Thursday, May 04, 2006

Maria Bartiromo Joins The Fed?

Perhaps there's a divine message in the news this week. Lou Rukeyser, one of America's most respected financial media personages, passed away yesterday from cancer. Only days after Maria Bartiromo, the Barbara Walters of financial news anchors, allegedly moved markets with her dinner anecdote involving Ben Bernanke. She reported, second-hand, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's musings on how the markets interpreted his recent remarks. This allegedly caused a major selloff in the market earlier this week.

If any financial media reporter/commentator should have been the one to be accorded such weight, it should have been Rukeyser. Anyone who watched his public television, later, CNBC, weekly program, understood that he had a thorough command of economics and free market mechanics.

In contrast, anyone who has watched Bartiromo would see that she often has to pause interviews when she can't see her teleprompter, leaning across a table and squinting in mid-interview with some Wall Street worthy. It's as if she has no understanding of her own questions- a sort of human fax machine. The story comes out, but the source has no understanding of what it just produced.

What scares me is that, of all the people to whom Bernanke is alleged to have given such a market-moving scoop, why someone who has trouble reading her own interview questions? Someone evidently so bereft of economic and financial knowledge as to actually pause during interviews, because she doesn't understand the questions she's firing off?

What was Bernanke thinking? If he couldn't find an informed media outlet at a dinner full of them, why didn't he just keep his mouth shut? It's not like this was a taped or recorded interview. Does anyone really think Bernanke meant that apparent remark to be processed in the markets as "information?"

What this demonstrates to me, once again, is the utter meaningless of any one day's market moves. They are addled by such oddities as a financial talking head passing along a chance remark by our Fed Chairman to a financial reporter whom we can't even be sure understood his remarks.

Once again, we see that there will always be daily headlines. Yet, they don't necessarily have any lasting impact beyond a few days' trading trends.

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