Mike on America

'Froth' In The Markets And Make Mine A Grande

I have been driving for a few hours on I-85 in North Carolina, heading from Charlotte to Durham. I'm standing in line at a roadside Starbucks and the guy behind me is kind enough to tell me how much he enjoys the 'Mike On America' segments. I'm lucky, it happens often. And then he asks me a question that sets me to thinking.

'What is 'froth'?' he wants to know.


I ask him what he means. He says he's a small business guy, has started a few companies, spends allot of time on the road, and with his satellite radio manages to listen to CNBC pretty regularly. He's got a 'portfolio' of sorts he says, and he considers himself a 'main stream' 'investor type'. So, what's 'froth'? he asks again. Now I've got to admit I don't get much of a chance to watch our 'air', or for that matter too many other television channels. When I'm not on the road, I'm in the air. But this fella says we've (CNBC) have spent allot of time talking about 'froth' in the markets. And he says we've been very excited about it. Very 'breathy'. Almost agitated.

Oh, I say, I get it. You mean like when you watch the Weather Channel and they sound almost disappointed when the hurricane DOESN'T hit a populated area. Or when the 'snow storm of the century' isn't. 'Froth' is apparently CNBC's 'hurricane'. I'm sure it's all very exciting on Wall Street, and no doubt worthy of breathy coverage on all fronts.

But the one thing that I've discovered by NOT being around the markets daily, but rather being out here 7 days a week, is that folks on Main Street are a lot less excited about the daily ups and downs than those of us on TV are. It's natural I guess, but it's good to get this perspective occasionally too. It's just amazing how perceptive these 'main stream' 'investor types' are, without our help.

That whole 'psychology' of the markets stuff is pretty interesting too. Not from an investment standpoint, but more from a 'human' standpoint. I'm convinced if six guys on 'the street' eat at the same burrito stand on Monday and end up with indigestion, we'll all see it reflected in the market the next day. And on TV it'll be reflected as 'froth'.

Oh..hey..it's my turn to order... 'Let's see, I'll have a grande non-fat vanilla latte with extra froth....uh..I mean foam.' 'Same thing,' the guy behind me says.

MOA is in Florida the rest of the week. Have a frappuccino and cool off.

Questions?  Comments?  mikeonamerica@nbcuni.com