Post it, or take it at source

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 August, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 August, 2000, 12:00am

Our 'Cheek of the Month' award goes to FIA Business News Briefing.

Those initials stand for 'Financial Intelligence Agency'.

They put out a newsletter on the markets. We've been browsing their Hong Kong summary.

It features the usual neat lines of market figures. However, there's also a touch of text.

A few concise paragraphs summarise the Hang Seng Index's day.

Very useful.

But we couldn't help but notice the source cited at the bottom of the blurb. The information had been lifted from this very newspaper.

Well, fair enough. They did credit us, after all.

And under that summary, there's another chunk of text.

That one is headed 'B-Share Indices' and again, the FIA people concede that it was taken from the pages of the South China Morning Post.

So that just leaves all those numbers.

Where did they come from?

'Index figures from the South China Morning Post ', readers are informed.

Hmm. So is there anything in this Hong Kong summary that didn't harken from the Post ?

After some searching, Lai See 's keen eye managed to ferret out a few lines of small print that FIA appeared to have come up with on their own.

They were words of warning.

'No part of this work covered by the publisher's copyright may be reproduced in any form by any means,' it cautioned.

Too right, too. There are far too many copycats out there.

They also say that they can't be held responsible for any mistakes that appear in their publication.

We should think not.

On the case: The men at the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis want you to know something.

Size matters.

They shared this insight in the latest issue of their institution's quarterly magazine.

It seems people have been eyeing up United States Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan's briefcase for clues on the fate of interest rates.

Some traders have developed a theory on the subject: If the briefcase is packed, rates will rise. If it's slim, they will stay the same or fall.

Reuters tells us some television networks even cut into their regular programming to show live footage of Mr Greenspan carrying his briefcase to the meetings. Financial Web sites display pictures of the briefcase on the days in question.

But St Louis Fed vice-president William Gavin and research associate Rachel Mandal say briefcase size has nothing to do with economic performance.

'It's not the size of the briefcase that matters, but the type and quality of the information found inside,' they insist, adding that the briefcase the money chief carried to the May meeting was 'the thinnest in years', even though that meeting saw the sharpest increase in five years.

Hmm. We're not sure if we accept the validity of all this Greenspan research.

But it makes for an interesting case study.

Signing off: There are a lot of ridiculous signs in the SAR.

But reader David Mycroft just spotted a promising entry for our 'Hong Kong's Most Ridiculous Sign' contest.

He came across it just inside the door of Delifrance's Sheung Wan branch.

'Good job I don't have any shares in the listed entity,' Mr Mycroft remarked after seeing it.

The sign in question was a warning to cafe patrons.

'No eating or drinking', it said.

Lai See actually thinks that's good advice.

Graphic: whee04gbz