Pay No Attention to the Crazy Man on TV
I have made several previous posts about Jim Cramer, check here and here, and have suggested people should watch Jim Cramer for entertainment purposes, not for serious investment advice. Slate Magazine's Henry Blodget has a new article about Cramer, where he suggests that Jim Cramer "has committed professional suicide," by admitting that he engaged in trading practices that are questionable at best, possibly illegal?
Aside from those potentially serious ethical and legal issues, an even more important question might be: How well did the performance of a portfolio of Mr. Cramer's stock picks in 2006 stack up against a portfolio of passive index funds? Unfortunately for Cramer's followers, not very well.
According to Mad Money Machine, the return in 2006 for a portfolio of mostly Vanguard Index funds was +20.6%, compared to a -0.20% loss for a portfolio of "Select Jim Cramer Featured Stocks." A $100,000 investment at the beginning of the year would have grown to $120,612 by the end of 2006, compared to only $99,805 for Cramer's picks (see chart above, click to enlarge).
Bottom Line: Watch Cramer for entertainment purposes only, call Vanguard or Fidelity for investment advice on index funds. Or read "Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing," by economist Burton Malkiel, who is a strong advocate of index funds.