How to Find Substance In the Age of Hype

I hope you’re as ready as I am to settle into some good food, good company, and some good time off from the daily grind.

We’re almost there… just a few more days to go!

If you’re like most Americans these days, you’re probably hoping your Thanksgiving is devoid of politics. Nothing sours quality time quicker than ill-timed soapboxing.

Catching up on life and love and everything in between should be enough to fill a day of giving thanks, but, just in case you’re stuck with an awkward pause or a tipsy uncle, I do have a few suggestions.

Honestly, I’m still chuckling to myself over the fun little discovery I made a few weeks ago. I found that if you could have hypothetically invested in the careers of either Emilio Estevez or Brad Pitt, the former would have been a better bet… by a longshot!

How crazy is that?!

Sometimes the best bets are hidden in plain sight. That’s something my colleagues have been getting at over the past week, and it’s been a joy to follow along.

Adam made the great connection between “moneyball” – the term for Billy Beane’s groundbreaking quantitative analysis of professional baseball – and investing.

Beane found players who failed the “eye test” but nonetheless put up the kinds of numbers that win games. That’s not unlike my own work as a forensic accountant. I don’t care if a company just picked up some famous spokesperson or got some nice media hype.

It’s all about the data.

Lance talked about how he wound up getting into CrossFit. It seems there’s no end in sight to diet and fitness options. Everywhere you look, someone’s promising the next silver bullet.

But Lance keyed in on an overlooked and crucial piece of the puzzle: sticking by your plan. How often are we presented with the beginnings of a good idea, only to fizzle out down the road? Apply that to whatever area of life you want, the same dynamic applies.

Lance found what worked for him by filtering out the noise and sticking to his guns – sorry, Lance, couldn’t help myself with that pun. And have fun working off the turkey on Friday!

You may have caught Charles talking me up on Friday. That meant a lot, as he’s one of the brightest guys I know. He talked about how I set him straight on International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) a while back. Like I said, sometimes the brightest names on the big board are just fool’s gold (no matter how big and blue they may be).

I told him the fundamentals weren’t against IBM and, well, I was right.

On Saturday I (politely!) gatecrashed Teresa’a space to talk Times Square and the Super Bowl. Maybe you could get some mileage out of quizzing your guests on the average cost of a Super Bowl ad or the amount of foot traffic in Times Square.

And, yesterday, Rodney cut through the incessant political chatter to look at what Trump has actually accomplished so far and what the road ahead looks like.

Again, sometimes clearing away the noise is the most important thing you can do before assessing your next move, no matter what that may be.

As you well know by now, we live in a time where hype and spectacle get the most attention. Cryptocurrencies-of-the-month come and go; some company promises to cure this or that disease; another tech startup promises to “disrupt” some mundane thing – say, convenience stores – and, in the process, reinvents the damn vending machine.

It’d be funny if it weren’t such a sad summary of a big part of our culture.

I think my abilities as a forensic accountant are even more important nowadays. I can’t stand the dumb stuff. It’s all about hard data to me: inventories, receivables, sales, costs, cash flow, earnings, dividends… creating value.

I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t even notice if someone says something controversial on an earnings call, like what happened with Papa John’s. I’m the guy constantly scribbling down and taking note of the stuff the matters.

Right now, I’ve got my eye on three companies that are primed for real profits down the line, and I think you’d be interested in hearing about them. In fact, a little later this afternoon, I’m hosting a special video broadcast that highlights these opportunities that are essentially “hidden in plain sight,” creating value right before our eyes.

This isn’t a gimmick, nor is it some pie-in-the-sky penny stock. You’ve probably heard of these companies before but never thought of them as sound investments. That’s why I keep saying they’re hidden in plain sight.

My little presentation is free, and you can register right here. 

Happy Thanksgiving, and good investing!

John Del Vecchio
Editor, Hidden Profits

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Categories: Stocks

About Author

In 2007, John Del Vecchio managed a short only portfolio for Ranger Alternatives, L.P. which was later converted into the AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF in 2011. Mr. Del Vecchio also launched an earnings quality index used for the Forensic Accounting ETF. He is the co-author of What's Behind the Numbers? A Guide to Exposing Financial Chicanery and Avoiding Huge Losses in Your Portfolio. Previously, he worked for renowned forensic accountant Dr. Howard Schilit, as well as short seller David Tice.