Sweet God will everyone just shut up about the stock market?

Why do all of us have to hear about the fucking stock market everywhere we go?

If I check my hotmail account and happen to click on one of the “content” links on MSN, Microsoft automatically assumes that I might want to download an “investor ticker” so I can watch the stock market ALL THE TIME. They’ve been carrying all these stories lately about “Feeling insecure about being too rich? 3 ways to stop acting like a smug asshole” and “Feel like the dotconomy is passing you by? 6 ways to feel less inadequate” and “7 Habits of Highly Effective Workaholics.”

Yes, I understand that what happens on Wall Street is an indicator of our entire economy. I understand that the stories of fortunes won and lost in a day are compelling in that sort of traffic-accident kind of way. But please, will people get some fucking perspective? Last night, I flew on an airplane. The digital screen of the air-phone above my tray table kept flashing all of the stock indexes the entire flight. Why would that information be important to ANYONE at 11:30 on a Sunday night at 15,000 feet?

Disclaimer: If I had the $$, I would invest. My 401K is in mutual funds, and it’s doing ok. This is not a rant about investors, or rich people. But our culture seems to have become enslaved by the stock market - it seems that people are giving up their freedom (fresh air, movement, human interaction, message board lurking) to stare at tiny acronymns moving across a screen. Don’t even get me started on options…

Ok, that’s my first post and it’s in the Pit. Bring it on.

To answer your question/rant, it is because it has become to accessable to everyday people. It use to be you had to have a stock broker in order to trade. They can be expensive and you have to go out of your way. Now-a-days it is simple a point and click operation. Everyone’s seen the commericials for trades at $8 or whatever. It is also
hyped heavily since the market is (was) doing SO well. There are stories all over the place of people becoming rich beyond their “champaign dreams and caviar wishes”.

Of course, you couldn’t lose either in the late 1920’s…

Anyone for a tulip bulb?

Regards

Um, der, good point. I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to the days where you had to wear suspenders and a gold tie-pin in order to trade.

But I stick by my original rant: The constant, constant coverage, from all possible media (The telephone in my airplane is telling me to trade stocks!) seriously bugs me. There is more to life than this!

P.S. If you like studying the economics of commodities (ie Tulips) read SWEETNESS AND POWER: THE PLACE OF SUGAR IN MODERN HISTORY by Sidney Mintz.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about the Market either, but hearing the news about stock fluctuations irks me less than fucking sports news.

Like a lot of people, I tune in an all-news radio station in the morning when I’m getting ready for work. Like all electronic media, radio has been turning over more and more time to ads. To make space, they’re cutting back on hard news, weather reports, traffic & transit reports, business news…but NOT sports. I swear, every fucking time I turn on the radio I have to hear, in detail, not only the latest exploits of the Yankees and Mets and Rangers and Jets and Giants and Nets and Knicks, but ALSO the golf news, the tennis news, the high school scores from all over the East Coast…when the fucking OLYMPICS start, I swear, I’m gonna chop off my own head and eat it.

Can you believe we base our entire fucking economy on something that fluctuates if Alan Greenspan gets a head cold? Hell of a way to run a country.

Where I live they haven’t cut back on weather reports. So the news is just stocks, sports, weather, and the occasional dead white person.

magdalene - It is all a part of bringing the market to the masses (Teeming millions?). If it is in your face all the time, it will wear down your resolve until one fateful day you will stumble across one of the numerous on-line trading sites. You will say to yourself, “How hard can it be? Buy low, sell high, retire early.” (All said in the dreamy voice of the brainwashed.) You will click in all the right spots and then you will become one of us!!! bbbwwwaaaahhahahahahah!

dropzone - Errrr… I am not one to say you are wrong, but I think a health dose of a macroeconomics class (if there is such a thing as a health dose of macroeconomics…) might point out the falicy of your statement. The economy is not based on the stock market. The stock market is somewhat of an indicator of how the economy is doing, though. The economy is based on, basically, spending. How much are businesses spending to make their products (raw materials, labor, etc.)? How much are consumers spending (you hear this during the Holiday seasons a lot.)? How much are people/businesses spending for goods and services?

It’s all about the flow of money. (And I am talking about in greater amounts than the paltry sum those green pieces of paper that are starting to look like they were printed by Parker Brothers. [aka M1])

Enter the stock market. There are a number of valuation models used to figure what a stock is “worth”. (I use that term losely because it is all a guessing game.) One of those models says that a stock price is the present value of all future earnings of a company. Hence if the flow of cash to a company drops (their sales drop, etc.) their stock price would drop. Now, take that over a majority of the companies (their sales drop, they start laying people off, etc etc etc – hence their stock drops) and you can see where the stock market becomes an indicator for the economy.

Of course, that entire model is blown out of the water when looking at any of the “dot-com” stocks. I would have to say speculation is the driving factor behind those, not the worth of the company. That is why I said the stock market was “somewhat” of an indicator of the economy. You have to look at what is driving the indexes(and that is what the Dow Jones average, the NASDAQ and S&P500 are) up or down. Did a large industry just lay off 5,000 people or was it some sky-high dot-com stock tanking when investors come to their senses and realize penguins do not need refrigerators?

Greenspan was trying to burst the “technology stock buble”. The price of the technology stocks kept going up without any real basis (there’s gold in dem der dot-coms!). When interest rates are raised, it makes the bond market look more attractive (why put your money in a stock where you think you can get an 8% return when you can put it in a bond and almost assure yourself an 8% return?). Unfortunately it did not affect the tech stocks since those returns were WAY higher. So investors took money out of the ‘blue chip’ stocks and put it in bonds while their dot-com money stayed put.

Therefore to end my mind-numbingly boring hijack, to say the economy is based on the stock market just ain’t right.

Regards

And when the gamblers get scared and the market tanks and a recession hits because the market is down all over and there is no Monopoly money for companies to invest in themselves, then can I say that our economy is based on the stock market? All of that money “in” one place, being bet on by the same people, can do a lot of damage.

And we cannot casually write off the actions of the .COM speculators. The preposterous valuations of too many .COMs is scary. Speculative bubbles have burst before with disasterous results, and the speculators are often the very neophytes the online traders are trying to attract. We have been blessed that human inertia has kept most of that money tied up in mutual funds, where pros can gamble with it instead of rank amateurs.

I agree that I do not know enough about macroeconomics to make general statements. Or, maybe I do. A lack of knowledge is always helpful when generalizing! However, I have seen enough fluctuations occur because of bullshit like “triple witching hours” to be suspicious of the whole thing. If they could just come up with better names…

Of course, if I had any money I’d be playing, too. How hard can it be? Just like horse racing.