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day permlink Tuesday, 1 April 2008

permlink Anybody check the calendar?

UPDATED: Aha.. Apparently the blog post I referenced below was an April Fool by Barry Ritholtz of the Big Picture himself. The bullish April Fool's column by Mr. Kass exists, but the media reaction Ritholtz described was invented. How double-reverse-meta.

Sadly, the post was a quite easily believable and not weird/implausible enough to trigger my BS detector.

Following my own advice to think before passing on information, I had in fact tried (before posting it at all) to look at the original bullish column, but it was behind a subscription wall so I was unable to do aught but rely on Mr. Ritholtz's prior reliability.

Someone completely changing their outlook and putting 'April Fool' at the end (as Kass apparently did do in his original column) is clearly a joke.

A media critic (as Barry often is) criticizing the media for something they could well have done is far from clear as a spoof. (Some of the mentioned reports were on TV, no less, which isn't as easy to verify for oneself after the fact.)

I will have to be more careful, obviously.

When a pessimistic analyst suddenly turns impossibly rosy, it might behoove one to think for a second.

Internet Hoax Gooses Stock Market [fake blog post from The Big Picture]

Dedicated short fund manager Doug Kass, of Seabreeze Partners Short LP, put out an early morning, tongue-in-cheek commentary, titled "Time to Buy the Bull?" The long time Bearish market pundit and writer for The and Real Money announced that he was raising his year end price targets for the S&P500 to 1,666, which would reflect a yearly gain of 26%. [!!]

The Financial press read the commentary literally. The WSJ announced "Bear Flips Bullish!," causing equity futures to rally. CNN Money covered the joke as if it were a real news item, and Marketwatch declared "Short Seller Starts Stock Rampage." Barron's headline read "Longtime Bear Tosses in the Towel; Says New Bull Market is Upon Us."


The veteran fund manger had assumed that readers would get the April Fool's joke -- but never imagined it would go over the heads of veteran financial writers.

Some people really, really want to believe.

permlink     2 comment(s)  
The lesson to be learned: Some people should never try to do April's Fools Jokes. A financial analyst commenting on the stock market in such a way is like a fireman yelling fire in a crowded theater.
      ...posted by Glen Engel-Cox on April 1, 2008 11:51 AM
A fair point.

Thinking of it another way -- writing something which directly contradicts/rejects your strongly held positions isn't necessarily funny; it may just make people wonder about your sanity.
      ...posted by Steve B. on April 1, 2008 1:21 PM
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