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Avram Fisher, Founder & Portfolio Manager of Long Cast Advisers, is a former equity analyst at CSFB and BMO covering industrials and business services. He has prior experience in private equity; as a corporate governance analyst; as a writer; reporter and private investigator; and as a lifeguard and busboy (I still clear plates when my kids don't). This blog is an open book of ideas about patient investing and about starting up a small-cap focused RIA. It is part decision-diary, part investment observations and part general musings. Nothing on this blog is a solicitation for business nor a recommendation to buy or sell securities. It is simply a way to organize and share thoughts with an expanding audience of independent, patient and talented small cap investors. www.longcastadvisers.com

Monday, June 16, 2014

my urge to vomit when i watch CNBC

listen to any radio station and every 10-15 minutes you'll hear "the market/S&P/Dow/futures are up/down/flat today." watch TV and the so called '"business news" will report the same. CNBC and Bloomberg were created to track every moment of the market day.

But reporting every 15 minutes on the Dow is as useful for understanding the economy as reporting net deaths and births every 15 minutes is useful for its picture of our population. it's just a lot of noise.

how is it that the direction of an arbitrary and curated market index like the dow or S&P has become such an overwhelming part of our daily conversation?

how is it that this has all become so pervasive yet remains so meaningless? i understand the media's need for soundbites, but so many datapoints can be packaged that are more relevant indicators to the economy ...

- weekly gasoline supplied
- monthly vehicle miles traveled
- average weekly price per click
- weekly rail traffic
- volume or breadth of the market
- number or percentage of stocks hitting new 52-week highs / lows

... the list can be quite creative and endless.

from the media's perspective "the market" is a great way to engage our fear or elation, which sells ads, but there's a harm with equating the market with the economy. people actually mistake one with the other.

when daily changes in the dow or S&P are equated with the economy people can never appreciate the important and occasionally complex issues that impact their jobs, their companies and their household budgets.

as a patient investor, my concern with the market is only relevant for the opportunities it creates to acquire portions of business at a discount to their underlying values. but it should worry everyone with an interest in the long term health of the country that we perpetuate ignorance every 15 minutes of the day.

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