Pundits Translated

Something remarkable happened the other night. My wife grated me discretion over the television’s remote control. I switched over from Married at First Sight to ABC Business News. I don’t pay too much attention to what is presented on television. Most, if not all our clients know that.

Coincidentally, it was that time of night when some guy was being interviewed, providing his opinion and viewpoint on financial markets. Oh, the things I was hearing – cover your ears folks! If you watch this stuff regularly, you probably wouldn’t notice, but my gibberish detector was flashing red. This shouldn’t really come as any surprise…being put on the spot by a journalist, unrehearsed, and no margin for live edits, one could be forgiven for blabbering. Although more people should, not many commentators concede they just don’t know.

Since watching, I thought it would be prudent to present readers with The Unofficial Pundit-to-English Translation Guide (put together by Barry Ritholtz):

When a pundit says, “We suggest reducing exposure.”

They really mean, We had bet the Brits would vote remain.

When a pundit says, “I’m not a foreign policy expert, but…,”

They really mean, Prepare for a useless, uninformed opinion.

When a pundit says, “The macro forces at work…”

They really mean, I’m inventing a reassuring narrative.

When a pundit says, “The smart money is betting…”

They really mean, I take no responsibility for this next bit of foolishness.

When a pundit says, “It has long been our position…”

They really mean, That’s my story and I am sticking to it, even if it’s wrong.

When a pundit says, “Our analyst says…”

They really mean, The guy is going to be out of a job soon.

When a pundit says, “Our clients are very concerned about…”

They really mean, There goes this year’s bonus.

When a pundit says, “We don’t see a recession.”

They really mean, We didn’t see the last recession coming either.

When a pundit says, “The current trend is…”

They really mean, Extrapolation isn’t a problem, is it?

When a pundit says, “We expect the second half of the year…”

They really mean, We were wrong in the first half of the year.

When a pundit says, “The currency trade to make is…”

They really mean, This is a random guess.

When a pundit says, “We like what this chart shows.”

They really mean, The fundamentals are terrible.

When a pundit says, “We still like the fundamentals.”

They really mean, The technicals are terrible.

When a pundit says, “We have a ‘Buy’ on the stock.”

They really mean, Who’s dumping all those shares?

When a pundit says, “We rate the stock ‘Neutral.’”

They really mean, Thanks for nothing.

When a pundit says, “We are long-term investors”

They really mean, Wait, why are we even on this show?

When a pundit says, “Buy gold.”

They really mean, Buy gold.

When a pundit says,  “There is a lot of uncertainty.”

They really mean,  We have no idea what’s going on.

Remember folks, admitting you have no clue what the future holds makes for bad television. Perhaps the best advice for investors is to remember that TV is for entertainment purposes only.