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Smart money

[ 2009-06-05 13:25]     字号 [] [] []  
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Smart moneyReader question:

What does this sentence – With US financial markets under their most severe stress in years, if not decades, the smart money was on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates on Sept. 16 (Business Week, September 16, 2008) – mean? And particularly “smart money”?

My comments:

The sentence says simply most people expected the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates.

“Smart money” is a term I believe to have been derived from gambling. In horse racing for example, punters (gamblers) take bets on difference horses to win the race. And they base their bets on past records (which horses have won) and so forth and put their money on a horse they or most people expect to win. And this money is “smart money”, a wise investment.

Therefore, if the smart money is on Horse A to win, it simply means Horse A is favored (considered most likely to win).

The smart money, for example, was on Rafael Nadal to win the on-going French Open tennis at Roland Garros. That one was an easy pick, for after all Nadal had won the last four French titles in a row.

However, it was not to be as the Spaniard was upset in the fourth round by a young Swedish unknown in Robin Soderling.

Well, that’s the way it is – nobody wins for ever. In other words, smart money isn’t always smart, i.e. predictions by analysts, experts, insiders, pundits, spin masters or the so-called informed sources aren’t always right – they can’t always be right, just like weather forecasts can’t always be right.

Anyways, it’s always best to examine real examples:


1.    Another chance forBlackpool?

Gambling policy is a risky business.

Those with moral objections to betting can finally draw some comfort from the government’s plans to bring new casinos to Britain. As events this week confirmed, the enterprise has been a clear lesson in the perils of gambling.

In January the smart money was on Britain’s first ever super-casino being given to Blackpool, a gaudy, bawdy Victorian seaside town in the north-west of England, which is in sore need of a dash of glamour. Instead, the government’s independent selection panel chose nearby Manchester, a boomtown of the 1990s that bookies had deemed a rank outsider.

- An unexpected spin of the wheel, the Economist, March 21st, 2007.


2. In the lean years that followed, Apple learned the hard way what it had lost as a result of Jobs’exile from Cupertino. Mismanaged by a series of increasingly feckless CEOs, Apple began slouching toward mediocrity. You would be hard-pressed to date the decline, but the company lost its wow factor. There wasn’t much of a future in being a ho-hum computer maker with an increasingly small share of the market. Soon, the smart money was betting that Apple wouldn’t even survive.

Apple’s revival began only after Jobs was brought back with the early 1997 acquisition of Next. It wasn’t an overnight turnaround, but Jobs exploited his rock star notoriety to the maximum. It helped turn the trick. In time, the product pipeline got replenished with a flow of eMacs, iMacs, Mac Minis and iPods. Apple had regained its groove.

Smart money

- Perspective: Apple’s secret sauce, CNET News.com, March 28, 2006.


3. A new Wendy’s advertising campaign now hitting the airwaves tells fast-food fans to Do Wendys. Do what tastes right.

Behind the scenes, two high-powered investment groups are buying up Wendy’s shares because they want, simply, to do what makes money.

Owning Wendys is just following the smart money, says John LaForge of the Sarasota, Fla.-based SRQ Capital Management. He has watched influential activist investors take positions in Wendys over the past few months and followed them into the stock - hoping they will work some magic at the fast-food chain.

- Follow the smart money to Wendy's, Moneycentral.msn.com, July 5, 2005.


4. On a busy street outside the staid London betting parlor known as Corals, it’s business as usual in Spice World. In England, where girls still dream of growing up to be Sporty or Posh, the sight of three 10-year-old towheads with their hair tied in Baby Spice pigtails singing “Tell me what you want, what you really, really want” is as Brit as Big Ben.

But inside Corals, something odd is happening: Elderly men in smoking jackets want a few things from the Spice Girls too. (And no, it’s not that.) These days the hottest action at Corals, where betting usually revolves around soccer and horses, is predicting the exact moment in which the decade’s most successful girl group will self-destruct.

The smart money says the answer is very soon indeed.

- The Spice Girls face slowing album sales and a fickle public, Entertainment Weekly, December 12, 1997.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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