I’m currently reading through “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” by academic Burton Malkiel. While insightful and entertaining, I couldn’t help but notice the author’s adamance that beating the market is a mixture of luck and chance timing.
Malkiel supports his hypothesis by charting returns of successful funds throughout the past three decades versus the average return of common market indices. The star-studded managers with 50%+ returns one year would drop to minute or negative returns the following year(s), balancing out their average returns comparable to a market index.
He also raked technical and fundamental analysts over the coals, claiming they are on the same totem pole as alchemists and weathermen. Throughout the text, Malkiel makes the argument that reading charts and recognizing “patterns” within the market is a technique employed and marketed by brokers to encourage traders to execute more orders, thus producing more commissions. Yes, there is money to be made via trading, but whenever a trader makes money (or loses money), the broker is getting paid.
This book was originally published in 1973, and has since been updated in the early 2000s. What is the status quo on Efficient Market Theory as of 2017? Malkiel quotes Warren Buffett himself stating he [Buffett] would not employ fundamental analysis today, responding that he’d be much better off investing in an index fund and saving his time.
TLDR: What’s the consensus on Efficient Market Theory as it relates to active investing in 2017? Is it even possible to reach a “consensus” as of yet, or will it continue to be controversial until behavioral finance and ‘true’ pattern recognition come to fruition?
Getting a little philosophical here: Is market prediction, say in 500 years, even probable? Will the fact that it exists become just another variable in Efficient Market Theory, allowing for the current stock prices to have already valued this new information?