FOR MORE than two decades, my TV has been tuned to CNBC almost all day long every weekday.
Most of the time, I am in my office working or outside doing some chore and not really paying any attention to what is happening on this cable channel, but it is blaring just the same.
But when I am watching, I often shake my head and wonder why I am putting myself through such torture.
It’s not that CNBC and other similar financial channels are not quality networks, but rather that the people they present as guest “experts” make you want to run for the hills if you are an investor.
You would think that these men and women, who work for large brokerage companies and are the guardians of individual investments and 401Ks, would be an optimistic group.
Quite the contrary. Most are pessimistic to the point of being paranoid. Talk about a group of Chicken Littles! Every single day, these high-powered brokers predict the end of the financial world as we know it.
One day, it is trade negotiations with China that will bring the stock market down. And the next day, it is the possibility of inflation that is the primary concern.
Worry! Wall Street is just one big ball of worry. A new financial tragedy is looming just down the road! I just know it! The market will crash and all will be lost!
Good news is bad news. Yes, the economy is doing extremely well right now, but it cannot sustain this pace. I know the unemployment rate is at a record low, but companies may now be in trouble because they soon may not be able to find enough workers.
It is as if someone asked you how you are feeling and you replied, “I feel wonderful.” A stockbroker’s response would likely be, “Well, I don’t want to buy into you because if you’re feeling good today, you’ll probably be in the hospital tomorrow.”
It never seems to occur to these experts that a person or a company can feel good two days in a row.
These people get all upset when automobile sales are great one year and then fall off a little the next. Are they idiots? Don’t they understand that the vast majority of Americans don’t buy a new vehicle every year?
If car sales are unusually high one year, it is only reasonable to assume that they will be down a bit the next year. But that doesn’t mean that the automobile company is not still a good investment.
Housing starts were down in January. Better be wary of the building industry.
In January, there was 10 feet of snow on the ground in Buffalo and the ground was frozen to a depth of three feet in Minnesota. How is a contractor going to start building a house under those conditions? Use a little common sense, folks. It will all even out when warm weather arrives.
The sale of iPhones falls a bit and, to hear the experts, you would think that Apple, with untold billions of dollars in the bank, is about to go out of business. Ridiculous.
Can’t anyone look on the bright side? If the economy is doing well, enjoy the moment. If the oil market is down, don’t worry about your Exxon–Mobil stock. Think of all the money you’re saving at the gas pump.
Not the experts on Wall Street. Good is bad and bad is even worse. The sky can’t stay up there forever. The Federal Reserve can prop it up only so many times. Sooner or later, it is bound to fall and you’d better be in cash when it does.
Well, if I should be in cash, why are you trying to get me to invest my money in stocks?
Many of the big swings in market averages are due to brokers—and individuals—going nuts over some problem that may not even exist. Some expert predicts a crisis and the financial world thinks he really knows what he is talking about.
They say you have to have a strong stomach to be in the stock market, but you have to have an even stronger stomach to invest your money and then watch the financial channels every day.
I watch because CNBC keeps me in touch with the world throughout the day. As for these “experts,” these talking heads, well, I pay them no mind. If I am informed, I know as much as they do—sometimes more.
I just watch them make their doom-and-gloom predictions and then watch them take their briefcases and make the return 50-mile trip home.
And I wonder if they stop and consult their psychiatrists on the way. New York shrinks must make a fortune assuring high-powered Wall Street brokers that the sky is really not falling.
But these assurances don’t stop financial experts from conjuring up a new crisis tomorrow.
That’s the nature of the game.