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a plague o both your houses

Cemex, Harold Wilson, investments and gurus

“A week is a long time in politics” said British PM Harold Wilson in the 1970s. That may be true, but four days is enough in the wakked out world of the stock market version 2008

Earlier this week we noticed how copper surges, then collapses, then soars, then slumps on alternate days, with reasons drawn out of a tombola drum by financial hacks and fed to the beast. But tonight we take Mexican cement giant Cemex (CX) as our example, and let’s give Bloomberg headline the chance of screaming at us:

Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) — Cemex SAB, the largest cement maker in the Americas, fell the most in 11 years in Mexico City after the company failed to refinance some debt and analysts predicted “very weak” results this quarter as the economy slowed.

Cemex slid the most in the Bolsa Index, losing 19 percent to 11.42 pesos. It was the yada yada continues here

Which compares to this headline about the same company from the same media source just four days ago (Monday 8th)

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) — Cemex SAB rose the most in at least 14 years on speculation North America’s biggest cement maker will benefit from an infrastructure stimulus plan in the U.S., its largest market.

Cemex, which got almost a quarter of its revenue from the U.S. last year, surged 27 percent to 12.65 pesos in Mexico City trading for its biggest gain since yada yada continues here

Confused? You won’t be, after this week’s episode of HeadlessChickens.

Nobody knows what’s going on right now; not in copper, not in cement, not in oil, not in gold. There are plenty of prophets on offers to the highest (or even lowest) bidder and those with the loudest voices are the ones that will likely seduce the most sheep. They might also get their calls right, as the worst charlatans out there will just call the same thing over and over again until it’s their turn to get the stopped clock award. Screw the timing boyz, just get the monthly subcriptions off your beloved flock.

Want to know how to become a better investor? There are a thousand valid pieces of advice to offer in any one of a hundred different categories under the grand umbrella of “investing”, but here’s just four ideas for tonight:

1) Do your own due diligence. DYODD, dude. This is the most basic step of all and it’s a MUST. If you invest your cash in ticker XYZ without finding out about the company, expect no sympathy when your account comes with flushing toilet sound effects.

2) If you don’t know, ASK! A couple of days ago I got a mail from a reader asking me about Dynasty Metals. He said that there seems to be two tickers for the stock and his E-Trade account only showed DMMIF.pk and not DMM.to. These questions may be basic for some of us, but we were all rank novices at some point. It’s a pleasure to help with the basic points.

3) Turn off CNBC. Honestly. Do it now and don’t turn it back on. Yeah great, infotainment and and Fast Money and Booyah! and all that jazz. It’s just noise. If you base your investment life around what you see on TV you’re condemned to a life of stockchasing and disappointing results. Spending 8 hours looking at finance issues on the internet is a far better time investment than doing the zombie and seeing that advert for American Express for the 934th time.

4) Do not believe anyone. Not me, not her, not him. If you’re bearish on a stock, find a bull and listen to why s/he thinks your wrong (and vice versa). Listen to experienced traders and market commentators if you want. Develop respect for some of them if you must, but never trust any of them blindly. Nobody knows all the answers, and if you start deifying these swamis and soothsayers (to use Gary’s phrase) you might find religion at the end of your journey, but there won’t be much cash hanging around to help celebrate enlightenment.

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