It’s All a Countdown to What?

May 14, 2012
J. Webster
Comments Off on It’s All a Countdown to What?

So now CNBC has a little Facebook IPO countdown button in the upper right hand corner of their homepage, and it’s sponsored by TD Ameritrade. That’s not all though, once you click over on the link you’re taken to a rather nice page with all the articles about the Facebook IPO you could ever want to read in your lifetime.

Facebook, which will trade under the ticker FB (I was hoping it was going to be POKE or LIKE or better yet HOODIE), is set to price on May 17 and then go live for trading on May 18th. I’m SO EXCITED I CAN’T EVEN CONTAIN MYSELF. Sure, it’s exciting but not countdown worthy exciting. This ain’t Christmas morning unless you actually work for Facebook and own shares already.

But this got me to thinking about all this counting down. Everything has become a countdown. As if we don’t have time to even think about what stocks we should or shouldn’t buy. As if everything must be decided and done right now or you’ll miss your chance. It’s as though patience is for saps.

On Maria Bartiromo’s Closing Bell show on CNBC she has a new “Tomorrow in 30” segment, where three strategists get 30 seconds to share what they think will move the markets tomorrow. There’s a not so friendly clock ticking away as the analysts runs through what he or she believes will “move the markets” tomorrow. As if they really have any idea what tomorrow will bring, exactly. There’s no such thing as a crystal ball other than insider trading. Especially these days, with the European debt crisis, the whole world could change overnight.

Pretty soon analysts and stock pickers will come on and there will be a trapped door underneath them. If they go over the time allotment then they fall into a pit of fire. Well, that’s how it should be. Really though, there’s no accountability for pundits on TV giving stock picks – they don’t come on a week later and say they were wrong.

And then there’s Jim Cramer, now appearing in nearly every CNBC show, he does his “Six in 60” segment, where he runs through six stocks to watch in under 60 seconds. Yes, there’s a rather large clock running near him so you’re aware just how much time Cramer has left to impart his wisdom. Next up they’ll make Cramer give his stock picks while he walks on hot coals or treading water with sharks swimming around him. I’d watch. I love Cramer but sometime his enthusiasm and passion gets the better of him.

Yes, this is TV, and they must entertain and only have a certain amount of time to get their points across and sell ads, but it all sort of becomes a rushing, pressurized place, where novice traders or investors might get mixed up in the frenzy and make some poor, very rushed, investing decisions.

All the action takes place in a blink of an eye for many traders and for those high frequency or algorithmic trading machines. Huge trades are done before the market opens and after the market closes. It’s like it’s some kind of Red Bull fueled race. However, when it’s all said and done, you might end up even at the end of the year.

Take a step back, there’s no need to rush. And that means even into the Facebook IPO. There will be another IPO. There will be a pull back in the market. There’s no need to set a countdown clock on your investing strategy. HA!

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