Market Rhetoric



A few quick words about recent market action and the accompanying chatter:

The 3-month S&P500 chart (above) shows a modestly choppy market, which I guess these days counts as an uptick in volatility. At least, when compared to the steady upward move since March 20020.

I don’t usually pay much attention to television or market commentary but I spent more time than usual watching + reading the past few weeks out of curiosity as to what was being said.

The nicest thing I can say is I still retain the capacity to be surprised. On rare occasions, someone with a credible investment process and a good track record appeared to say something of value. I was struck by how impossible it must be for the average reader/viewer/listener to discern who was worth listening to or not.

My interest in information theory and rhetoric led to a few observations:

– Everybody is fantastic at explaining what just happened; if only they had the capacity to warn us about it beforehand;

– I do not understand why pundits do not say “I don’t know” in those rare cases when they don’t know.

– How much of what we see as specific sector or macroeconomic breaking news is already reflected in market prices?

– When asked a factual question, you should proffer a factual answer; if you are giving an opinion or making a forecast, you should make that clear.

– There is nothing wrong with saying “My expertise is in “X,” and I have little insight to add about “Y.”

– 12+ hours a day of broadcast is a lot of air to fill. Viewers must determine for themselves what is truly relevant to their long-term holdings.

– It may be news to you but it is pretty old to the players in that particular space.

– As a guest, you have no obligation to answer stupid questions; bonus points if you point out a stupid question without the anchor realizing.

– It is amazing how much of what feels super important in the moment turns out to be not important at all.

I understand that half of the financial industry and the ecosystem that surrounds it is built on seeing patterns in randomness. But that does not mean anyone needs to pretend to know everything or claim to foretell the future.

Enjoy the weekend, it looks to be spectacular…




Reduce the noise levels in your investment process (November 9, 2013)

Re-Engineer Your Media Diet (February 2, 2017)

What Is the VIX Telling Us? (Apocalypse Now as a Teachable Moment) (March 12, 2020)

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