MLB analysis vs. the financial press

…actually, sports commentary in general, not just baseball. But it was while I was watching the Mets-Phillies series over the weekend, I was struck by the high quality of of the commentators. In this case, Ron Darling, with play-by-play by Gary Cohen. Darling, a former Mets pitcher, was an All-Star, Gold Glove winner and World Series champion. The third member of the crew is Keith Hernandez, a 5-time All Star, MVP winner and 2-time World Series champion. In addition to being deeply knowledgeable, the three are very analytical and articulate.

At around the same time, I happened to be reading a featured article in the financial press. Although couched in perhaps and maybe terms, its thrust is that the US stock market is substantially overvalued today. How so? Stocks were correctly priced three years ago. The US economy is in rockier shape now than it was then, yet stocks are a third higher .

This conclusion may turn out to be correct. Still, there’s not a whole lot of nuance to the supporting argument. There is a nod to the fact that the US indices contain exposure to non-US economies, but not, I think, to the reality that about half the S&P eps total comes from abroad (note: this is most likely a really bad thing right now). And, as is the case in most/all places with stock markets, huge swaths of the US economy have little/no direct representation in public trading–housing, autos, government come to mind. Publicly traded companies tend, generally speaking, to be the best and the brightest.

Nor is discounting addressed–whether market participants have correctly anticipated future company developments, good or bad, and already factored these into current prices. Same thing about the relationship between stocks and bonds–what level of interest rates does a 17x multiple imply?

Anyway, it struck me as revealing that we expect seasoned pros in the broadcast booth but are satisfied in the financial arena by and large with commentators who have never played the game.

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