The Case Against Sound-Bite Investing

While many financial planners warn clients to steer clear of the media when making investment decisions, the advice often falls on deaf ears. New academic research reported in Investment News, however, not only supports this advice but extends the warning to any and all “public” investment rhetoric.

The study results, reported by Don Dale of Northwestern University and John Morgan of UC Berkeley, indicate that “even when people know the quality of the information being disseminated is low, the ‘noise’ of it being publicly broadcast causes investors to lend it more weight than they should.” When investors follow what’s “popular”, they argue, it can lead to market valuations that are “not based on company fundamentals.” According to Morgan, this can “ruin the way the market functions.” The researchers went so far as to say that “society might be better off if the release of such information publicly was illegal.”

If this were indeed the case, there probably wouldn’t be enough handcuffs to go around.