The Herbalife Distraction

| About: Herbalife Ltd. (HLF)

If you watch stock market TV, look at finance websites or are involved with Twitter and Stocktwits, then you know something is brewing at Herbalife (NYSE:HLF). Noted hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has a very loud short position claiming that the company is a pyramid scheme and that the stock will go to zero.

Then noted hedge fund manager Dan Loeb came out saying that Ackman has not brought any new information to the table, that he sees Herbalife much differently than Ackman and is long. Carl Icahn is also reported to have gotten long the stock.

In something of a bizarre coincidence Herb Greenberg from CNBC has spent the last nine or ten months putting together a documentary on Herbalife and if I understand correctly it has just been finished in the last few days and the network has been airing bits and pieces of it all week.

More often than not, I have CNBC on during the stock market day paying attention when something worth paying attention to comes on. While I am not fully versed in the HLF story, it is fun to watch. It seems like there is some new development every few hours. It is relatively salacious and it is entertaining and there is nothing wrong with being entertained by a juicy story.

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While it is entertaining, it is crucial to understand that for more than 99% of market participants, it is also a carnival complete with people guessing people's weight or barking for the Yak Woman (this is a reference to the movie "Christmas Vacation" that obviously has stayed with me).

As much attention as HLF is getting now, this will fade to the point of most people saying something like "oh yeah, the Herbalife thing, when was that again?" This type of thing tends to incite speculation in people who should not be speculating on this type seemingly binary of outcome.

If your objective is simply trying to have enough money for when you need it, then feel free to grab the popcorn and watch but keep your wallet in your pocket.