Causality Watch, Merrill Lynch Edition

Colin Barr:

Shares of Merrill Lynch rose 8% after CEO John Thain said he won’t entertain talk of a breakup of the brokerage firm, which has been hit hard since last summer by heavy losses on mortgage-related securities.

Why do journalists insist on looking for causality like this? I mean, if Thain had announced he was thinking about breaking up Merrill, does Barr really think that the stock would have fallen?

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