Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fantasy Finance Sends Unwelcome Message To Investors

I can't let the Yahoo Fantasy Finance stock trading game go without a mention.  Games like this send the wrong message to the retail investing community because they encourage investors to ignore their normal risk profiles and go for risk-seeking short-term returns.  Adding in cash prizes as a superficial incentive makes it worse.  The few who win this game in the short time it will play out will be emboldened to keep playing it with their actual portfolios.  I believe such behavior will do a disservice to investors who should really seek low-cost, long term ways to participate in equity markets.

Professional hedge fund managers have poor enough track records compared to market indexes.  Ordinary investors won't do themselves any favors by mimicking hedgies' temperaments on a smaller scale.  Tempting retail investors with day-trading riches is like playing with fire in an environment when risky loans to subprime borrowers are back in vogue and the continuing financial crisis in Europe adds extreme risk to American capital markets.  I'm not playing any fantasy stock game.  I'd rather preserve my real portfolio.

Full disclosure:  No position in YHOO at this time.