There are Statistics and Damn Lies

in Leading Indicators, Money, Mortgage Rates, Strat-O-Matic

Lies, Damn Lies and Stock Price Trends

To paraphrase Benjamin Disraeli. One of my favorite times of the year is here, with the opening of the N.F.L. season and with baseball coming down to the end of the season, the orgy of numbers coming from both games is astounding and quite satisfying for a number nut like me.

As a kid I reveled in the numbers from Baseball and loved collecting them and comparing them, but even as a kid I learned that all the numbers in the world are only telling you what happened in the past (which can be very important), but these numbers do not necessarily point to what will happen in the future. It is important to know what has happened in the past (because we do not wish to re-do our previous mistakes) but to know the future is what we all crave.

Benjamin Disraeli by Cornelius Jabez Hughes, 1878.jpg

Benjamin Disraeli by Cornelius Jabez Hughes, 1878” by Cornelius Jabez Hughes, British (1819 – 1884, London, England London, England) – Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Historical Photographs and Special Visual Collections Department, Fine Arts Library. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Football is awash in numbers to the point where there is an entire industry that has been created to use the statistics created by football games (Fantasy Football leagues), which astounds me, that you create a game from a game (is that recursion?).

Financial analysts do the same things to investors. They have mega-tonnes of data on every single stock and what it has done since it’s start, and there are entire companies making fortunes analyzing these numbers, predicting what stocks “might” do by doing this analysis.

My understanding of the stock market, is that it has no conscience and no memory. Each day is a new day, and it’s like a Simpson’s episode (i.e. most of what happened yesterday isn’t relevant and it is forgotten) on the Equities market.  The simple fact a stock went down the previous day does not mean it will drop the next day (that fact alone, there may be other much better reasons, but the previous drop means nothing).

I have to laugh when I hear about “downward trends” and “upward trends” being reasons alone to buy or sell stocks, you may as well base your purchases on your lucky rabbit’s foot if you are going to think that way.

Keep crunching those numbers, but remember the numbers alone are meaningless without the context of why the numbers happened.


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