Fox contributor Tobin Smith apparently failed to realize that he was supposed to make his profit on the pump from price movements, not directly:
Most investors can’t tell the difference between “sponsored investment research” and independent analysis, and that’s exactly what the “sponsors” — typically small companies paying for a marketing campaign that will inflate their stock activity and value — are counting on.
The difference gets even tougher to figure out when the sponsor hires someone who is known for giving independent commentary colored only by their own feelings and research. Think of it like a big honking commercial, with a celebrity endorser.
Last week, that bought-and-paid for stock endorsement was a 20-page mailer about Petrosonic Energy, supported by an e-mail campaign, featuring Tobin Smith, a money manager who has been a fixture on the television news shows for 15 years, and who is a regular on the Fox networks, describing himself on Twitter as a “guest anchor.” According to Fox, he is “a contributing market analyst for FOX News Channel and a regular panelist on ‘Bulls & Bears.’” (Fox, like MarketWatch, is owned by News Corp.)
While investors might have ordinarily treated the “special edition” of the new Next Big Thing Investor newsletter — Smith’s latest, just-started investment newsletter — like junk mail or spam, Smith’s name and his smiling, personable countenance had some investors doing a double-take, at least judging from the e-mails I received on the subject.
The people who contacted me considered buying the stock entirely based on Smith’s say-so, and the credibility he exudes in his Fox appearances. They didn’t appear to read the disclaimers of the campaign; had they bothered, they would have quickly found it was paid advertising for which Smith’s company pocketed $50,000.
The thing is, there is absolutely no difference between what Smith did and what Kudlow, Cramer, Bartiromo, and all the other financial news analysts do. They’re all paid to try to sucker people into the stock market and they all benefit from seeing prices rise as the suckers create churn. I’ve never seen a study on this, and it has been a LONG time since I bothered watching what purports to pass for the financial stuff, but I would assume that there are probably 10 “buy” recommendations for every “sell” recommendation.
It’s not analysis, it’s cheerleading, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with economic realities or what the purported purpose of a stock market is. The whole thing is a Fed-inflated casino, which is why “investors” are all breathlessly waiting today to see if Helicopter Ben is going to keep the party going another quarter.