The Web Makes It Harder to Read Market Sentiment
The internet swept away the old-school financial pundits, turning the public forum into the Wild West.
Bloomberg June 16, 2017
In the best of all worlds, numbers do the talking for me. Most of the time, there is enough hard data so we can avoid the squishy anecdotal stories that so often lead people astray. This can at times be challenging.
I was discussing this recently in the office. My colleague Josh Brown wrote a post looking at how stocks kept going up, yet hardly anyone was celebrating. I blamed the online commentariat.
How we share and consume opinions has changed radically thanks to the internet. This, contrary to what you might expect, has made measuring market sentiment much harder.
I am a ‘tweener — old enough to remember the pre-internet era, but young enough to have embraced the new connectivity. Some of the youngsters out there may not be fully aware of how much some things have changed, and will continue to change. As someone who toils in the public sphere, making comments, criticisms (and, dare I say it, the occasional forecast), I am especially cognizant of how opinion gets disseminated today.
Consider the bad old days of limited media outlets, with their old-school gatekeepers. If you go back just a few decades, there were a handful of newspapers and magazines covering business and investments. Louis Rukeyser’s “Wall Street Week,” a program carried Friday evenings for 32 years on public television, was pretty much it for financial TV. Bloomberg radio hadn’t yet been invented.
The punditry mostly consisted of a handful of approved fund managers, strategists or economists. They went to the right schools; they worked at the right firms; they belonged to the right clubs. This wasn’t an especially diverse group, demographically, or otherwise. Perhaps most noteworthy, this community was answerable to clients (or those who serviced clients).
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