Mining Fool's Gold

Posted: 24 Apr 1999

See all articles by Grant Richard McQueen

Grant Richard McQueen

Brigham Young University - Department of Business Management

Steven Thorley

BYU Marriott School of Business

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Abstract

We investigate the popular Motely Fool Foolish Four portfolio as a case study in data mining--the practice of developing trading strategies by searching through data bases for correlations and patterns. The performance of the Foolish Four portfolio is documented and used to illustrate the mistaken inferences that can plague any investment research project. Using the Foolish Four case study, we show that data mining can be detected by the complexity of the trading rule, the lack of a coherent story or theory, the performance of out-of-sample tests, and the adjustment of returns for risk, transaction costs, and taxes. Finally, we document that the Foolish Four and Dow Ten trading rules have become popular enough to influence selected stock prices at the turn of the year.

JEL Classification: G14, G11, C10

Suggested Citation

McQueen, Grant R. and Thorley, Steven, Mining Fool's Gold. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=158230

Grant R. McQueen (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University - Department of Business Management ( email )

TNRB 636
Provo, UT 84602
United States
801-422-3017 (Phone)

Steven Thorley

BYU Marriott School of Business ( email )

616 TNRB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
United States
801-378-6065 (Phone)
801-378-5984 (Fax)

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