Friday, June 11, 2010

Funny - The Mainstream Media

Dear Readers,

When it comes to investing and markets, there are so many available media - electronic media, financial newspapers, websites, newsletters and blogs to name a few. The most popular of these are electronic media, websites and newspapers. Almost all of us who have interest in stock markets and access to internet are well aware of Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg etc and look at these websites for market quotes as well as what's happening around. The question is not how good or bad the content there is, it is how funny one portal is than others are.

Usually there are quotes of most important of US Indexes - Dow Jones, Nasdaq and S&P 500 and also that of Crude Oil, Gold and 10 Year Bond Yield (Yahoo Finance example). Then, there are news items led by 'headline news'. I almost always find these 'news' funny - not because there is some inherent humorous content, but because the 'explanation' along with these 'news' items. For example, a headline or listed news looks like this - "Stocks jump as investors are cheered with *xyz* data". Notice there are two important clauses in that sentence, the 'news' clause ("Stocks jump" in this example) and then 'cause behind it' clause usually following "as". It is this judgement of cause that makes them funny. Now look at this screenshot :

Look at the indexes - Dow and S&P are about a third of a percent down and Nasdaq is slightly up in green. Now, read the "TOP STORIES" and particularly the 'headline' - "Stocks pare losses as consumer sentiment jumps most in 2.5 years - AP". So this means AP reports WHY stocks 'pare' losses after an initial drop after opening. That reason happens to be a 'jump in consumer confidence'. Then we go ahead and read first listed news below the headline - "retail sales drop by most in 8 months". So, this is what that caused that initial 'drop' and if you had looked at this portal just two hours back, then indeed it was the headline, not as 'news', but as the CAUSE of that 'drop'!

Now whats happening here! First there is this 'drop in retail sales' and then there is a 'jump in consumer sentiment' ! How come these two things coexist at the same time? If retail sales are dropping then it can't be 'high consumer sentiment'.

Well, dear readers, I did not attempt to criticize either the portal or the news providers, I simply put forward the funny thing that emerges out and confuses common readers. I guess the associated reporters feel compelled to associate 'causes' behind market movements, but, mostly what that ends up doing is make us laugh. Let me be clear here, this is not exclusive to websites, this is actually a norm and electronic media (particularly CNBC) is way ahead sometimes on the 'fun meter'.

UPDATE AFTER ABOUT 30 MINUTES
I found it most interesting to post the changed screenshot just after about half an hour. Dear readers, look at it, read it and then compare to above post and find out even funnier one.

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