Posts filed under “Really, really bad calls”
To outsiders, Wall Street is a manic, dangerous and ridiculous republic unto itself – a sort of bizarro world where nothing adds up and common sense is virtually inapplicable.
Consider the following insane things that we believe on Wall Street, that make no sense whatsoever in the real world:
1. Falling gas and home heating prices are a bad thing
2. Layoffs are great news, the more the better
3. Billionaires from Greenwich, CT can understand the customers of JC Penney, Olive Garden, K-Mart and Sears
4. A company is plagued by the fact that it holds over $100 billion in cash
5. Some companies have to earn a specific profit – to the penny – every quarter but others shouldn’t dare even think about profits
6. Wars, weather, fashion trends and elections can be reliably predicted
7. It’s reasonable for the value of a business to fluctuate by 5 to 10 percent within every eight hour period
8. It’s possible to guess the amount of people who will get or lose a job each month in a nation of 300 million
9. The person who leads a company is worth 400 times more than the average person who works there
10. A company selling 10 million cars a year is worth $50 billion, but another company selling 40,000 cars a year is worth $30 billion because its growing faster
Away from Wall Street, no one believes in any of this stuff. It’s inconceivable. On Wall Street, these are core tenets of our collective philosophy.
No wonder everyone else thinks we’re insane.
Last week, we had the announcement of the end of Jon Stewart’s run on The Daily Show. I had been saving this column for the next TDS disaster, but rather than hold it, I decided to set it free. Enjoy. ~~~ A few months ago, my fellow Bloomberg View columnist Megan McCardle anticipated just such a…Read More
Friday’s jobs numbers were big, and the revisions below the surface were huge. Yet even before the release, the birther/vaxxer/flat-earther crowd had warned us about phony numbers. As public policy, this kind conspiracy thinking can cause the deaths of infants and the elderly. At least in markets, it merely loses you money. In December, I wrote: Today’s column is about stupidity. Perhaps…Read More
Morgan Housel makes the delightful if infuriating observation that bank execs take credit — along with fat paychecks and even fatter bonuses — on the way up. On the way down, its always seems to be someone else’s fault: Robert Rubin, a former Treasury Secretary, joined Citigroup in 1999 as chairman of the executive committee. He was…Read More
Last week, I was in Seattle for an event sponsored by the CFA Institute. The trip was booked long before any of us knew the Seahawks were going to defend their championship title in Super Bowl XLIX. Following the Seahawks’ amazing comeback in the NFC Championship versus the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 18, the city…Read More