Philosophy of Wall Street: Putting the Market In Its Place

Philosophy of Wall Street is an occasional feature that will include interesting, 30,000-foot views from Wall Streeters that I talk with.

Today I interviewed John Hailer, the president of Natixis Asset Management. I asked him what he thought of the markets this week and the focus on the stock market. He said, and I agree, that there is entirely too much focus on daily stock prices. Here's what caught my ear:

I don't think the stock market is an indicator of the U.S. economy or even the global economy. I think it's an indicator of people buying and selling and trading stocks....we have to get back to looking at the long term, not just in investing but in the corporate world. I mean, we have corporate CEOs looking at their stock prices on a daily basis, and on a quarterly basis. How do you build a company that way? You can't.

We have to start looking at long-term sustainable value, and that's what's lacking right now. It's really about: what's your long-term investment horizon? What are the long-term goals of your portfolio? You can look at the stock market as fun news, but you can't worry about it every day. It's kind of like the baseball season. How many games do they play every day? So don't get worked up in April.

About the author

Heidi N. Moore is The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor. She was formerly the New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace.

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