As a general rule, we try to stay current and topical for weekly blog posts while letting our monthly articles cover evergreen topics with a broader scope and higher research requirements. When scouring news sources for weekly blog topics, we also try to look for topics which are relevant to the investing environment or overall economy. So - Let’s play a little game. Let’s consider the highly cited news sources to consider which ones actually suggest economic direction, industry direction, and the likely investment outcomes.
Here are the headlines of news stories at the top of my business & investment news search as of 12:42pm on 10/29/2018. Here are the headlines; in the order they are presented.
News Story #1 – IBM is buying Red Hat
News Story #2 – Cause of Indonesian Plane crash still a mystery
News Story #3 – Wal-Mart-owned Sam’s Club is opening a cashier-less store in Texas
News Story #4 – Marijuana Smell Lawsuit that could Endanger Colorado Pot Biz goes to Trial
News Story #5 – US Consumer Spending rises; income gain smallest in 15 months.
I look at this list and I have to give a sigh of disappointment in whatever computer algorithm is designating “top” stories or not.
Some of these stories are assuredly important. For instance, Red Hat has been a cultural outlier in terms of its business model, its open architecture ethos, partnerships with other vendors, and dedication to consulting & service over hardware sales. IBM’s purchase of Red Hat is a big deal, but network-architects and UNIX system administrators are much better suited to tell you why this is important. In contrast, the story linked from the headline focuses on potential competing offers from Google and the valuation boosts elsewhere in the technology sector.
On the other hand, the second link is barely news at all. Reporting, “there is no new information” is not, in and of itself, new information and therefore not news. (If the report did constitute new information, would that create a paradox?)
For my money, the most important story on the list is at the bottom, News Story #5 – Consumer Spending rises, but income gain smallest in 15 months. This concise article from Reuters clarifies the timing impact of last year’s tax-cut package and has interesting factoids, like economist polls, and an entire subsection on rising inflation. For my money, it’s the most relevant article for investors, industry, and market observers.