The first completely honest stock market story
By Vinnie Foster Winans III
Staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal
Markets freeze early in the morning for reasons no one understands and no one predicts. CNBC analysts confidently asserted that it had something to do with the Senegalese money supply but others pointed to monthly figures showing a weak tuna haul off the coast of Peru.
The Dow declined late in the morning due to profit taking—which is a meaningless phrase we financial journalists use when we don’t know what we’re talking about.
By midday, tech stocks rallied (perhaps on profit giving?) before a late wave of selling sent stocks lower. (This wave of selling was miraculously met by a wave of buying because there is a buyer and a seller in every transaction.)
All in all, it was a typical day on Wall Street. As the lead fell 4 to 1, the bond market was understandably upset, the Mets beat the Phillies 6-2 and Kate Winslet’s tally remained 35-29-38.
For the bulk of this story, as with most financial services stories, I’ll be quoting from a series of famous blowhards, all of whom predicted that this bull market would top out at 7500.
Seymour Kaufman of Dean-Witter-Marcus-Garvey opines, “Some young bucks think markets only go up, not down. They have been confused by the experience of the past 17 years.
“Obviously I missed the last 6,000 points of the rally,” said Sherman McCoy of First Swiss-Credit Boston, who shifted his holdings to gold last spring, “but when the correction comes, my position will look pretty good.”
“I thought the market was overvalued at 8000,” said Chris Clough of Travelers-Citicorp-Disney-American-Express-Baskin-Robbins-Lynch & Jenrette. “Now that the PE ratio is 67 times higher, my argument is more intellectually coherent than ever.”
We journalists put these quotes in our stories to prove we’re wise old heads (even if we’re 25 years fresh off the wire service), but if you listen to any of these old goats’ advice, you’re crazy. In fact, if you’ve read this far into the story, you’re crazy too.
Professional traders will know everything about yesterday’s market from their computer terminal, and they won’t need a $37,000-a-year journalist to spin it for them. Ordinary investors should not read daily market reports as it can only churn their accounts.
Elaine Garzarelli needs to be mentioned in every market story so I am doing it in this paragraph. Past performance is no guarantee of future results,” Ms. Garzarelli says wisely.
To fill up the rest of my space so I can go home I will now throw in the results of a few companies, which you can read in the most active table if you are really interested. Microsoft was up 1/4. Dell was down 1/8. Motorola 2 was down. hi mom Exon 3 1/8 was up. If anyone wants a lightly used exercise bike, please call (212) 555-2000. Ford was up 1/2. Germany is invading Belgium. I see England, I see France, I see somebody’s underwear. Bloomberg was off by 2 1/2.
Late news flash: The Clinton administration has signed a new incentive package with the American people that allows the president to sexually assault a flight attendant every time the Dow crosses another 1000 hurdles.
BR note: I mentioned this back AprilWith full credit to Jason Zweig for saving this wonderful gem. Bob’s News Original tracked down via the Internet Archive from The Weekly Standard, Volume 3, Number 31 (April 20, 1998). The full text is included above. You can access the PDF of that issue here: Weekly Standard 4.20.1998.