Sentiment, Schmentiment

Everybody’s worried about surveys these days. Consumer sentiment, inflation expectations, voter leanings—seems that you can’t eat dinner without a canvasser calling up and asking your opinion.

The obvious question is, why. Why do pollsters care about my political views? Why should a government statistician care whether my neighbor is depressed about the economy? In theory, plans and intentions lead behavior. But life is messy. And theory rarely works.

Consider farmers: their incomes have increased dramatically, and many of them intend to upgrade their equipment this winter after the harvest comes in. But if a flood or hailstorm intervenes, those plans are gonna change mighty fast.

That’s why I much prefer hard numbers to surveys and sentiment. If I want to really know how my buddy feels, I can look at what he’s buying. And if he’s loading the boat with a new TV or ATV, you can bet that times are pretty good.

So far the hard data show a middling course. They sure don’t indicate the doom and gloom of the surveys.


Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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By | 2014-09-03T19:58:40+00:00 July 2nd, 2008|Global Market Update|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Tengdin is the Chief Investment Officer at Charter Trust Company and author of “The Global Market Update”. The audio version of each post can be heard on radio stations throughout New England every weekday. Mr. Tengdin graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude. He received his Master of Arts from Trinity Divinity School, Magna Cum Laude and received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1992. Mr. Tengdin has been managing investment portfolios for over 30 years, working for Bank of Boston, State Street Global Advisors, Citibank – Tunisia, and Banknorth Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Tengdin has emphasized helping clients manage their financial risks in difficult environments where they can profit from investing in diverse assets in diverse settings. - Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all! - And Follow me on Twitter @GlobalMarketUpd

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