Can PR move the markets?

Bill Lane, erstwhile speechwriter for Jack Welch and author of ‘Jacked up,’ thinks speeches and articlesWelch
can move the markets.

In his kiss-and-tell book, Lane points to at least two occasions where his words moved GE’s stock price. The first came about as a result of a Welch speech to analysts. The second followed a USA Today article that lifted key words and phrases from a Welch annual report letter. The speech and letter were written by Lane.

Claiming that PR moves markets is a slippery slope. PR certainly had a huge impact on day traders during those Wild West dotcom days. But, that was pure hype and, as we all know, pretty much a joke.

I do think public relations can have a profound impact on financial analysts’ thoughts and feelings about a publicly-traded company. And, those feelings could, in fact, result in a ‘buy’ recommendation that moves the stock. But, as Peppercom Editorial Director and former Wall Street Journal Editor Gene Colter is quick to point out, “It’s a company’s operational excellence (or lack thereof) that moves a market. Period.”

I’ll stick with Colter and distance myself from Lane when it comes to PR moving markets. Plus, I doubt any words I’ve written or will write will ever appear on an analysts’ radar screen.

One thought on “Can PR move the markets?

  1. I agree with Lane. If a CEO of any Fortune 50 company were to give a speech tomorrow and predict a rise or fall in future earnings, market demand, etc., the stock of the company – and possibly even the entire sector – would move as a direct result.
    Yes, business fundamentals are key and operational excellence is what generates long-term, positive growth of a stock. But markets are always hanging on the words of CEOs and reacting to how they describe current and future market conditions.