Weighing the Week Ahead: What Determines the Agenda for Investment News?

The economic calendar is one of the lightest, and a long holiday weekend impends. How will this news vacuum be filled? Probably with celebrity news, following the latest tweets, analyzing any new Democrats running for President, and interviews with B-level guests. Rather than guessing which of these will dominate – an exercise in futility – I will take the suggestion of a wise reader. He encouraged me to choose what I thought was most important. That was good advice. We should all be asking:

What determines the agenda for investment news?

Last Week Recap

In last week’s installment of WTWA, I noted the big economic calendar and the abundance of news. My surprising conclusion was that there was a stalemate on all fronts. The tweeting and news-driven market moves continued, but there was little real change. Briefing.com’s “The Big Picture” summarized the week as follows:

The more things change, the more they stay the same for the stock market


The week we just had will wear out a person, especially a market analyst like your author who is tasked with analyzing and explaining the daily twists and turns of the stock market. To be sure, there were a lot of twists and turns this week on the same road to nowhere.

The mounting evidence shows the widespread negative effect of the trade war. This is a real-time lesson in economics for many. I cut through the noise with an investor-oriented summary of the trade situation in a post on Friday. It is a recap of action to date, some of the economic effects, and what to watch for. And of course – your political opinions, no matter how righteous and valid, do not improve your ability for level-headed analysis.

For those who need good background on the story, CFR has a good backgrounder by Andrew Chatzky. There are also links to other current articles. Reading this is a much better use of your time this week than watching financial news!

The Story in One Chart

I always start my personal review of the week by looking at a great chart. This week I am featuring Jill Mislinski’s picture replacing many words, showing the week and a longer-term perspective.

The chart shows a gain on the week, but that was only after the gap decline in Monday’s opening. The week-to-week decline was 0.7%. The trading range for the week was 3.2%. The resulting volatility is recorded, as always, in our weekly indicator snapshot.