Explaining the Explainers

One of the more fascinating aspects of watching finance is the never-ending stream of explanations for the market’s action. Strategists, news media and economists all engage in a series of tortured rationales for what just happened. These tend to be after-the-fact reasons that are too smug, too pat and too late to be useful, let alone satisfying.

Forget predicting the future, these folks don’t seem to even understand what happened yesterday.

All too often, they seem to be saying nothing more than “I don’t like that!” but lack either the awareness or courage to acknowledge the subtext of what they are saying or writing about.

To protect the not-so-innocent, I won’t point to specific examples.

It would be helpful if there were annotations to the commentary –sort of like VH1’s pop up videos (I’m showing my age). The insight into the authors’ psyche actually is much more valuable than the commentary itself.

Consider, for example, the countless analyses during the past six years about why the market is overvalued, or why it’s a tech bubble or why we’re about to experience  (choose one) a 1929/1987/2000/2008-like crash. It would have been a huge time saver if a popup explained:

“I missed the bottom and have been unable to find a good way to get into equities!”

It would be helpful if every time there is a complex merger or acquisition, analysts would simply admit that the accounting and tax benefits are somewhat beyond their expertise. “Maybe the deal is a money saver, maybe it isn’t, but in the 27 minutes since it was announced, I simply don’t know.” Of course, then they wouldn’t have a self-promoting reason to discuss it on television.

 

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