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Oil Market Enters La-La Land

If the ever-higher prices didn't make this clear, the frothing at the mouth coverage should do the job.

The Business Press Maven does not have much to say this morning, only that he never seen a dumber headline in his whole misspent life. Fortunately for you savvy investors, there is often deep meaning is such spectacular stupidity.

If ridiculous looking numbers don't signal a top to an overheated market, ridiculous sounding words do. And when, in this case, there are ridiculous numbers attached to ridiculous words -- in other words we hit a double play of idiocy and right in a headline --well, without further ado I bring to you this beauty from Tuesday's

Business Week

Web site:

Oil Hits $129, Heads for $130

Where to start? With the automatic, implicit assumption that we will go up before down? Perhaps.

Or the notion that you need a journalist to help you think out the fact that $130 comes after $129.

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Or the ridiculously small ball nature of the thought, whatever you think of it, because $1, after all, is less than 1%. At least when we've had ridiculous claims of soaring prices in the past (I'm thinking famous calls of


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) it was down with some panache, some drama. The numbers were set high, at least. Not, uh, one tick higher.

Make sure your wig is clipped to your head, because more dopiness ensued on BW's pages, and we'll give it a quick review.

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Here is a prominent quote: "I keep making projections, and they keep turning out to be too low," said Darin Newsom, senior analyst at market analysis provider DTN.

Well, uh, talk about a low projection on the high side. Look at your own headline. The same analyst was soon quoted:

"When does market psychology cross over to mob psychology? It's obviously a bit hard to tell for certain, but fortunately craziness like this starts making it easier."

He, of course, was not referring to the headline. But he could have been. Pinning a top is no science, but if history has taught us anything it's that when upside projections get kooky in one way or another, we are nearing a top.

We are then treated to what is sounding like a prescient quote, especially if you substitute the first money for headlines and the second for reality.

"It's a runaway market at this point," said Fred Rozell, retail pricing director at the Oil Price Information Service. "I think it's just money chasing money."

Don't think

Business Week

was alone in the obsessively kooky oil projection headline department. Over at


early Wednesday morning, they had a vast collection of headlines projection higher oil prices. One about a Goldman analyst who is looking for $200 a barrel, one about T. Boone Pickens shouting out $150 and unlucky third about the coming $12 a gallon oil and rationing.

Look: we're not just talking the fate of


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here, but


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and the rest of the companies impacted by oil prices, which is to say most. And these headlines are looking kooky, which is an indication we are nearing the top of the oil market. Remember that The Business Press Maven

called the top of merger mania

with the same unscientific approach in articles like these that examined the extent of the kooky coverage:

And with the oil market, we've now officially entered la-la land.

At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page. For his "Business Press Maven? column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Fuchs appreciates your feedback;

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