Practical analysis for investment professionals
08 January 2015

Poll: Is the 24/7 Financial News Cycle More Signal or Noise?

Posted In: Economics

Is the 24/7 financial news cycle more signal or noise? When we addressed this question to CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief readers, an overwhelming 84% of 847 respondents voted that it is generally more noise than signal.

The poll results read as an indictment of nonstop financial news. There is no denying that 24/7 news is generally offered by competing for-profit corporations, and the news cycle has been criticized, not unlike junk food, for trying to exploit our behavioral weaknesses.

Is the 24/7 financial news cycle more signal or noise?

In general, is 24/7 news from financial news outlets a signal or noise for investment decisions?

Writing about news and investing in his 2005 book Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Taleb said, “The problem with information is not that it is diverting and generally useless, but that it is toxic. . . . If there is anything better than noise in the mass of ‘urgent’ news pounding us, it would be like a needle in a haystack. . . . It takes a huge investment in introspection to learn that thirty or more hours spent ‘studying’ the news last month neither had any predictive ability . . . nor did it impact your current knowledge of the world.” Beware the avid followers of financial news!

Do you want to participate in future polls? Sign up for the CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief.

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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.


About the Author(s)
Usman Hayat, CFA

Usman Hayat writes about sustainable, responsible, and impact investing and Islamic finance. He is the lead author of "Environmental, Social, and Governance Issues in Investing: A Guide for Investment Professionals," and the literature review, "Islamic Finance: Ethics, Concepts, Practice." He is interested in online learning and has directed three e-courses for CFA Institute: "ESG-100," "Islamic Finance Quiz," and "Residual Income Equity Valuation." The other topics he writes about are macroeconomics and behavioral finance. Previously, he was a content director at CFA Institute. He is a former executive director at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). He has experience working in securities regulation and as an independent consultant. His qualifications include the CFA charter, the FRM designation, an MBA, and an MA in Development Economics. His personal interests are reading and hiking.

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