How Did Wall Street’s “Smartest Investors” Fare in 2018?

By Jay Mooreland via

Every year Barron’s gets together a roundtable of “Wall Street’s Smartest Investors” to make stock picks for the coming year. I honestly don’t know what makes them the “smartest”, but one thing I can tell you – it isn’t performance.

2018 Scorecard

In early 2018, Barron’s had nine experts recommend securities they believed would outperform the market. The group made a total of 49 recommendations. The worst portfolio of recommendations by an analyst ended up losing 29%. The best was up 10%. If you had invested in the Smart Investor Index (invested equally across all 49), you would have lost 11.4%.

This compares to a total return performance of the S&P 500 of -4.4%. That is some significant underperformance! I am not even sure a dart throwing chimp (or a group of them) could match that underperformance. Actually – that would be a worthy experiment. It could be “World’s Smartest Investors” versus “A Random Sampling of Chimps”.

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