When everything is shouted into a megaphone (repeated across 500 websites), it all sounds so urgent and essential. But it isn't.
Jeremy Piper / AP / File
I've been keeping this list mentally for a little while and I figured I may as well write it down, even if it's still a work in progress.
We have this problem lately where the internet has equalized the magnitude of all bits of data and news. When everything is shouted into a megaphone (repeated across 500 websites), it all sounds so urgent and essential. But it isn't. Dr. Phil Pearlman calls this "The Headline Bubble".
But not all shreds of intel are created equal and some have no value whatsoever. Here are three things you can ignore from now on...
1. Aggregate Insider Buying and Selling Data:
Of course the amount of insider selling keeps climbing - because the stocks are worth more, not because executives are more bearish. If a VP at Google sells 5000 shares at 600 per share versus a prior sale at 400 per share, did insider selling really just "explode by 50%"? Shush. Insider buying and selling should only be paid attention to at the single company level. We've seen higher levels of insider selling for US stocks month after month throughout the 85% rally these last two years.
Every single article you read about market-wide insider selling levels wasted your time, every chart of it wasted your eyesight.
2. Old Men Writing Newsletters:
There's a tiny company called Vibram making "five finger shoes" that make it look and feel like you're barefoot. They did $11 million in sales in 2009, in 2010 they'll finish with more than $50 million and in 2011 someone in your family will be walking around in them. To buy these shoes, the kids will find the money that all those dour old men told you doesn't exist.