Media News

It’s time to retire stock market metaphors from coverage

March 16, 2022

Posted by Chris Roush

Jeremy Olshan, who is leaving where he was editor in chief to become personal finance editor at The Wall Street Journal, writes about how stock market metaphors hurt investors.

Olshan writes, “The language and imagery we use to talk about markets matters. In one of my first columns after becoming editor of this site in 2014, I said we were banning photos of traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange because these ‘human emoji’ no longer reflected the modern reality of a market divorced from the physical space of Wall Street.

“I shouldn’t have stopped there. So in this, my final column for MarketWatch, I think it’s time to retire the roller coaster as an illustration of volatility, because the metaphor is a mediocre visual joke that’s unfair to both amusement parks and markets.

“We lean on the rides to convey turbulence, because the hills, twists and inversions seem like stock charts drawn in real life, and the rides, like markets, induce anxiety, adrenaline, and enough G forces to empty your pockets or make you lose your lunch. So what’s wrong with these images? To explore this question, I reached out to two uniquely qualified experts on the subject: 1. A professor of business and psychology who has studied how market metaphors impact the decisions investors make. And 2. A roller-coaster designer.”

Read more here.

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