Editorial slant

Watch MarketWatch shift its Apple colors from red to green

May 7, 2013: 10:35 AM ET

Editorial sentiment is changing, but it may take some time to turn the ship around.

chart_ws_stock_appleinc_201357101832_240xaFORTUNE -- Although it was never in quite the same boat as The Motley Fool, Insider Monkey or ValueWalk, there's been a predictable cast to the Apple (AAPL) coverage on the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch site these last few months. Typical headlines:

And that's just from the past two weeks.

But there was something different about Dan Gallagher's Before the Bell column Tuesday morning that ran under the headline Apple shares juiced with 'massive' buyback. It's as if someone at the Journal looked at Apple's stock chart and decided it might be time to turn the ship around.

Gallagher's piece is chock-a-block with the metaphors of change. Investors are warming. The tide has turned. And, from Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, speaking of Apple's $60 billion stock buyback:

"I think that's getting investors to realize that it's no longer trying to catch a falling knife."

Language like this matters more than you might think. Headlines from the likes of Insider Monkey and The Motley Fool dominate the news feeds on business-oriented sites like Google Finance and Benzinga -- news feeds that are read not just by retail investors but by high-frequency trading computers trained to sniff the wind for changes in market sentiment.

MarketWatch even offers readers a chart that's color-coded like a litmus test:

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 9.24.38 AM

For a backgrounder on artificial intelligence, market algorithms and high-frequency trading, I recommend Scott Patterson's Dark Pools: High-Speed Traders, A.I. Bandits, and the Threat to the Global Financial System.

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