¿Hasta qué punto son corruptos los mercados de capitales de los Estados Unidos?

¿Por qué ha funcionado tan bien el mercado de valores de los Estados Unidos en los últimos meses -el índice Dow aumentó más del 30 por ciento, desde su punto más bajo el 11 de marzo de 2003, y el 11 de diciembre cerró con un índice superior a 10.000-, pese a las informaciones de los medios de comunicación sobre un escándalo financiero tras otro? Hemos visto el fraude estilo Enron por parte de la dirección de la empresa, la ingeniería financiera estilo Arthur Andersen por parte de contables y ahora las irregularidades del llamado market-timing ("movimiento continuo de compras y ventas") estilo Fondos Putnam por parte de fondos comunes de inversión. Después de toda esa suciedad, ¿por qué no hay más inversores que voten con los pies?

La razón más importante es la de que ha habido una pronunciada mejora en las ganancias empresariales y en las condiciones económicas en general. Los escándalos pueden estar empujando hacia abajo el barco de las impresiones del mercado, pero su efecto está resultando compensado por la marea en ascenso de la prosperidad económica, al menos de momento.

Desde luego, la televisión, la radio, los periódicos, las revistas y los sitios de la red Internet no han cesado de hablar de la falta de ética financiera y de inspirar y modelar las respuestas emocionales que a menudo tienen una poderosa influencia en los mercados financieros. Pero las emociones que atraen la atención (como, por ejemplo, la ira) no son los únicos factores que influyen en las decisiones sobre inversiones.

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