Replace nightly reporting of stock exchange data with numbers that count

Posted by Mike Kaaks

25 May 2020

We are ALL affected by our well being. Only a small proportion of us are directly affected by the closing values of the ASX, the All Ords, etc etc. And yet daily, throughout the day, news coverage is flooded with stock market reports. Why? Most of us are not interested in such frequent reporting of the numbers let alone a minute by minute blow by blow update. Making it less interesting is the fact that most of what is being reported is the output of computer algorithms, half of which have convinced themselves that it’s the time to buy, whilst the other half are equally convinced it’s time to sell. No humans involved. Then we get reports of up to a dozen overseas markets and then the oil and gold prices. Give me a break. As an average viewer I can never relate these to what is going on in my life or what is important to me. Please explain the local fluctuations in the petrol price and who pocketed the money when the price jumps up. The Brent Crude price per barrel means nothing to me or most the audience. Just the other day US crude was said to have gone to a negative price and yet the same day the government PAID $94m to secure some oil reserves. (which by the way are being kept overseas - interesting back up plan!). Explain that for us. Don’t just repeat the quotes. If traders want the Brent Crude Oil number they will already have gone to Bloomberg or some other source or more sadly for them they will have been tracking it throughout the day so they had something to talk about at the coffee machine.

There’s a line in the John Travolta movie Civil Action where he is in bankruptcy court and is asked “Where are the things by which one measures one’s life?” On the basis of the nightly news this would be materials and money. They are not measures of a life. Wellbeing, Happiness, Fulfilment, Connection, these measure a life.

So lets change the news to reporting
    ▪    GNW - Gross National Wellbeing not GDP
    ▪    Movement in The Gini Coefficient
    ▪    A local equivalent of the Bhutan Gross National Happiness Index
    ▪    and so on

If this cry in anguish is not heard can we at least chase down an improvement in what is reported. Picture yourself on a day when the index went down and we are told “sellers entered the market” as if it’s a revelation. Why aren’t we then told WHY they chose that moment to sell, and why did their counter-party choose to buy. That would be newsworthy.

Similarly after being told the closing value of the index and one side of the events of the day we get a list of the top five movers. If someone is really interested let them go to the stock exchange website and drill down to their hearts content. If we are to be told about specific companies, give us some news, some stories, not just the financiers take on that news.

After Covid