2014 in Review: Hot or Not?

We introduced the “Hot or Not” segment last year as a lighthearted way to break down important themes for individual investors. Rather than looking at page views or ratings, we want to review economic, market, and public policy themes that could help you most in the new year.

In this illustrated review of the year, the “Hot” (or profitable) items will appear on the left, while the “Not” (or disappointing) corollary appears on the right. We hope you have as much fun reading as we did putting the list together.

siegel v hussman

Jeremy Siegel used a relatively simple method to predict (accurately) that we’d end the year right around DOW 18k. On the other hand, John Hussman’s complex modeling may have had a little too much elbow grease.

consumers v producers

OPEC’s price war has been successful in straining American producers – but the average consumer isn’t the least bit concerned.

krushcheva v putin

Putin ends 2014 with his nation more isolated on the world scale, and a currency facing rapid devaluation. The granddaughter of the former shoe-pounding premier continues to enjoy considerable success as a writer and analyst.

shark tank v kudlow

The record high ratings for CNBC’s “Shark Tank” – particularly among young people – suggest a sense of optimism and faith in American innovators. Meanwhile, Larry Kudlow’s slant had a narrowing audience.

gundlach v gross

Bill Gross’s dramatic exit from Pimco at the end of September came as a huge shock. Jeffrey Gundlach is set to begin a new year as the “King of Bonds.”

journalistic entrepreneurs v enrollments

While enrollment in journalism schools has fallen for the past two years, wonks like Ezra Klein and Nate Silver appear to be thriving after striking out on their own.

washington v washington

Approval ratings for Washington institutions remain stuck near all-time record lows. On the upside, the capital city’s baseball team enjoyed their best season ever – winning the NL East Division by 17 games.

yellen v critics

Last year we wondered if Janet Yellen would be batting cleanup in 2014. To the dismay of her many critics, QE3 is over and the sky has not fallen. As for Ben Bernanke – it turns out it pays well to be the the former Fed chair.

Have some ideas of your own? Great! We welcome all nominations and suggestions in the comments section below. Thank you for reading, and have a happy new year!

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  • barbara foell January 1, 2015  

    Thanks, Jeff.

    Most interesting for me was your inclusion of Nina Khrushcheva, and the link for more information…more diversionary reading!

    kind regards


    • oldprof January 1, 2015  

      I have seen her on several shows. She has a lot of interesting writing, as I’m sure you discovered:)


  • Ron Hochuli January 1, 2015  

    Hauoli Makahiki Ho–Happy New Year Jeff. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. Your balanced view is insightful and helps place events in perspective. You have earned the trust and appreciation of a wide audience. I for one am most grateful. Wishing you continued good health, prosperity, and success in 2015. Ron