Cliche of the Week 91 – Cautiously optimistic

May 14, 2012 at 10:26 am Leave a comment

Cautiously optimistic is a backside-covering statement, a bet both ways, and used when no one is sure what’s going to happen.

If the future goes well then the optimism is justified. If badly, being cautious was prudent.

The phrase is a frequent visitor to the finance news pages, about 1500 times a month globally, where companies attempt positive sentiment.

It appears more often in the US than any other country and flows quickly, and apparently unseen, from press release to news story.

Sometimes there are quote marks around the two words, indicating they are not stated by the newspaper but come from the company.

“The Dutch food and chemicals group DSM on Tuesday reported better-than-expected first-quarter results and gave a cautiously optimistic outlook for the full year” (Reuters News, May 8).

“Today, key players are cautiously optimistic about the progress the market made last year and about what lies ahead, despite the uncertainties that Europe’s wobbly economies still pose” (The New Zealand Herald, May 9).

And in press releases: “The cost reduction program for our fibre laser product portfolio is on track and we are cautiously optimistic, given the current booking trend with strong order entry in February and March” (Rofin-Sinar Technologies Inc, May 3).

Cliche of the Week appears in The Australian newspaper Mondays. Cliches in the media are tracked across the world using Factiva and Dow Jones Insight.

Chris Pash’s book, The Last Whale, a true story set in the 1970s, was published by Fremantle Press in 2008.

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Entry filed under: Cliche of The Week. Tags: , , , .

Cliche of the Week 90 – Dying Moments Cliche of the Week 92 – Speculation is Rife

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