Fashion is made to become unfashionable.
Or, as the legendary financier Sir James Goldsmith has said, "If you see a bandwagon, it's too late."
In the late 1990s, there was no more fashionable bandwagon for investors than Firsthand Technology Value fund. It returned 23.7% in 1998, but investors really piled into it after it rocketed an incredible 190.4% in 1999. But by then, the bust of 2000 was about to unfold, and Firsthand was soon to become as passé as plaid trousers. The result was a chilling example of the perils of following the herd: While the fund posted a respectable 16% annualized gain over the four years through 2001, the average shareholder in the fund actually lost more than 31.6% a year.