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Dow(n) and up

Your Humble Blogger has for years been amused, and on occasion exasperated, by the news reporting that the stock market has gone up or down because of some particular news. The stock market, of course, is an agglomeration of millions of individual transactions; it speaks with one voice only because that makes it easier to understand the story of what happened. And to a certain extent, it is very reasonable to think that a close observer of the market could interpret the agglomeration of voices, the trends, the statistics, to come up with an issue that was driving enough of those choices to be a helpful analysis. But at the end of the day, to say that the Market was Down on worries about inflation, or that the new numbers on consumer confidence had driven the Market Up, well I’m not saying those things are absolutely incorrect, I’m just saying they aren’t facts. They are analysis, and should be identified that way, so when you listen to the news, you aren’t lulled into thinking that they are reporting facts.

I was reminded of this, as y’all have probably guessed, by today’s roller-coaster ride, which I of course found out about only after it was all over. But I was able to see headlines that said that the Dow had plunged 9% on fears about the Greek debt situation. And then headlines that said that some schmuck at Citigroup had typed in a b instead of a m and sold a thousand times more thousands of thousands of shares of something or other than he meant to. Which, not doubt, he did because of his fears about the Greek debt situation. Or her fears. It’s a stereotype, I know; lots of women have gambling addictions.

And, you know, that Citigroup story may be false, utterly false, a rumor with no basis in fact whatsoever. And Greece really does have a debt crisis, so there’s that.

My point, if I really need one, is that (a) that habit of reporting, or rather “reporting” is an obvious embarrassment to the financial press and I am bemused by its continuing practice, and (2) hee hee, somebody’s typo cost Citigroup a million bucks. Oh, also? Corporate capitalism is some fucked-up shit. But I think I’ve said that before.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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