Savvy financial trend-spotter Barry Ritholtz rightly points out that using a single cover article as a contrarian company trading indicator (e.g., “Sell Apple, they made the cover of Time!”) is generally misguided. After all, he argues, which one of the many following Apple covers would you trade off? Instead, he focuses on macro trends and when those hit the cover (e.g., “Buy real estate now!”) then that is contrarian.
I don’t disagree with Barry, but I would refine things and say that even for macro trends trade covers are not useful contrarian market indicators of anything. Basically, it’s the big five: Time, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, Fortune, and Forbes.