Stock brokers admit they have no idea what any of those numbers mean

Arrow goes up, arrow goes down. You can’t explain that.

Arrow goes up, arrow goes down. You can’t explain that.

Stock brokers at the New Zealand Stock Exchange have today been forced to admit that they have next to no idea about the meaning of any of the numbers flashing back and forth across their screens.

Wellington stock broker Walter Jones was the first to acknowledge his lack of understanding, cracking under pressure when asked by media how record highs on the U.S. stock exchange might influence activity here at home.

“To be honest with you? I-I just… I don’t know. I don’t know what any of this is,” he said, pointing erratically at the screens and numbers on the walls around him.

“So the S&P 500 climbed above 1,900? What does that even mean? What does that number even represent? Is that all the monies in the exchange? $1,900? I mean, that isn’t much.”

Upon hearing Jones’ confession of ignorance, many more stock brokers – previously working vigorously on their phones – decided to come forward.

“I have no idea what I’m doing,” confessed 34-year-old Justin Roberts, on the brink of tears. “People ring me up and I say ‘Do you want to buy some letters?’ and they say ‘Sure’, and then I take their money but I don’t know why.

“I mean I get that some letters cost more than others, but I’ve no idea how it actually works.”

Roberts said he had a “huge” portfolio of stocks, but didn’t know what any of them meant.

“I could be rich, I could be bankrupt. I don’t know, and I don’t want to know.”

Another stock broker, 42-year-old Jack Foster, said he was both disturbed and relieved at how many others knew as little as he did.

“I just assumed everyone else knew what was happening,” he said, “but I guess in retrospect, how could they? I mean, have you tried watching these stock tickers? They go so fast, and there are so many numbers. Who could possibly make sense of it?

“One day this letter is expensive, the next day it isn’t. Arrow goes up, arrow goes down. You can’t explain that.”

Interviews with countless workers around the stock exchange could not locate a single broker or other employee who had any idea how it worked.

When questioned about his brokers’ lack of knowledge, head of the NZSE Tim Bennett said he was “surprised,” and had thought for sure he was the only one who didn’t know.