The Future Futures Index Is Down

Think back to ancient history – like before Al Gore invented the Internet.

I don’t recall ever hearing the top story of the hour being “American Stock Exchange futures are down, due to heavy losses in Asian and European markets”. I reckon that we can now know this because we can all see stock performance around the world instantly thanks to the web, and because we have people who stay up all night following this kind of activity.

I guess I have few problems with this bit of news. For one thing, it is manipulative. If I invested in the markets (I don’t), I’d be gearing up for the bell to sell whatever shabby bits of paper I have left because – omigod – the market’s headed LOWER. I mean, when the radio tells you it’s going to rain, you bring an umbrella, don’t you?

For another thing, though it maybe newsworthy, does it deserve the lead spot at the top of the hour? When I decode the message “stock futures are down” or phrases like “pretrading”, I visualize the really rich and powerful Joe Stock Traders out there getting a jump on the stock market by betting on what it’s going to do before it opens.

When do these guys do this? As soon as the NYSE closes? Or do they go to dinner first?

When the stock market was explained to me, my grandfather pointed to a building we were passing on the Rapid and said, “Jimmy, you own a brick of that building.” Of course, I had to ask if we could go to the building and take my brick home with me, to which he patiently explained that it was better if I let the company use my brick, to keep their walls up. Later, I was taught the basic principle, “buy low, sell high – and hang on to a good stock. When it’s down, it’s down, but if it’s a good stock, it’ll go up again.”

Does anyone still believe this? Or am I just waiting for the ice man to deliver a block from a horse cart?

In other news, layoffs are coming. The American auto industry will be insolvent within 12 months. Cheerful stuff about, um, the future.

Oh yeah, it’s going to rain this weekend. Bring an umbrella.

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