Hands up if you had Southwestern Energy.
No? How about XTO Energy? Range Resources? Precision Castparts?
You should have. These were top stocks of the decade in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. Ten years ago, the smartest thing you could have done with your money was to invest in these. Each $1,000 invested then would be worth tens of thousands today.
Now look at the stocks the experts told you to buy instead.
The most widely recommended -- according to a quick survey at the time in the Washington Post -- were America Online, Cisco Systems, Qualcomm, MCI WorldCom, Lucent Technology and Texas Instruments.
Any people who invested in that portfolio have lost about two-thirds of their money. The average stock picked at random was up 3%, including dividends.
Money Magazine's "The Best Investments for 2000 and Beyond": down about a fifth.
The SmartMoney/Wall Street Journal Sunday picks fell by about a half. The list was heavily weighted toward technology, and most stocks plummeted. MCI WorldCom and Nortel Networks ended up in Chapter 11.
OK, it's easy to poke fun. But it's something to think about -- especially around this time of year, when wise men once again come bearing stock tips.Continue Reading.