Monday, 6 July 2009

Caveat emptor

At home sick today, so in lieu of proper blogging here's a rather cynical snippet from this:
"Wall Street makes a lot of money selling stocks, and it prospers by having a set of highly paid individuals whose primary role is to make public statements to the effect that the prices of the shares of individual firms will increase; they're like the shills in front of the side-shows at carnivals whose role is to persuade the public to buy tickets to see the sword swallowers and the hermaphrodites. Stocks increase in price twice as often as they fall in price, so that even without any special skills the odds are that the 'market strategists' will be right twice as often as they are wrong. The market strategists typically are reluctant to indicate that stock prices as a group will decline and very rarely suggest that the stock of an individual firm will decline (because the top executives of that firm would become furious and threaten to never bring any underwriting business to the investment bank again). If stock prices decline when the pitch has been that they will increase and the touts become an embarrassment to their employers, well they've been well paid and they're expendable and, hey, it's business. It's not had to find replacements."    

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