While chilling in the campo in the sleepy San Juan area of the much maligned “party island” of Ibiza I was glad of the absence of scrotal media for a change. No Brexit, no Boris, no chaos, no satellite TV, no English newspapers, just muy tranquillo and the odd gambas ajillo washed down by bottles of verdejo or albarino. Algo mas? Magic.
And I managed to catch up with my Hong Kong correspondent Mr Hu, and over the odd muse or two we discussed the never ending stuff that typically intrudes our mailboxes day after day. Stuff that purports to be financial analysis but is most probably pumped out by what nerds call AI…the acronym for Artificial Intelligence. (I always think of Intelli tubbies for some unknown reason).
Anyway , Mr Hu reckons that once you analysed (there’s anal again!) these Google “ financial articles” you come to realise that AI and not HB (human being) has delivered them to our overloaded mailboxes. So, dear readers, if like me you thought that QE was a big ship and that Tobins Q was a song by Creedence Clearwater Revival, here’s what Mr Hu said to enlighten me on the minutiae of investment mumbo jumbo indicators and ratios dumped in our overstressed digital direction.
If it’s all Greek to you don’t worry. Neither Mr Hu or I took to Nana Mouskouri or the singing tent. He said he liked Sharpe Ratios and that you couldn’t beat a good Fibonacci, preferably with a side salad. Mr Hu’s education was like his stomach and mine- well rounded. A bit of Latin here, a pinch of maths, garnish of physics, a liberal dose of German, et voila, everything a budding investor needs.
But he reckons he’d missed out on a few economic ingredientsia from the artificial intelligentsia, but shared with me a list of metrics and ratios he’d found in the AI-generated analyses sent to his inbox, and added the true definition for good measure:
Schaff Trend Cycle—When you can’t tell the wheat from the schaff
Aroon Down Level—First devised by Jules McVerne and published in Aroon the World in 80 days
Piotroski F-Score What an English supporter shouts when the fitba team loses to Poland (again)
ERP5 rank Where to locate a taxi in Edinburgh
Montier C-Score- The original scooter music written for the Monteverdi Vespers.
The Balance of Power signal—When the referee decides the scrum’s going nowhere and orders a reset.
The Awesome Oscillator signal – Only used in Bull Markets, as in “How did the markets do today”
The SuperTrend Indicator- a line drawn on a graph by analysts to support a BUY recommendation. This line never slopes down.
An Ichmoku Kinko Hyo Chart- Japanese equivalent of the Kama Sutra.
Now if you think these names are made up, Mr Hu has to disappoint you. They are all genuine terms of mumbo jumbo , and it struck him that there’s precious little mention of cash flow or profitability. Funnily simple indicators like that have gone out of fashion. As has common sense.
Finally Mr Hu’s personal favourite analytical tool is the ISIHAC ratio. Which stands for “I’m Sorry I haven’t A Clue”
I reckon he’s on a winner there.
Alan Steel is chairman of Alan Steel Asset Management
Alan Steel Asset Management is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This article contains the personal views of Alan Steel and should not be construed as advice. Do check your individual circumstances with your advisers.