What other fields contain a trove of unreported, market-moving news? The Journal explains that the greatest hedge-funds interest is in government actions that will have a financial impact on a small number of companies, such as which airline will win the new daily nonstop flight to China from Transportation Department regulators and what the timetable is for FDA approval of a new drug.
A few years ago, my friend Dirk Olin, now editor-in-chief of JudicialReports.com, tried to interest his employers in funding a news operation that would track market-moving litigation. He hypothesized that prospective readers could make profitable adjustments in their portfolios based on, say, granular reports about motions to stay filed in liability lawsuits.
They passed. I'll bet he could find an investor today.
Pretty soon the lobbyists will be chasing news with tweezers and micrometers. Send your nomination for a potentially lucrative political intelligence beat: email@example.com. Thanks to Dan Gross for his coaching. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)
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