Broker Check

Beware of Financial Media Bias

| February 07, 2018
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Did you see the market headlines from Monday?  Stocks dropped over 4%.  Significant but not unheard of.  Here was the headline:

"Biggest one-session point decline on record..." is the subheading, with 1,100 points in bold print.  Nowhere does it mention that we would expect large point moves on an average that is higher than it's ever been!  Nor does it mention that the percentage decline (-4.6%) isn't even one of the 100 largest moves in history.  That's not as click-worthy.

Now let's look at today's headline, after the market close:

On a good day, the modest percentage increase gets the headline.  The large point move is a subheading.  Nowhere in the article is it mentioned that today was the 4th biggest point gain on the Dow in history.  Surely if the largest point decline is newsworthy, then so is the fourth largest gain? But the good news isn't nearly as popular as bad news.  You've probably heard the saying "if it bleeds, it leads."

Knowing the inherent bias in the financial media, you're better off following my advice: ignore the noise and prosper.  It's hard to imagine how the financial media bias could improve your long-term investing outcomes, but I have certainly seen how dangerous and damaging it can be for investors who cannot put it in the proper perspective.

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