What Balanced Market Reporting Looks Like

Someone sent me an FT headline to show me that my WSJ postmisses the mark.” To demonstrate that it wasn’t just the WSJ that succumbed to political bias, I was referred to this FT article: Investors fret over Obama’s bank assault.

Not quite as egregious as the WSJ’s New Bank Rules Sink Stocks, but certainly worth investigating.

Would I have to add the FT to our growing collection of media criticism (WSJ and NYT). I went to the link and read the article. It turns out no. Consider this context within the FT piece:

The Market Eye

“Let’s keep this in perspective. The US stock market advances 70 per cent from its lows in less than 11 months, leading some to claim the rally is overdone. Support for riskier assets from a falling dollar is whipped away as the buck shows evidence of reversing its trend decline. Signs emerge that China, the engine of global growth, is overheating and may require a risky application of the brakes. Concerns increase that a number of European countries are teetering on the fiscal precipice. And the US earnings season delivers a response from traders that suggests all the good news is already baked in.

With all this going on, it was perhaps surprising that stocks were hovering near 15-month highs as recently as Tuesday. They were ripe for a pull-back, and unexpected (?) events such as the Obama banking proposals provide a wonderful excuse.

But this is a banking thing. The idea that the New Wall Street, should it come to pass, will restrict economic activity sounds like spin emanating from the canyons of lower Manhattan. Equities are just 3.5 per cent below those recent peaks.”

That, dear readers, is what an intelligent, partisan-free, market diascussion looks like. That balance is precisely what was missing from the front page WSJ article.

Those of you who are partisans, I can only tell you that in my experience, mixing politics with investing is both foolhardy and expensive.

Look around at who made money during the “Obama Rally:” I know a disproportionate number of the people who missed this 70% market spike leaned Republican. But stupidity knows no party affiliation, and after the 2003 George W. Bush trillion dollar tax cut was passed, there was also a huge rally — and many of the ones who missed that one leaned Democratic. This is no coincidence — it is a function of bias and selective perception and an investing strategy co-opted by politics.

Perhaps this helps explain to everyone else why balanced financial reporting is so helpful to investors . . .

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Previously:
WSJ Jumps the Shark (January 22, 2010)
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/01/wsj-jumps-the-shark

The WSJ Responds (January 22, 2010)
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/01/wsj-another-view/

Source:
Investors fret over Obama’s bank assault
Jamie Chisholm
FT, January 22 2010
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/59a631a8-0720-11df-a9b7-00144feabdc0.html

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