For something new, I thought I'd start today's blathering with a clarification of sorts. My last two posts have been of me sharing my opinion on CNBC and Bloomberg television. However, I *did* previously say that I didn't recommend watching financial news. Let me clarify: obviously, I believe in the financial press or I wouldn't be appearing on there. But I talk daily to folks who alternate between freaked out and thrilled by what they're hearing on television. They get wound-up because don't know what to believe and they hear conflicting information all day long. If you like watching financial television, by all means watch (especially when I'm on!) But if you're getting bothered by stuff, remember that your friendly local investment professional is there to answer questions and give advice. Better yet, they should know your personal situation and relate the current news to your life.
The other bit of clarity that I want to share today is that going down less is NOT the same as going up. Apparently this is hard for some folks who like grazing on green shoots to grasp. Take Friday's data, for example: unemployment came in 0.2% worse than expected at 9.4%, the worst reading in 25 years. So what's the market do? It stays flat. Why? Because of the good news in the unemployment data. What good news you ask? Well, we "only" lost 345k jobs last month. Party on! Yeah, I know we were expecting to have lost over 500k jobs, and that the April numbers were adjusted upward ("only" lost 504k instead of the original 539k.) And yeah, I know that the market trades on expectations, but PEOPLE this is still bad. Bad bad bad. Yucky even. And don't get me started on the housing market. Instead, read the Alan Abelson column in this week's Barron's. You might want to make sure you don't read it over lunch if you have a sensitive stomach.