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From the Managing Editor

Even in the best of times, reporting on the stock market is a bit like covering crime. And when the markets fall, reports turn into veritable whodunits. Yet there is one critical difference.

Rohit Saran | Print Edition: February 21, 2008

Even in the best of times, reporting on the stock market is a bit like covering crime. And when the markets fall, reports turn into veritable whodunits. There is always a culprit or two (events or individuals), there are victims, there is high drama and emotions, there are regulators talking (if not acting) like the police and there are speculations galore. There are new twists and turns every day, which make for screaming headlines and breaking news.

Yet there is one critical difference. While reporting on a crime, the press cannot call a suspect the culprit till the facts of the case have been established in a court of law. Till then all the suspects are “alleged” culprits. Stock market reporting subjects itself to no such obligation. Irrespective of the scale of the bloodbath on the markets, the media is quick to name the culprits and establish the cause. Readers or listeners are treated to an indistinguishable mix of diagnosis and prognosis, which is made even more confusing by liberal portions of projections and “expert” views.

For magazine like ours, all this makes writing on stock markets challenging and exciting. It starts with tracking events from the Nikkei to North Block, deciphering it all for the retail investor and then taking a call on whether what we have got is relevant for the readers for the two weeks that we will be on the newsstands, and beyond that.

What added to the excitement and the challenge this time is the fact that small investors (Money Today’s core readers) didn’t get panicky and were discounting the market’s biggest single day crash as an opportunity to buy, rather than sell, stocks. So, we asked ourselves if we should then bother covering markets at all. As the cover story of this week proves, the answer was yes. For although investors weren’t panicking, they were confused about what really halted the dream run of wealth creation on the markets. How long prices will remain volatile.

And, most important, which stocks to buy and which ones to get out of. Our package attempts to answer these questions. In shaping the package, we have assumed that you remember the key lessons from our past big stories on stock markets, all of which remain as relevant today as they were when we wrote them. The four cover stories that we would particularly recommend are depicted on this page. If you don’t have a copy of these past issues handy, check them out at the archives section of our website.

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