Rationalizing Daily Stock Moves Is a Fool's Errand

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here's the way it is supposed to work: the news makes the stock price. In other words, whatever events and factors are occurring out there in the real world push a stock higher or lower. Here's the way it really works: the stock price makes the news. In other words, the stock moves -- and the media scurries about collecting events and factors to justify it.

This was never clearer than with Apple ( AAPL). Yesterday, we spoke about how the stock had ticked down for five straight days. The media, in turn, attached specific reasons for the move, with nearly comical results. Almost every media outlet offered a single news event as cause -- and it was often a totally different event from other media outlets. Some said the stock was reacting to mini iPad rumors. Others said the stock was plummeting on rampant worries over carriers cutting subsidies. Others said analysts' comments were to blame and -- well, you get the picture.

But that was then. In yesterday's trading session, Apple -- wouldn't you know it -- skyrocketed 5.1 percent. Once again, though, the stock movement set the media on a search for a news event.

But the news -- in one day's time -- was totally different.

Bloomberg said the stock went up because two analysts said positive things. The Wall Street Journal credited the macro picture, including relief over Spain's borrowing costs. Other media outlets -- well, you get the picture.

The point is, the stock was probably down because it had run up nearly 50 percent this year. Yesterday, it was up because the "down" was overdone. But when you go through life letting daily stock movements dictate the news, you sound silly and confused.
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; click here to send him an email.

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