An interesting list of favored stocks as of year end 1928 appears in Common Stocks and the Average Man by George Frederick, 1930.

Allis-Chalmers , American Can , Atlantic Refining , Fleishmann Co , General Motors , Liggett and Myers B , Montgomery Ward , Paramount , Famous Lasky , US Steel , Woolworth .

These were recommended for buy and hold, and the kind for George Baker, who made more in one day than all the gold miners in history, with his method of buying good stocks and holding them and living on interest. It is interesting to note, that as far as I can see, almost all of them went bankrupt or close to the same in the next 90 years.

The book by Frederick and the comparable one by Ralph Badger, a professor at Brown, (Badger on Investment Principles and Practices, 950 pages), although not 100 years old are both highly recommended as being much better and much more helpful than the average treatise of today, or 30 years ago, especially those like Graham and Dodd.

Steve Ellison adds: 

From the same era, I reviewed The Art of Speculation by Philip Carret on the dailyspec a few years ago. At the time I wrote the review, the phenomenon of "stocks carrying themselves" had not occurred in nearly 50 years, but that bullish condition did occur beginning in late 2008 and has been in effect ever since, as evidenced by the backwardation in S&P 500 futures. As Mr. Carret wrote, "Borrowed money is the lifeblood of speculation."

Jim Sogi writes:

I remember as a young kid my savings account at Seaman's Saving Bank paid 5%. I had a ceramic savings container for coins that was a merchant seaman in whites of the era. I vaguely recall that my stocks also normally yielded about a 5% dividend. My father's advice at the time was to use your rear not your head, and sit on the stocks. That must have been in the late 50's.

Funny thing is now, again, dividends seem almost attractive with SP yielding over 2%. Some utilities are yielding 4.5% and don't seem to have the volatility of bonds nor industrials.

Gary Rogan adds: 

It seems like the SP yield is way below its historical norms, so while
it has been rising it has a long way to go to make it all that

Of course given what "they" have done to the fixed yields they are
pretty attractive but sooner or later as we all can feel the fixed
yields will not stay low or negative even in Denmark and Switzerland
forever.  If they find a way to leave the dividend taxes alone, no doubt
sooner or later the yields will come back to historical averages, so I
don't think SP is attractive on that basis.  I do firmly believe in
sitting on stocks for a long time.  The point that was recently made
about all the old favorites having gone BK has a counterpoint: if you
diversify enough into high yield stocks, a small but noticeable
percentage of them will be bought out every year and that combined with
the stream of dividends will overcome the BK factor over the years.

As far as the bank savings accounts are concerned, I remember fondly how the banks and s & l's were engaged in a rhetorical war over, was it, 1/8th of a percent mandated difference? "You could spend that 1/8th of a point crossing town" was what one commercial said. It's pretty crazy how they "deregulated" the banks but left this one innocuous little Fed behind the scenes and now all savings yields are 0 and all the banks of note are TBTF. To me the moral of the story has always been: if you have FDIC in place all "deregulation" is a joke, but somehow the joke isn't funny to those guys and they don't like talking about moral hazards. You don't even get toasters these days.





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1 Comment so far

  1. Anonymous on June 5, 2012 2:10 am

    My hypothesis is that feninism with its exaggerated reaction in the opposite extreme is partially to blame for flexionicism and current excesses facing the financial markets. Male participants are at the mercy of females and drove up prices of houses (nests). Why not? I think it’s a reasonable hypothesis.


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