In Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Taleb (also wrote The Black Swan), an ex options trader, tells of how he keeps CNBC running in his office, but always muted. He jibes at how utterly ridiculous the talking heads appear when the sound’s turned off—and how ludicrous the notion that they have any clue whatsoever. To him the financial networks are pure entertainment, nothing more. Oh how I relate.
The last few days have delivered a surprising snapback in stock prices. And, with the sound off, I see the blokes (faces contorted and hands waiving), who were short the market last week, struggling desperately to either justify why this is yet another head-fake, or why, when they were bullish back in May, they were in fact right all along.
Beware the newsletter writers as well. Just the other day, one of the better ones (when he’s not predicting market direction), who’s been decidedly bearish, surprised me with words to the effect; ‘in spite of my bearish tone, I am indeed optimistic and presently aggressive with my own portfolio.’ I’m thinking “Wow! Some other clueless (as to market direction) prognosticator must have reminded this gent just how cheap (by several metrics) stocks look, how much idle liquidity exists, and how a little news out of Europe could (maybe) send the market off and running.”
My the damage (to his market-timing followers) an articulate extrovert analyst with a global audience can do.