when markets sink, reporters rise
these are tough times for investors, especially short-term speculators in the stock, currency, bond and commodities markets.
and for reporters too covering these markets. i have been there, i have done that and i must stress, i luved it! i luv the days when the market is in frenzy and investors are acting like crazy that even before you can put up a headline, the market is moving again. oh i miss the rush!
lately, market movements have been unpredictable that even the most avid watchers are having a hard time forecasting its direction. even on the short term.
when the united states of obama was on the verge of defaulting on its debt a few weeks ago, investors were told markets (stocks) and the dollar were falling because of worries that the world's biggest economy might lose its much coveted triple a rating.
most analysts and other market watchers assured that once the u.s. hurdled this difficulty, there would be a relief rally.
after the debt bill was passed, stocks rose indeed. but briefly. very. then shares fell, while u.s. treasuries rallied and gold surged. indicating that investors are still edgy.
(about what this time? oh dear, wealthy people with loads of cash never run out of things to worry about. clearly, you must have a heart of steal when investing in these troubled times.)
very quickly, before you can even remove your glasses and change into superman's skin tight outfit, the markets looked past the u.s. debt woes and shifted their focus to the economy.
you see, there was data hours before the bill raising the $14.3 trillion borrowing cap was signed that showed the u.s. economy was slowing down. so from defaulting on its debt, the market watchers were now talking about the possibility of another recession in the u.s., especially since the law that raised the debt ceiling would result in spending cuts that would give policy makers less flexibility to stoke growth.
adding to the u.s. woes were concerns about italy defaulting on its debt after greece. yes, it's all about debt these days, honey. we all have to pay for our excesses somehow.
imagine if you bet on the rebound in the stock markets after the u.s. debt crisis was addressed (at least in the near term), then you lost a lot of money.
indeed being poor has its benefits.
what did they say again? blessed are the poor...
i remember when i was a new reporter covering the philippine stock market. some analysts would give me the same reasons why the market was up and why it was down the next day. the same reason, just expounded in a different way! goodness!
while their explanations do have their merits, my editors of course won't buy them. we were respectable business journalists who could not be easily duped. we were hardworking too. so i ended up calling more analysts, fund managers and whoever matter just to get the "right" reasons why the market moved the way it did.
we have this running joke among market reporters in the newsroom (i won't tell you which one) to explain the market's movements (there were days when it was just too hard to cite a reason for the move, especially on days when there were no big news. or when the market moved at the opposite direction than what the news suggested. for instance, the u.s. just released a better-than-expected growth figures, so stock prices were supposed to go up. but they fell. this is indeed hell.)
"stocks were down because there were more sellers than buyers." or its variation. "it's the law of supply and demand. there's just too much liquidity chasing after too few valuable stocks, so the market rose."
"stocks rose today because they were down yesterday and the days before that."
"there were rumours that a big investor from the u.s. was buying stocks, so the market was up."
or the opposite.
"there were talks that a big investor from the u.s. was selling stocks, so the market fell."
"it's moving in sympathy with wall street."
and my personal favourite:
"it's up today because i said so yesterday."
pls don't misunderstand me.
i luv covering the markets especially when there were big issues out there that needed to be resolved or when there were big moves. when records were broken. when investors were nervous or enthusiastic, when countries were on the verge of defaulting on their debts.
it's during those days when trading activity was almost nil and the market was flat that i needed to take my stimulants to be able to come up with a nice report.or when my favourite analysts and fund managers were on vacation. sad!
those were the days when i felt like jumping off the window, as if i lost millions from the market.
those were the times when even the picture of a half naked jfk jr. just won't ease the blues.
that is why i admire colleagues whose passion for the market never ebbs.
those who have been covering the markets for years and yet they are still as passionate about stocks, bonds, currencies, gold as the day they started writing about them.
those who are never jaded, who always come up with nice quotes, beautiful explanations and paragraphs that fly and jump out of the screens and pages even if there is hardly any movement in the market.
it is because of these people that i always aspire to do my best, even if i turn out to be the worst market journalist that ever worked on news wire services. haha.
speaking of markets, the philippine stock market has been touching record highs lately partly due to the prevailing debt concerns in europe and in the united states.
investors with excess funds who need to meet their year-end profit targets have been putting their money into emerging market assets.
as a result, the peso is climbing to three-year highs, pissing off exporters.
flashback to the days before the asian currency crisis in the early 90s.
oh well. i will say it again, what else is new?
but that doesn't mean i am turning my back on the markets completely.
i always watch it with amusement and awe on the sides.
as my bff told me the other week: once a market reporter, always a market reporter.
to her i say: once you do the market, you never go back!
(all pics taken from the internet. pls don't sue the poor, indigent me.)