Trade as I Say, Not as I trade

Business news network CNBC said yesterday that it would severely limit ownership of individual stocks and bonds among its employees. Other than holding stock in GE itself (the owner of CNBC), CNBC managers and on-air staff are not allowed to own anything, other than mutual funds and such things.

That is a silly overreaction. Like the whole question of analysts touting stocks, is it better if you talk up stocks you own, or ones you don’t? The former makes you look like a self-interested sort with the courage of your convictions; the latter makes you look like a disinterested waffler who doesn’t believe his or her own supposed opinions.

The decision, such as it is, doesn’t apply to all CNBC employees. If you merely apply makeup or hairspray to guests then you’re free and clear to own individual securities, but you will not be allowed to own more. Am I the only one thinking we’ll soon see Joe Kernen with “Go CSCO!” sprayed into his fluffy hair?