Addicted to financial pornography?

If porn is expected to excite you – emotionally well financial news papers do it just as well as the television media! I decided to be as free of emotion (:)).

So I decided to pick a news item which read like this:

” …the firm in its report ..said also pointed to continued EROSION in market leader Nokia’s share, which FELL SUBSTANTIALLY from 55.8% for the year ended June 2009 to 54.1% for the full year…”

Growth in the …Indian market DIPPED to almost ZERO ..from the growth of 6.7%. India’s growth is BELOW GLOBAL RATES for DEC quarter (oops had to add a smiley :)). The ‘FLAT’ PERFORMANCE is ..a SHARP CONTRAST to the earlier period..

Nokia’s market share has FALLEN from 75% to about 54% now…while Korean and Indian firms FLOODED the market..Nokia remained COMPARATIVELY UNINTERESTING….

sorry I got sick of doing this. If you are watching the financial media and reading the financial press, chances are you are addicted to financial porn. Be careful when you read the articles which say “Investors got poorer by $ 3 billion last week’ when the market fell, or when you see words like ‘almost zero’, ‘crashed’, ”perished’ , ‘painful slowdown’ ..or when all the kids in our office say ‘India’s Recession’ – when we were growing @ 7% , please keep your MODERATION button on!

You should have been in India when everything was rationed – milk, rice, kerosene, electricity (Bangalore residents please excuse but other parts of India do not have 14 hour power cuts), and the economy was growing at 3-4%. Today the media is much more into sensationalizing – whether it is IPL, or Robin Singh’s inability to speak English, or saying all matches are fixed,…so if you do watch television please keep your moderation button on, AND invert whatever is being said.

For example if you hear that there is a 70% probability of ‘this fund making money’ see what happens if 30% chances of failing ACTUALLY happens. If you think out of 10 investors 7 will gain, see if you are in remaining 3 what happens to you. Whenever you switch on a television there is an advertisement – some you recognize as an ‘ad’ and some which are made to look like a discussion.

A couple of years ago there was a ‘product designing’ competition – a few people were asked to design a mutual fund product which would be a great hit. The ultimate winner designed a product which had 60-70% debt and the balance in equity. The jury (a complete who’s who – 2 fund managers, one ‘independent’ mutual fund website ‘owner’ – not the editor, 1 financial journalist,….etc. However there are 2-3 fund houses WITH EXACTLY THE SAME product – and it does not sell :). L O L. So much for experts like us.

So lesson number 1: Media is for entertainment, not for teaching or learning.

Lesson number 2: Remember rule no. 1, but if you still watch, keep tv on mute, or invert everything that you hear.

A group of friends play a game. We switch on a business channel, put it on mute, and provide our own dialogues – its fun.

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2 Responses to “Addicted to financial pornography?”

  1. This is due to the fact that there is too much competition between TV Channels and most of them are TRP driven. They sensationalize any news, resort to heavy melodrama in TV Soaps and crude reality programs.

    Sorry, always switch off TV, except for one or two cartoons (which my kids watch) and child Indian Idol type (not it) programs, some sports. I see merit in saying , completely switch off TV. You may be better off.

    And Read Books.


  2. i agree .. Have heard of this advice b4 .. some of my frnds often suggested me to turn off business channels and god i was addicted to them.
    Did an analysis to judge whether bombardment of statements frm media were factual or sensational.
    Test period : 2009 – crisis and post crisis.
    Couldnt believe how fundamental of stocks changed within a month.
    sell calls became buy ..
    poor fundamentals became strong companies etc.

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