Betting on the Market

Press Reactions

From Los Angeles Times
By Tom Petruno

"If you're already fearful about your financial future, PBS' FRONTLINE presentation tonight, "Betting on the Market," is like a big dose of anti-Prozac: You're bound to feel much worse after these 60 minutes are up.

With the help of 'average' investors and some of the Wall Street's most quotable denizens--including Fidelity mutual funds' Peter Lynch, Money magazine's Jordan Goodman and author Peter Bernstein--the program paints the public's love affair with stocks as a hopelessly dysfunctional one."

".......there is plenty to appreciate in this program. Its weakness is that it is heavily tilted toward the bears' side, which is that the public and the mutual fund industry are fueling a gigantic market bubble that will, sooner rather than later, burst and maim most investors.

From San Francisco Chronicle
By John Carman

"Let's talk scary TV. The X-Files? A day in the park. Millennium? Get serious. No, the year's most frightening TV show is a FRONTLINE documentary tonight.

"...FRONTLINE's bearish tilt includes concerns about the growing influence of the mutuals and their powerful managers. Some seismic corporate moves, such as mergers and massive layoffs, may be triggered by pressure from fund managers, who themselves are under constant pressure to protect the prices of stocks in their care. It's practically an aside in the program, but in effect FRONTLINE' is asking who 's really running corporate America.

This is a program that Wall Street won't enjoy. As for middle-class investors, the best consolation comes from Jim Grant of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, who says that 'people should expect the stock market to deliver good returns over time.'

From Sacramento Bee
By Kirk Nicewonger

"I scream, you scream, we all scream--not for ice cream but for another 100 shares of Microsoft.

Left giddy by a phenomenal bull market, record numbers of Americans are speculating in stocks. People who not long ago couldn't even find the business section are now hunched over stock tables and circling their latest sections.

But can this euphoria be sustained? And if not, what happens to all those who have so confidently rushed into a marketplace where their parents feared to tread? The answers may not be pretty, as seen in "Betting on the Market," a timely and scary FRONTLINE.

From The New York Times
By Walter Goodman

"...a zestful yet cautionary look at the go-go bullishness that has come over the nation in the 1990's.

Based on "A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class," by Joe Nocera of Fortune magazine, who also does the reporting, the hour captures the frenetic pace and high stakes of the financial game as it is now being played. The focus is on the allure that superstar mutual-fund wizards have for the baby boom generation." a particularly bearish image, an analyst compares the market to a savage beast: 'Every once in a while, it will remind you suddenly, maybe by taking your hand off, that it is not the pet that you think it is.' Which sounds like a way of advising investors or gamblers to keep at least one hand and some money in a pocket."

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