October Update: Trick or treat?

Stop reading the news it's bad for your investment health.

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Mainstream media (MSM) is often reactive, usually catching up to what’s happened already, often gets it dead wrong with their narratives and spooky headlines and it’s not serving investors well. There is a reason the media focuses on bad news. It sells advertising. MSM is in the business of making money, not serving your mental or financial health. If there is a clickbait type of headline, or a salacious quote, you can count on the media to print or broadcast it.

Mainstream media likes to howl (cue the Halloween theme music) about a lot of things. Recently they have been howling about Facebook, and mostly rehashing themes that are not new and are well worn. Mark Zuckerberg is the monster in the room, and we are constantly told by MSM that his trick and treat grab bag of toxic apps is ruining the world. Never mind that 1.6 billion people (goblins surely!) use Facebook apps every day. The media would have you believe that all these people are producing monstrous and scary content. It’s a fact that 3.9 billion people globally (about half the world’s population excluding China) use Facebook every month. It’s a fact that advertisers paid Facebook $322 million dollars EVERYDAY last quarter, $100 million of that was profit after tax. Clearly, advertisers are voting with their money that Facebook is doing something right — 3.9 billion people can’t all be bad.

But this note is not to defend Facebook. It’s to warn you of the harm of MSM to your financial health. They print and report horrible and hateful ideas! BNN, CNBC, MarketWatch, the Globe and Mail and even Bloomberg, endlessly interviewing people about what the Fed will do next are wasting people’s time by presenting fearmongering, clickbait-y, “sky is falling” bear market scenarios when investors would be better served by focusing on facts. The facts are capital spending, employment, housing, and huge consumer cash piles are all indicating growth. Why not report and educate you on the wonders that companies are doing for their customers?  No, no, no! Headlines like “Amazon and Apple stock dives set to erase $200 billion in value” are far more entertaining. That’s useless clickbait and could be harmful to your financial health if it spooks you too much.

Recently, the news has been full of the Rogers family blow-up. Nothing better than a good old fashioned domestic dispute amongst billionaires to catch reader attention. This is particularly fun reporting if it’s a competitor you are reporting upon. CTV and BNN (owned by Bell) love reporting on Rogers’ woes but how does that serve you? The family seems intent on washing their laundry publicly and MSM seems eager to blast the dirt onto your screens. What’s missing in the press are the questions raised about why the company’s board would be contemplating firing a CEO in the middle of a $26 billion takeover. More importantly, why is there no reporting about how a debt-saddled Rogers will compete against Elon Musk  and Amazon who are launching thousands of satellites to bring internet and communications to you. This is happening right now.

The media is a dangerous place to get investment advice. They will print or quote anything. Their interest is keeping your attention, just like Facebook or any other business that sells anything. Just remember that the next time they scream “the sky is falling”. Stay focused on the businesses that you own and what they are doing. Those businesses that continue to march to the tune of their business plans, not the narratives of the media, will serve investors the lasting treat of compounding, tax-free returns not the trick of short-term sensationalism.

5 thoughts on “October Update: Trick or treat?”

  1. A delight to hear common sense interpretation.
    BNN is on most of the day in my household as background white noise so to speak. Now I am frequently just hitting the mute button for lengthy time periods or switching to a jazz station.

  2. Dear John
    Didn’t u say a while ago that a 20% drop in stock valuations could cause a selloff and at that time you want to talk to us about it.
    Isn’t that scary Davis Rea All Hallows Eve stuff ? … (cue the stunningly scary Psycho shower music).
    Thanks a ton.
    Ron Quon

  3. Very well said; same comments would apply to reporting on climate; lets csee what comes from Glascow. energy pricing is a case in point.

  4. Hi Ron! We said we would not be surprised if stocks dropped by 20%. We didn’t predict it, in fact we said its always wise to expect the unexpected and that way you will not be surprised when it ultimately happens.. We said it often happens and that if that would be unsettling to you, a conversation with us would be wise.

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