MARKET NEWS TURMOIL: Slog to launch new Index

Towards a new investor guidance index

Since the earlier Slogpost today about Bloomberg trying to rubbish the idea of China as a basket case, my post-cognitive senses have been running riot: the world and his mother has been saying the same thing all morning – the anchors at CNN, the French Airbus boss, and the usual American suspects on Twitter to name but five. And as with all things bourse-bollocks, it’s having the desired effect: despite the PBOC spending another slush-pile of money on the Shanghai, it only just managed to hold steady….but most of the rest of the world markets were back in the blue today.
“It’s all about confidence” is what we hear over and over again, which is I suppose a mantra opinion-formers like Bell Pottinger and the US Fed use to help them sleep at nights. But I am rapidly coming round to the view that we need a new index to guide those I would call the Thinking Innocent among us.
Every last sector, market, issue and emotion these days seems to have an index, but there is no index measuring bollocks, bullshit, moonshine, or indeed “news” in general. There are media sites bringing facts to bear on the drivel put out by Rupert and the Teletubbie Twins after the event, but none of the active market movers read it – either because it doesn’t suit them too, and/or it tends to reveal the Truth – and/or because it’s affiliated to the Guardian, which nobody reads much thee days anyway.

would suggest that what we need is a Truth index, except that for about 3.7 million reasons consensus would be impossible, and you could guarantee that within 3 weeks the Establishment version would come out to counterbalance it.

“You would say that”

Humphrey Bogart was I think the first actor (while playing Sam Spade) to popularise the idea of a conflict of interest between claim and personal interest. I’ve decided that there is a major insight in this for those trading in today’s bonkers world: a world that Bogey couldn’t have foreseen – but, having been told about it, would’ve laughed his socks off. (Multiple usage of the word ‘cocksucker’ would almost certainly have been involved).
This is my hypothesis: there is certain to be a dissonance between what somebody running, supporting or just working for a commercially involved institution tells us about the outlook in its connected markets, and the reality. The percentage of that dissonance will depend on how immediate and damaging that reality is.
I realise that this next bit is arbitrary rather than scientific, but on the other hand it is based on a very solid base of empirical experience spanning four decades. My proposal is that – in order to achieve a practical level of actionable use of the index – we should assume that the dissonance is highly like to be between 80 and 100%. As examples to make the point, I would cite the utterances of Mario Draghi, David Cameron, Antonis Samaras, Wolfgang Schauble, Tim Yeo, Fred Goodwin, George Osborne, Rupert Murdoch, Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, Jean-Claude Juncker, and everyone in the senior echelons of Deutsche Bank, HBOS, Microsoft, G4S, Bank of America, Libor, Gold trackers, HSBC, the Chinese Communist Party and every tobacco or alcohol provider on Earth. Plus almost everyone else, but I don’t have the space here to honour everyone.

The Flim-Flam Index

Once established, the Flim-Flam Index (FFI) is going to leverage the power of the small investor as never before. Its full title –

The fibs-lies-interest conflict-mendacity-false-lame-answers monitor

– will soon be forgotten in favour of a simplified 5-point measurement of the FFI scale: 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5 and 10.

It is conceivable that, when analysing the statements of Bob Diamond, Boris Johnson, Michael Fallon, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the Italian Statistical Office and the Argentinian Central Bank, we may need to expand beyond the 10 point mark. We shall simply have to assess as we go along whether flim-flam about the past and the present is apparent during any given statement.

Further, one might have to devise a special index for the US Fed – the working title for which I suggest should be the Flip-Flop Index – to monitor first the inability to take a decision, and then the speed with which it is reversed once taken.

Finally, in order to seal a place in history I propose to leave in my Will The Slog Bursary, donated to a prominent but plonky business school (preferably Harvard) for the future study of whether Bears are more likely to flip-flop, and Bulls more prone to flim-flam, or vice-versa, or neither, or both.

Last night at The Slog: Characters in Author biography abuse scandal

15 thoughts on “MARKET NEWS TURMOIL: Slog to launch new Index

  1. Your mention of dear old H. Bogart stirred a memory. Eventually I settled on C.S. Forester’s “The African Queen” and realised that what we need is a Rose Sayer corralling the energies and resources of all the Charlie Allnuts in this country; timid men capable of greatness with the correct guidance :-)


  2. A useful index, but may I respectfully suggest that it be called the “Mandy Rice Davies Index”? It all boils down to a version of ‘he would say that’, to be discounted accordingly.


  3. i wholeheartedly support this new “index” – but the simplified 5 point scale is insufficient to capture the sheer magnitude of bovine excrement being flung by the U.S. and Chinese government lackeys about employment and growth. i mean, there are 5’s and then their are whopper 5’s to the 100th power.
    also, i suggest we employ photos of the largest most egregious excrement tossers so that they can be easily identified when they appear in the news. then even the most simple among us could know not to trust anything said by them. so when janet yellen appears on the tube talking QE, we could just turn around and order another round safe in the knowledge that she is talking rubbish that will only make things worse,


  4. John, your words yesterday on someone having it in for the Germans were prophetic given what has happened in Istanbul today.


  5. Yes Anon. Easter a hurricane (yes I believe in weather engineering), Volkswagen, mass immigration, Hannover, Munich NYE, Cologne. Munich this evening. Taint going well.


  6. Careful you don’t get trapped into “Media Mind”, I can assure you that deaths of orders of magnitude equivalent to Istanbul didn’t get reported today… There are guided stories being made & pointing at were you are thinking.

    Any body got any views on the impact of Algorithmic trading & it’s contribution to the current Custer Farce. Has anybody done a none partisan open analysis? That’s a joke BTW.

    Just struck me there might be a HAL Finger moment, were people are being traded of against a concept of wealth by white cats sitting on top of computers?


  7. i am awaiting the parade of the ‘Ich bin Deutschlander’ supporters , so we can begin a bombing campaign on Istanbul. The T-shirt printing is ready to go.
    Arrangements have been made to light up the Brandenburg gate in the German colours,Eiffel Tower and Nelsons Column. The smart phone apps with the German National Colours are being issued.
    Miss Hillery Bendown will make a patriotic John Bull speech to inflame our patriotic and warmongering fever. Oh what a lovely war we can have.


  8. Given the proven propensity of our “Leaders” to spread misleading nonsense upon the masses, I suggest a logarithmic scale is necessary to capture the scope of Flim-Flam. A Richter Scale of Flim-Flam. A straight denial of truth could be accorded a 1 on the scale, telling a lie to cover up truth could be a 2 (i.e. worth 10 times a 1), a fabric of lies to justify a government policy that screws the people while benefiting some political cronies a 3, etc. The scale would necessarily have no upper limit, given the apparent ability of people to pile lie upon lie and invent ever more breathtaking stories to justify antisocial behaviour and unjust enrichment..


  9. This might be of interest but I guess you might already have seen it.


    Private Capital Limited is regulated in Hong Kong by the Hong Kong SFC. Private Capital Limited is also a member of the Hong Kong Confederation of Insurance Brokers.

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  10. In the late 80’s I read afascinatig short piece in the international herald tribune, towit, a US research study of children with autism found that there was virtually an infallible trait the reseach cohort exhibited, namely, they could identify a LIE, and their chosen way of sshowing it was a lie was they all laughed.

    Their laughter apparently was loudest when Ronald Reagan made his State of the Nation address.

    Ihave never seen any follow up on that reseach, I guess Government and Big Business thought it unwise to fund further reseach or find uses for this remarkable talent.

    Ihave always thought politicians should have a panel of these talented kids listening to their speeches whilst knowing the kids laughter volume indexwould be viewed/reported to the listening public!

    OTT just finished Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World Revisited written 25 years after the original came out, a really excellent and short read from a truly great mind.


  11. How about an ‘Editorial State-of-Mind Index’?

    1. Sane.
    2. Browbeaten by tax-avoiding owner.
    3. Blackmailed by young floozie they’ve not fitted up yet after screwing them at the Christmas party.
    4. Hungover.
    5. Beaten up by rival editor at Murdoch piss up.
    6. Bunged £100k to create ‘sentiment-to-order’.
    7. Off their head on cocaine.
    8. Four hours late for work after dropping out of bed at lunchtime following an all-night rogering with a honey trap Russian.
    9. Threatened by CIA/Mossad/MI6 if they don’t run ‘we’re off to war like yesterday’ stories for a month.
    10. Caught in a kinky four-in-a-bed scandal by other Establishment pervs.


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