Tag Archives: AP
Marek Fuchs of TheStreet.com points out that the business media have begun writing about the housing market as if it’s about to turn around when that may not be the case.
Fuchs wrote, “The Business Press Maven is always highly critical of the business media for allowing a pattern of three to qualify as a trend. But apparently now two can do the deed. The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes blipped up 0.6% in November, following a 0.5% increase in October.
“How did those modest little facts play?
“In its lead, the Associated Press declared that ‘the worst of the downturn for the battered housing market may be over.’ Lower down, it hedges, mentioning those ever-present and always plural ‘analysts’ who say that ‘this year’s slide in housing is starting to bottom out.’ The Business Press Maven seconds that with his first-ever ironclad guarantee. After all, with today being the last business day of the year, the housing market doesn’t have too much longer to slide in 2006.
“Reuters also ushers in a new era of stability, at least on paper (or, more accurately, in pixels), with what passes as reason: Wall Street was wrong, so it is right. ‘The National Association of Realtors said the pace of existing home sales rose 0.6 percent in November to a 6.28 million-unit annual rate, defying Wall Street forecasts for sales to ease slightly and providing the latest suggestion that housing activity was stabilizing after a steep drop.’ The AP even adds vestiges of housing-market insanity, disguised as a qualifier: ‘However, [analysts] cautioned not to expect a sharp rebound.’
“Even the 800-pound gorilla of conventional thought, The Wall Street Journal, got in on the revival act right there in a headline: ‘Home Sales Bode Well for Big Picture: Second Consecutive Rise Points to Limited Fallout From Market Slump in 2007.’ By only the fifth paragraph, we are in the thick of an imaginary scenario: ‘If the housing slump is indeed bottoming out and starts to reverse itself in the months ahead, it would…’
Read more here.
TheStreet.com’s Marek Fuchs writes that headline writers this morning are simply taking Amazon.com’s word for its revenue during the Christmas shopping season.
Fuchs wrote, “Take the headlines written about Monday’s Amazon announcement, which in most cases appear to be just that: headlines superimposed on Amazon’s announcement. In this holy season, I thank God that at least the stock market, which appropriately sent Amazon’s stock down, did not seem to be as fooled as the headline writers were.
“Amazon, it goes without saying but I will, has probably gotten more mileage out of issuing these benchmark-number press releases and having the media take them as something substantial than any other company. Tuesday’s release was no exception to that rule.
“The company said, ‘Amazon.com’s 12th Holiday Season is Best Ever.’
“The wires were soon flooded with regurgitated headlines above stories that were essentially rewrites of the release. But there is only one problem with taking dictation from a company, and it’s that you lose any opportunity to draw any accurate, useful or interesting conclusions for investors. Take the Associated Press’ coverage; if the AP’s headline gives you dÃ©jÃ vu, well, it should: ‘Amazon.com Has ‘Best Ever’ Sales in 2006.’ The subheadline lends undue validity to that benchmark number the company was trafficking in, ignoring for the remainder of the article the interesting aspect of the number: ‘Amazon.com Says 2006 Holiday Shopping Season Peaks With More Than 4M Orders Placed in One Day.’”
Read more here.
TheStreet.com’s Marek Fuchs notes that recent coverage of July retail sales data was all over the place, with some business journalism outlets reporting that sales were affected by the hot weather and others stating the complete opposite.
Fuchs wrote, “Let’s start at the beginning of the alphabet with the Associated Press. They told us that worried retailers got a reprieve in July, ‘scoring solid gains as searing heat in much of the country sent consumers back into the stores in search of summer clothes.’
“Walking this line of thought, you have to believe that people sitting at home in the comfort of central air suddenly rushed out into the heat in order to get tank-tops, whereupon, mission complete, they returned to the comfort of their central air.
“From that idea in the lead, we are then warned later on in the story not to over interpret the month, because it’s one of the least important on the retailing calendar, one in which stores are cleared out to make room for fall lines. Next, an economist told us that high temperatures can be both good and bad for retail.”
Later, Fuchs pointed out, “Speaking of heat stroke, in the middle of the alphabet, MarketWatch was telling us this in a headline: ‘Blazing temperatures damage July retail sales.’
“Remember that lead about people rushing out to shop for summer clothes. Here’s MarketWatch: ‘Scorching temperatures throughout much of the country kept consumers indoors in the final weeks of July, but strength in the first two weeks helped many of the biggest retailers turn in robust sales.’
“Wait, does L come before M? Whoops. Because in the lead to its article, ‘Retail Sales Better Than Expected,’ the Los Angeles Times had something else altogether: ‘Retailers logged sales that were generally better than expected in July as temperatures sizzled and shoppers picked up summertime bargains while cooling themselves in malls.’
“Got that? It wasn’t the cool clothes, but the cool malls.”
Read more here.
The finalists for the Loeb Awards, administered by the UCLA Anderson School of Management, were named in a video conference on Monday by dean Judy D. Olian. There is no press release yet, and I did not catch all of the reporter’s names, but I did get all of the names of the newspapers and media outlets. The webcast can be viewed at http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/
(Updated at 2:27 p.m. EST) A press release is now available here, but the finalists have yet to be posted on the Loeb web site.
The Loeb Awards are considered the Pulitzer Prize of business journalism.
The finalists in the big newspaper category, circulation of more than 400,000, were USA Today, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The Atlanta entry was titled “Borrower beware,” while the WSJ entry was “Taxes and terrorism.” The New York Times’ writer was Barry Meier.
The finalists in the medium newspaper category, circulation between 150,000 and 400,000, were Toledo Blade, Sacramento Bee, Syracuse Post-Standard and Seattle Times. The Blade’s entry was for the rare coin scandal, while the Times’ entry was “Selling drug secrets.”
The finalists in the small newspaper category, circulation of less than 150,000, were the Willamette Week in Portland, Ore., the Allenton Morning Call, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Finalists in the magazine category were Barlett & Steele in Time magazine, Bloomberg Markets, The Economist, Barron’s and Carol Loomis for her story on Hewlett-Packard and ousted CEO Carly Fiorina in Fortune.
Finalists in the commentary category were the Boston Globe, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
Finalists in the deadline category were the New York Times, the New Castle News Journal in Delaware for coverage of the sale of MBNA, the San Jose Mercury News for coverage of Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina’s ouster and the Detroit News.
Finalists in the beat reporting category were the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Press of Newport News, the St. Petersburg Times and the New York Times.
Finalists in the news service/online category were the Associated Press, CNetnews.com, Bloomberg News and TheStreet.com. The Bloomberg entry was “Big pharma’s shameful secret.”
Finalists in the TV deadline category were two entries from CBS News Sunday Morning and one each from ABC News and NBC Nightly News.
Finalists in the TV enterprise category were the ‘NewsHour’ with Jim Lehrer for “China Rising,” WFAA in Dallas, Leslie Stahl and staff of ’60 Minutes’ for “Illegal and Thriving” and ABC News for “11 Wall Street.”
Finalists in the business book category, a new category for 2006, were Thomas B. Friedman’s “The World is Flat,” Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s “Freakonomics” and James Stewart’s “DisneyWar.”
Winners will be announced at the dinner on June 26 in New York.
With new Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke, the investing world has had to learn how to decpiher his public statements and understand what he, and the Federal Open Market Committee, is saying when it announces its rate decisions.
Business journalists, after 17 years of interpreting former chairman Alan Greenspan, now have the same task. Judging by today’s coverage of the Fed’s move to raise interest rates, they’re still trying to figure out what message Bernanke is trying to deliver to the markets, and to consumers. If you look at this afternoon’s coverage, some media reporters conflict with what other media reports are saying. That means, as we saw last week when Bernanke talked to CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo, that the business press has yet to figure out where Bernanke is headed.
MarketWatch reporters Gregg Robb and Rex Nutting write that today’s decision “left the market in the dark about whether it would raise rates again.” Later, they write, “Financial markets were initially disappointed there was not a clearer sign that the Fed would pause in its campaign rates hikes, but gradually warmed to the statement as the day went on.”
Associated Press economics writer Jeannine Aversa came up with the same angle. She wrote that the Fed “suggested what happens next will be much less predictable. Chairman Ben Bernanke and his Fed colleagues left their options wide open to order yet another increase or to take a break in their two-year rate-raising campaign.”
Reuters’ Tim Ahmann, however, leaned in his coverage to the theory that the Fed may pause its rate hikes in the future, noting a “possible rate pause.” He also said that the markets were not happy with the rate hike increase on Wednesday. Ahmann wrote, “While the decision was widely expected, the carefully crafted statement from the FOMC, which was meeting for only the second time under new Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, was a bit more hawkish than financial markets had expected.”
Bloomberg News’ coverage, however, said that the Fed may not be finished with its rate hikes. Scott Lanman wrote, “Additional increases “may yet be needed,” the Fed said, even as the central bank forecasts economic growth to slow from the first quarter’s 4.8 percent annual pace, the fastest in more than two years.”
Meanwhile, the media coverage of the event is also being scrutinized by the traders. Rob Hanna, a principal in a money management firm in Massachusetts, writes that CNBC was making too much of one word in the Fed’s statement.
Hanna wrote, “CNBC seemed to focus on the addition of the word ‘yet’ which changed the beginning of the sentence from ‘further policy firming may be needed’ to ‘further policy firming may yet be needed’. My old English teacher (Ms. Malorek) would say they mean the same thing. If I handed in a paper with ‘yet’ in it, it would come back to me with the word crossed out and a note saying I was being too wordy. In this case there may be a subtle difference, but I basically agree with Ms. Malorek. It isnâ€™t too significant. As a trader, the second part of the sentence is what is of major importance to me.
â€œâ€¦the extent and timing of any such firming will depend importantly on the evolution of the economic outlook as implied by incoming information.â€?
“In other words, they may raise rates again in June. They may not. Itâ€™s going to depend on the data. Since the next meeting is June 28 & 29th, that means there will be plenty of economic data between now and then. It also means that the market will be on data watch. I expect we may see some real whipsaws in the next seven weeks as every big market player suddenly begins doubling as an economist. These whipsaws will likely be nothing but noise, but should create some tradable opportunities. Traders should be on alert.”
John Micklethwait has been named the new editor of 163-year-old magazine The Economist, replacing Bill Emmott. He starts in the new position immediately.
Micklethwait, 43, was appointed the U.S. editor of The Economist in 1999. Before that, he ran the newspaper’s New York bureau for two years, having edited the Business Section of the newspaper for the previous four years. His other roles have included setting up The Economist’s office in Los Angeles, where he worked from 1990 – 1993 and being Media Correspondent.
He has covered business and politics from the United States, Latin America, Continental Europe, Southern Africa and most of Asia. He is a frequent broadcaster and has appeared on CNN, ABC News, BBC, Start the Week and NPR. He is the co-author of “The Witch Doctors”, “A Future Perfect: the Challenge and Hidden Promise of Globalisation” and “The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea” and “The Right Nation”, a study of conservatism in America, with Adrian Wooldridge, also an Economist journalist.
Katharine Seelye of the New York Times writes, “‘Covering America well is an absolute priority for the magazine, not just on the political side but on the business side,’ Mr. Micklethwait said in a brief telephone interview from London after his selection.
“The Economist has bureaus in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco and has just hired what he called a ‘super stringer’ in Austin, Tex. Mr. Micklethwait said he was also contemplating opening more bureaus across the country.”
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Micklethwait being the even-money favorite for the position, according to a British betting house.