What happens when you talk markets on Facebook

Many are bullish on gold – but are they putting their money where their mouths are? (Source: Getty)

What do you do when everyone is active on Facebook except you? You get with the programme. How do you do that? You (naively) say yes to going live for your company on Facebook to “do a little Q&A session on the markets”.

What happens then? First you freak out as you discover how “personal” it suddenly feels (vulnerability comes in many guises, especially for those of us who, believe it or not, might naturally be a bit shy).

Next you freak out again as you realise you’re talking about small unimportant things... like global stock markets (many of which are in bear market territory). Like the unapologetic surge in the Japanese yen, taking it to fresh 16 month highs. Like the super unexpected move by the Swedish Riksbank to take rates further into negative territory. Like what the message was in Fed chair Janet Yellen’s congressional testimony. Like whether that tone should change. Like what central banks around the world are doing. Like banking stocks being thrown to the pigs (were they ever pearls?). Like the ridiculous plonk lower in the US 10-year Treasury yield. Like whether this means a recession is around the corner, as a massively flattening yield curve traditionally does.

But somewhere in between, that’s when the magic happens. That’s when you start discovering how lots and lots of people are reacting during bonanza market moves.

This is where Murphy’s Law comes in (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong). While I was very busy figuring out how live Facebook works, gold suddenly went nuts, jumping from around $1,200 per troy ounce to over $1,250, completely catching everyone off guard. Many of you, it turns out, continue to be gold bulls – at least according to the live messages you were sending me (but is your money where your mouth is?). You also continue to be buyers of the safe and “boring” (read: no yield) stuff. And, once again, markets completely caught me unawares, with the massive drop in the US 10-year Treasury yield, taking it from 1.62 per cent to 1.56 per cent during our live little Facebook chat, causing me to question whether I was looking at the right charts (I was).

Incidentally, speaking of big moves, I spoke to Robin Griffiths, chief technical strategist at the ECU Group (and who, as it happens, has also sailed across the Atlantic no less than eight times). He says that, while we are in a bear market, we’re still in for a massive rally starting this week. In charting the Dow, he says that the rally has the potential to retrace half of the 2009 bull run, but that it will end promptly “Wednesday 23 March, after lunch”. So you may want to make a note of that.

Back to the live-on-Facebook experience, a third thing that happens to you while you are talking to yourself is that your subconscious takes over. Your stream of thought becomes your expressions. “Check out these crazy bananas” might not be the most used phrase to describe banking stocks dropping 10 to 15 per cent in a session. Or “fasc-in-the-nating” to describe the drop in yields. But that’s how the popcorn pops in this newby-Facebooker’s head.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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