegel says investor perceptions that the market is over-valued is based on weak earnings due in part to lower oil prices. However, he contends that earnings may be primed to rise by 10 to 12 percent as the global economic environment continues to stabilize, and this could lead to a sizeable rally. In that case, […]