Posts Tagged ‘media’

Truth-teller in the news media

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

In our previous article, Example of vested interest groups undermining the economic interest of others, we expressed our scepticism on the mainstream news media to report in the best economic interest of their readers. But there is at least one journalist who dares to step on the tails of vested interests. In Rents will rise regardless of rates, Ross Gittins wrote that:

We’ve heard it suggested a lot lately that, since many landlords have borrowed to buy the homes they let, any interest rate increase they suffer will be quickly passed on to their tenants.

We’ve heard it suggested, but is it true? No it isn’t. The line that whenever businesses’ costs go up they just pass them on to their customers – known as the cost-plus theory of prices – isn’t economics, it’s just business propaganda.

For a start, ask yourself why, if businesses can pass on their cost increases so easily, they still complain so much about those increases? Why should they care?

In truth, business people know they can’t pass on cost increases so readily, but claim to be able to do it in the hope of eliciting their customers’ support in their efforts to persuade governments to prevent the increases.

How much should we listen to the financial media?

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

Let’s take a look at this media report in The Australian (released in the afternoon):

THE stock market was down at noon as concerns about a slowing US economy kept local resource stocks at bay despite a recovery in commodity prices overnight.

Now, look at this media report in MarketWatch (released in the morning after the overnight market close in the US):

U.S. stocks rose Wednesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average stretching to a fresh record close after surprising strength in a regional survey eased economic worries, with further help from Altria Group Inc. and Boeing Co. and news of a possible merger in the airline sector.

So, the question is, is the US economy going to be all right or is it heading for recession? The US market and the Aussie market seem to think differently. But which market?s thinking is right?

We believe that to be a successful investor, one has to filter out noise in the financial media. You have to understand that the market is the herd and the herd possess herd mentality. If you ask a member of the herd the reason why it is behaving the way it is, you will probably not get an answer based on clear logical reasoning?basically it is behaving that way because other members of the herd are doing the same. The financial media, in order to sell their stories, have to come up with specific ?reasons? for every of the herd?s behaviour even though at times, there may not be one.

The next question: who leads the herd to behave that way?

In the market, there is one group of participants who are called the traders. They have an influence in the day-to-day movement and volatility in the market. Many of these traders use technical analysis as a tool in their trading decision. The basic premise of technical analysis is that market price movements exhibit repeatable patterns, which are used to gauge the probability of future price movements. What do you think will happen if enough market participants use technical analysis? Well, the result is herd behaviour in which technical analysis becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! So, when you hear words like “technical selling” in the financial media, you know what it means.

Thus, always read the financial media with a pinch of salt.