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Opinion

Financial markets and the information age

Market participants need to focus on the relevance of information, and not just information for its own sake.

Global financial markets have become a victim of the information age. At the touch of a button we can find out what’s happening any time, any where. We can log on or dial in to every kind of analysis you could possibly need, and then listen to an awful lot more.

Financial markets are in the midst of suffering in the same way that television news was forever changed to its detriment by 24-hour news channels. Instant analysis is only part of the problem. Worse still is the need to fill the air time, which sees stories of little real import reported ad nauseam, dissected down to the last membrane only to be cast aside when the next ‘breaking news’ comes along.

For example, how does the story of a dog stranded on a tree in a flooded town, or a car chase through the streets of LA, make national or in some cases international news? Before 24-hour channels, these stories would have rated little more than a paragraph in the local newspaper.

What does this have to do with financial markets? In our new globalized age, every piece of information can be blown up, magnified and distorted and we lose the true picture.

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