How Wall Street Manipulates the News...And Investors

Includes: DIA, EUM, RWM, SH
by: Joseph L. Shaefer

Wall Street’s business model depends upon two factors:

(1) Keeping you interested enough in the markets to leave your cash with them so they can float it, make a return on it higher than the one they pay you, and use your cash to convince the regulators that they have enough in “assets” to borrow money to expand their own proprietary trading, and...

(2) Keeping you trading. The easiest way for them to do this is to slant the news favorably for a few weeks to a few months, then slant the same or similar news unfavorably for a few weeks to a few months. This way, they get you to buy on their alleged good news, then sell when the news “turns bad” and hopes are dashed. That gives them two commissions instead of one. Done over the course of a year, it gives them dozens rather than one or two.

A recent case in point is the current rally based upon the fact that the ISM Manufacturing index rose from 55.5 to 56.3, an inconsequential amount not much bigger than a rounding error, from July to August of 2010, an inconsequential time frame too short to measure anything meaningful. The following week, the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (“services” rather than manufacturing) fell a rather more consequential 54.3 to 51.5, its lowest reading since January, a rather more consequential time frame.

Since Services comprise three-quarters of US economic activity, one might think this would have been cause for concern. But the news was buried on page 16 because Wall Street wants us buying now, not selling. Once they have their shorts in place (today? tomorrow?) so they can profit both from their short positions and from retail investors’ panic selling and the commissions that flow only from activity, you’ll find “the news” has magically turned bad again. Then, after they have your commission dollars and their profits from short-selling, they'll spin the news positively again.

It’s a classic example of Lucy van Pelt whisking the football away from Charlie Brown every time he gets th-i-i-s close to actually kicking it through the uprights. But you don’t have to play along! Stand back from the daily barrage of data and “commentary” on the data and you’ll see the entire process more clearly. And if you agree, you might take a look at selling into euphoria and buying into despair, as we try to do.

The current outlook is supposedly nothing but lollipops and rainbows, so we are now short via ProShares' inverse ETFs: S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SH), Emerging Markets (NYSEARCA:EUM), and Russell 2000 (NYSEARCA:RWM). I expect a rally based upon real, versus manufactured, slanted and spun, news, this fall. Throwing out the current crop of ne’er-do-wells in Congress alone should be good for a few hundred points on the Dow. But, personally, I don’t see that rally mounting from 10,600. No, Wall Street needs to terrify the public one more time, so they can cover their short positions and buy cheaply as the public sells. A decline below 10,000, possibly well below 10,000, is in their interest before the next big rally.

Do your own due diligence – stand aside and watch the manipulation of the silliest sorts of news like: “Only 450,000 newly-unemployed this month in America! Economists had predicted 460,000!! Buy!!! Buy!!!!” And if you agree, take a look at the above and other inverse ETFs. I imagine they’ll be very good to us over the next few weeks or couple months…

Author's Disclosure: We and those clients for whom it is appropriate own or are purchasing SH, EUM, and RWM.

The Fine Print: As Registered Investment Advisors, we see it as our responsibility to advise the following: we do not know your personal financial situation, so the information contained in this communiqué represents the opinions of the staff of Stanford Wealth Management, and should not be construed as personalized investment advice.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results, rather an obvious statement but clearly too often unheeded judging by the number of investors who buy the current #1 mutual fund only to watch it plummet next month!

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