These Companies Have Been Bad Bets Since The 90’s Ended

The best days for Microsoft (MSFT), Walmart (WMT), and Dell (DELL) are long gone. These stocks were once great growth stocks that turned some long time  investors into millionaires in the past. Since 1999 these stocks have still received the same hype from their earlier growth days but have left investors with little to no return.

How long has it been since these stocks were relevant? Let’s take a look at a few things that were happening when these companies were showing their shareholders the money.

  • Family Guy was airing on television and no one was watching. The show was soon to be canceled before making a comeback in the mid 2000’s.
  • Nissan introduced is Japanese sportscar, the 300 ZX into the American market. The car has entered, exited, and re-entered the market since then. (I thought that these cars were the greatest things on the road growing up.)
  • Movie series like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th were still in their original runs. They have been rehashed, remade, and redone since then.
  • The portable CD player was the method of choice for listening to music. The iPod was yet to be heard from and you could still find some people listening to their walkmans.
  • The city of Los Angeles actually had a professional football team. You could argue that the entire state of California still does not have one with the play of the 49ers and the Raiders over the last decade.
  • In 1998, for the only time ever in his career Peyton Manning threw more interceptions than touchdowns. Number 18 threw 28 interceptions and just 26 touchdowns. Things have change a lot since then.
  • The whole country was wrapped up in the Beanie Babies craze. People everywhere were fascinated with collecting those little stuffed animals.
  • Seinfeld was the king of network television. Sitcoms used to be the most popular television programs. Today, reality television has taken over as the most popular type of program. American Idol has been number 1 in rankings for six straight seasons.
  • Microsoft was shooting up the NASDAQ the last time that the 8 ball leather jacket and Mom jeans were popular with the masses. In fairness to those product makers, there were a number of questionable fashion choices during that decade.
  • In the late 90’s, dial up Internet access was the big thing. AOL was the king of Internet service providers. If you were on the Net then you were using AOL. I can still hear that annoying scratchy sounds that I would get while waiting to connect.

So, you are probably thinking, whats my point? My point is that you should forget about investing in these companies for growth, look elsewhere.  If you want serious growth then find yourself a small cap superstar. I would rather take a chance on a younger company like Blackboard (BBBB) or hhgregg (HGG) than expect too much from these maturing companies. Microsoft and Walmart will soon be good dividend stocks but the capital appreciation days are long gone. Dell is just a mess that investors should stay away from.

Disclsoure: I do own shares of Blackboard.


  1. Ah nostalgia! Reminds me of the song, The Last Ten Years by Kenny Rogers!

  2. Very nice post! Leads us back to some kind of “good old days” but also remembers us that things has changed and will continue to. Indeed, we should look upon younger investments and also more dynamic ones (they were VERY dynamic in those days, but are not so much anymore).

Leave a Reply