Tuesday, July 06, 2004

A pointless exercise in money-making

If this were a financial market report you would probably stop believing everything that's being said right about now, since at this point the story is supposed to give a reason for why the market is moving in a particular direction.

I use the present continuous form 'moving' since market reports are written during active trading.

Markets trade continuously. When one market closes another opens. The money never stops flowing. Neither does information. But information can lose it's value as quickly as it was gained. The person who finds the information first can make money from it. Other traders are left guessing and sometimes their instincts can be as reliable as the information itself.

So where does the journalist fit into all of this?

A journalist is supposed to report the facts. These facts are supposed to help explain why prices rise and fall. Better still, they may help to explain why prices may rise or fall in the future. But prices move on information. Where is this information coming from?

Remember, a journalist is not supposed to trade. They must remain neutral observers to the market. This means they won't have ready access to the type of information market participants do. So how can someone who is not in the market know what's moving the market? They ask someone who's in the market. This is where the problems start.

Any single individual in the market, no matter their size, will make darn sure not to reveal their information to other traders. Most important of all, THEY DON'T TELL JOURNALISTS! What they do tell journalists is 1) what they want to tell the journalist and 2) what the journalist wants to hear, i.e. something believable. This is why market reports should not be believed and certainly not traded on.

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