Thursday, January 3, 2008

Headline Myths

The price of crude oil touched $100 per barrel briefly yesterday, and the aftermath was interesting. It was clear that the media was dying to run the headline of oil hitting $100, furthering their proof of coming economic disaster, or whatever might get the best ratings. Then we find out that the reason it traded to $100 is because one single trader bought a small lot in order to become the first person to buy $100 oil. He quickly sold at a loss, but succeeded in his goal. Most media outlets won't tell you that this morning though. I understand that $100 is a psychological barrier, but the US consumer has proven that oil prices in this range can be tolerated.

Here's the story on yesterdays $100 trade.

The bigger uncertainty right now is the 2008 Presidential election, and people are nervous because the process starts today. It truly is totally up in the air, and investors don't like uncertainty. After the primary process concludes, things will settle down in that arena for awhile.

The bottom line here is that we can listen to the media, but have to be careful on what news we act upon. Keep in mind that the media is there to get ratings. Negative stories usually grab more attention than positive ones. So if a writer or news anchor has no stake in the price of equities, and they get more ratings when things are negative, guess which way they'd rather see things go? If they truly understood markets, they'd be managing money, bottom line.

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