Today is a historic day.
It’s Money Morning’s last.
But we’re not closing shop. No, more like expanding it.
Venture capitalist Jim Barksdale famously said there are only two ways to do business — to bundle or to unbundle.
Netflix pioneered the bundle approach with streaming, by gathering popular films and shows in one place.
It was easier for users. Here was a one-stop shop for their entertainment needs.
We are doing something similar.
Tomorrow, Money Morning will bundle up with Daily Reckoning and Fat Tail Commodities to form a new publication — Fat Tail Daily.
Fat Tail Daily will still host the ever-insightful Ryan Dinse, Callum Newman, and Murray Dawes.
But the publication will also host a few more voices.
You’ll get to hear from our commodities guru James Cooper, our Editorial Director and value expert Greg Canavan, and our gold bug Brian Chu.
Fat Tail Daily will house the macro commentary of our founder Bill Bonner and the sagacious Nick Hubble.
It’s an exciting change but one that requires little on your end to enjoy.
Actually, you don’t have to do anything.
Since you already subscribe to Money Morning, you’ll automatically receive Fat Tail Daily sends from tomorrow.
Money Morning is dead, long live Fat Tail Daily!
Back from London
Some of you may have noticed my absence in recent weeks.
My ego thanks you.
I was in London.
I’m not much of a diarist, so I won’t bore you with tales of my trip.
Suffice to say, London continues to enchant.
I brought back some books and some notebooks. But most of all I lugged back a growing fondness for the city.
If only it wasn’t so bloody expensive…
Who is better off?
I also brought back some reflections. There’s no customs restriction on that.
I sought the news less overseas. But the itch to check the AFR or the Australian or our own ASX live blog remained.
I didn’t go totally without financial news, but my intake was much diminished.
A question sprung at me.
Was I better for it?
My regular daily exposure to market machinations was partially blocked by travel. Did that set me back somehow?
There is one sense in which I felt it did.
If markets can be construed as a daily conversation, I was now missing some of the references.
Returning home, I felt I had less conversational crutches to gab with the best of them.
But did that really matter?
For instance, who do you think will make for a better investor…
The one glued to the screen every day, scanning the latest headlines, chat rooms, Twitter threads, and price movements?
Or the investor who restricts themselves to stacks of annual reports, Excel, classics of investing literature, and some periodicals like The Economist?
I lean towards the latter.
But I’m not a day trader.
Yet, what I’m saying is that most of us follow and consume news as if we are.
If your portfolio has stocks whose investment horizon is over a year, should you consume every bit of news like your portfolio turns over every week?
Fast food, fast news, easy explanations
In a London cafe, I came across a magazine espousing ‘slow journalism’.
Slow journalism stresses accuracy and insight over hastiness of publication and hastiness of thought.
Oxford’s Dictionary of Journalism sums it up this way:
‘A concept of journalism that puts quality, depth, and accuracy above speed. Inspired by the ‘slow food’ movement, adherents of slow journalism argue that journalists need the time and space to do their jobs properly by getting out of the office, nurturing a range of contacts, building trust, reading documents, and generally engaging in reflective practice.’
Pressured to dance to the daily drumbeat of the pacy news cycle, we can succumb to easy explanations.
The deluge of new market updates coerces us into fast takes.
We quickly join the dots to establish patterns.
But patterns are often illusory — dots can be joined any which way.
Take the market commentators interviewed daily by the financial press, radio, and TV channels.
Each day, these commentators give the audience ready-made explanations of yesterday’s market moves.
The versatile pontificators can drum up different explanations for each day of the week!
And every explanation will sound plausible and authoritative.
But do the explanations have any depth?
In their book on the adverse effects of fast news, Howard Rosenberg and Charles S. Feldman cite theories on people’s laziness when it comes to thinking:
‘Edward H. Tenner, a Princeton University historian of technology, calls this “the bias of convenience”, which closely resembles the “law of least effort” theory set forth in 1935 by mathematical linguist George K. Sipf, who believed that people tend to be satisfied by answers that are the easiest to obtain. So much so that they are unlikely to pursue other options.’
In the world of investing, however, answers easiest to obtain are rarely profitable.
Rosenberg and Feldman caution that to think well, especially in noisy circumstances, you need to ‘slow things down’ to avoid mistakes.
That’s partly why Fat Tail launched Greg’s weekly podcast — What’s Not Priced In.
The podcast seeks to place daily market news in perspective, a perspective bolstered by the passage of time.
What can get tongues wagging on Monday can be forgotten by Friday.
So the podcast seeks to filter what’s important and lasting from what’s inconsequential and temporary.
That’s also what our editors will strive for in their pieces for the Fat Tail Daily — perspective, insight, and value.
Now, if we compare financial news to food, ask yourself — what kind of food are you eating?
You can’t eat fast food forever.
Watch your diet!
Editor, Money Morning
PS: If you’re interested in London as city, cultural nexus, historic site…here’s some book recommendations.
– Peter Ackroyd, London: a biography.
– Any book on London by Iain Sinclair
– Jerry White’s mammoth trilogy: London in the Eighteenth Century, London in the Nineteenth Century, and London in the Twentieth Century.