The Continued Downward Spiral of Yahoo Finance

Yahoo Finance has been on a downward spiral for years. Day by day it just keeps getting worse. There was a time when it was a valid trusted source for stock information. That time has long since past. It was an overnight thing too. One day it was a good and useful site and the next day it looked like something created by “priced right” off-shore teams who knew nothing about investing.

Featured image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Malcolm Berko, may he rest in peace, was one of the best syndicated investment advisors I ever read. He was a big believer in DRIP (Dividend Re-Investment Plans/Programs). He had many good rants about Yahoo Finance but this is probably one of the better ones.

That particular article is also a shining example of why people need to ask their payroll company or their broker about available DRIPs. A short series of posts on here titled Financial Lessons the Pandemic Should Have Taught You made reference to needing a minimum of $35,000 cash-like-but-not-cash safety fund. A DRIP is a good way to create such a fund.

One used to be able to use Yahoo Finance to research dividend paying stocks. Actually to research stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds of all kinds. Now you have to run away from anything posted there.

I’ve waited days to post this, but I’m still pissed off about this article so it is time to post. Not only do they have low grade software running Yahoo Finance, it also provides low grade advice while at the same time contributing to a continually shitty Web experience.

That’s right; Yahoo Finance autoplays video pumping shit you don’t want right down your metered Internet connection. They don’t care if you only have a 1Gig data plan, they are going to suck it all up pushing ads you don’t want at you. Ad-blockers can’t even shut all of them down because most of the content is nothing but an ad.

With Firefox you can kind of fight this fight.

Search for autop in Firefox Settings
Changed to block audio and video

With Opera and Chromium you are screwed. Google wants to push the same worthless ads at you that Yahoo Finance is, so Google took out the setting to block autoplay of video.

At any rate, that article really pissed me off. It is typical of Yahoo Finance content since the change. People who know nothing quoted as experts. They were definitely too young to know anything about J. C. Pennys. I will admit, I bought a few hundred shares when it was still JCPNQ and around a buck. It’s now CPPRQ for those keeping score.

Young people generally aren’t smart enough to realize there is a counter-culture backlash happening against Amazon. Even Facebook has hopped on the band wagon running television ads encouraging people to shop local and keep the money in the community. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world what everyone shopping online at Amazon will do to the world; shuttering local businesses and putting untold millions out of work.

I actually talk quite a bit about Sears, Amazon, and counter culture in my new book The Minimum You Need to Know About the Phallus of AGILE.

The essays you want to read:

  • Software as a Competitive Advantage
  • The Non-Consumer Economy
  • Some Career Advice
  • Your Legacy

You can read some very early and unedited work on the non-consumer economy essay starting with the first of three posts here. The storage/lockup business should tank post-pandemic now that people have learned they don’t need “stuff” they only need a few really good things. It will be a very long time before anything like Pet Rocks or Cabbage Patch Kids appears shiny and new in the marketplace.

What young people don’t realize is that J.C. Penney pioneered catalog-to-store free shipping. They just really screwed it up by having one old person working in the catalog pick-up area that was usually hidden clear in the back (or basement) of the store. Not a rear entrance, you had to go all the way through the store and wait in line.

The really old person couldn’t ever actually lift anything either. There was always someone in front of you who ordered a complete set of dishes or some other equally heavy item and everybody had to wait for someone young and able to answer a call. We all waited because they could only do one transaction at a time.

Another thing people don’t realize is that old people shop at Penney’s. Even a straight single guy like me waits for their “white sale” to buy bedding and usually towels.

Generations of women always got their custom curtains made there. If you had to pinch coins you got them at Sears so you really tried to put it off until you could afford curtains from Penney’s. They were just nicer. I must confess to having bought quite a few curtain sets for various apartments from there over my life, even when I was young. It was both a bit of habit and a bit of women I was dating at the time always getting curtains there.

Probably the last major thing young people don’t realize is that many shopping malls (pre-pandemic) actually opened their main doors around 7am despite officially not opening until 11am. Why? Again, old people. There were regular groups who came in to walk their two miles then grab coffee and a muffin at the food court.

We are talking about retired people with a few health issues and lots of time on their hands. They only walk in malls that have “old people stores” and many of the “old people stores” will open early a couple of days per week to get their fair share of the pension and 401K dollars.

So, a group of shopping mall owners is buying the last shopping mall anchor store in existence. They want to keep the old people walking at 7am and coming in for “white sales.” Even Lord & Taylor is going under and I thought they had high enough margins to ride out anything.

Some shopping malls are trying to re-invent themselves around J.C. Penney, Barnes & Noble, and Target. The Target has to be a full grocer target though. Why? Everybody needs groceries and young people will shop at Target. Old people will shop at Target too, mostly because it is clean. Every Walmart I’ve ever been forced to go into is a filthy disgusting place. I guess when you pay and treat your workers like shit you can’t expect them to clean much.

Walmart – the high cost of low price

This people is why J.C. Penney with real management will turn around. The mall owners know who the target market is. They have/had good jobs, didn’t piss their money away on overpriced stuff from trendy places, and now have substantial retirement accounts. Most have been semi-retired since they turned 50 (if not before). They walk their two miles in the mall every day so they can live until at least 90.

So, the content needs to focus on old people and things for young families.

What? Where did the young families come from?

Grandparents buy a lot of baby clothes, toys, and accessories.

What am I going to do?

To start with I’m going to sit on my few hundred shares until I know for absolute certain they aren’t going to outright screw existing shareholders during the bankruptcy reorganization. Then I’m going to wait for the price to drop to about a nickle and begin slow rolling myself to a 100,000 share position. (As long as I can get the shares for well under a buck!)

Why?

I like Penneys. Lots of people in the 50+ crown like Penneys. I even meet people in the 40+ crowd that like Penneys. The Mall owners have to cling to Penneys for dear life. They have to cater to the token few people that still come into the places; at least until they get back on solid footing. Right now the bulk of the “foot traffic” is old people walking early in the mornings so this “open at the crack of noon” mentality malls have had will have to be done away with immediately if not sooner. Stores will have to open to take advantage of foot traffic when the foot traffic is there.

I would say what my gut tells me the stock should rise to over the next couple of years, but I don’t want anyone quoting me.

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