Cheap Vices Virtues For Investors After The Recession

Invest in petty vices.

Looking back at which industries had solid gains after the crash of ’29 that set off The Great Depression, the WSJ found that one clear standout were the makers of “cigarettes, cigars and tobacco, sugar and confectionery products, and fats and oils.” While many industries were the tank, the companies in these industries gained between between 1.6% and 7.5% annually (however, the gains weren’t seen until the fourth year after the crash, when the market came back 54%). Even when times are tough, people will still find room to indulge in those cheap fast and dirty gratifications.

1930s Lessons: Brother, Can You Spare a Stock? [WSJ] (Photo:™)


Edit Your Comment

  1. unajuaner says:

    I invested in mace just before society crumbled.

  2. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    mmmm … fats and oils. Thanks, Consumerist, now I want carnie food!

    • Beerad says:

      @Eyebrows McGee: Carnie food? I hope you mean “food I can get at carnivals” like corn dogs and funnel cakes, and not “food that carnies eat.” Because I imagine that would consist of cigarette butts, broken bottles, and used chewing gum.

  3. opsomath says:

    if I finish my PhD and can’t find a job, I’m opening a bar. first drink for consumerist readers is free!

  4. alexburrito says:

    Other industries not on the NYSE: prostitution, bootlegging, moonshining, mob-bossing. All growth industries.

    • t-r0y says:

      @alexburrito: The U.S. Government is now the #1 growth industry!

      I’m not sure how to make a buck on it though — they’re growing, but they’ve got shitting returns. Hmm, must be ‘management’.

  5. TracyHamandEggs says:

    Also helps that those manufacturers are the sources of cheap proteins, sugars and stimulants.

    McDonalds and Hershey will thrive because folks scale back on high end and still want the brief rush that the stuff can provide.

    I dont see Tobacco going up though, since governments all over just keep cranking up the taxes.

  6. hypnotik_jello says:

    government should legalize and tax it and that’ll help solve their deficit issues.

  7. DjDynasty says:

    If they allowed smoking everywhere like they did in the 50’s & 60’s like the grochery store!!! We’d have more people dying faster solving all the budget concerns in Social Security!

  8. DjDynasty says:

    TransFat & Cigarettes FTW!

  9. CthulhuRlyeh says:

    Just as Ozymandias predicted!
    We need to invest in baby food, people.

  10. Rhayader says:

    This is not a surprise at all. If we could track it, I’m sure we would see a similar resistance to recession with illicit drugs, gambling, and prostitution.

    People like to feel good; no economic conditions will change that at all.

  11. Dennis says:

    “Of course, some of the industries in the [Center for Research in Security Prices] CRSP sample scarcely exist today. It doesn’t do us much good to learn that we could have earned a 5.9% annualized return by investing in leather tanning and finishing stocks, for example.”

    Interesting article nonetheless — now if I could only find where I put those cigarettes and pork rinds…

  12. IT-Chick says:

    Well I know I’ve been drinking more. I keep a bottle of tequila at my desk just for those special moments.

  13. katieoh says:

    i work at a liquor store [okay, technically for the state of PA, thanks state-owned liquor!] and i know i have just about the safest job on the planet. unless someone chooses to hold us up, which is a bad idea because they will face the wrath of the whole state.

    thank god for vices.

  14. admiral_stabbin says:

    Based on the article…I think I’ll go invest every dime I’ve got into “Leather Tanning and Finishing”.

    Yum…tanned and finished leather. :-)

  15. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    Tell that to the vice fund (VICEX) part of my 401k is invested in…

    /down almost 50% in the last year

  16. proskills says:

    I think I will invest in Ben and Jerry’s. Everyone loves some good ice cream with a crazy name to make them feel better.

  17. savdavid says:

    Good, at least you can die fat and happy as you go broke.

  18. dvdchris says:

    Nobody mentioned pornography, which is featured in the photo.

  19. Hands says:

    I’ve spent years cultivating my vices. I resent the implication that any of them could be petty.