Monday, August 4, 2008

Great Day for Day-Traders

Rather than invest your money in stocks that go up, then down, then sideways, today's market - much like many before it and surely in the future - exemplified the virtues of just plain, good-old gambling, or, as the barons of Wall Street put it, day trading.

If you were on the right side of the market - and active - today, you could have made a killing in either direction, or both, with options, index options or a combination of buying and short-selling. The reason is volatility, and Monday, August 4, was especially volatile.

Take the Dow, for instance. It opened narrowly on the downside, but by 11:00 was at session lows at 11,221, down more than 100 points from the open of 11,326. It spent the rest of the day climbing to a high of 11,382, but just before 3:00, fell another 120 points or so, recovering slightly at the close.

It was a three-move market. Day-traders, which includes just about every trader, hedge fund manager and smart alek on Wall Street, had a blast, mostly at the expense of those stodgy buy-and-hold types.

So, this is today's market, and maybe it always was like this, though if you can find anyone over the age of 60 who still follows financials, they'll tell you differently. Back in the 60s, 70s and even into the 80s (the "me" decade), there were stocks that would make you money if you just bought them and held them for 5, 7, or 10 years.

Those days are probably gone, as are the companies which made all that moolah, like Ford, GM, Xerox, and yes, even Microsoft and Cisco.

Nowadays, it's all about getting in, making a profit and getting out in our high-tech, globalized, flat world economy. That's it. Buy, hold equates to dumb, loser.

But, times do change and change is in the wind.

Dow 11,284.15 -42.17; NASDAQ 2,285.56 -25.40; S&P 500 1,249.01 -11.30; NYSE Composite 8,268.65 Down 110.50

On the day, advancing issues lagged decliners, 4164-2069, and, big surprise, new lows overwhelmed new highs, 276-84.

Oil got slammed again, as a storm in the Gulf of Mexico seemed to be too weak to damage any oil infrastructure. Or, at least that's what the financial press and the oil geeks would have us believe. One would like to know just when the appearance of storms in the Caribbean began affecting the global price of oil. It was probably about the time GW Bush and Dick Cheney took over the highest government offices in the land. Some coincidence there.

Substantial Wealth and Riches Creation
The Path of Substantial Wealth and Riches: Your Parents' Influence on Your Finances
Crude for September delivery closed down $3.61, to $121.41, the lowest closing price in nearly four months. The metals remained in lock step with the overpriced goo, with gold losing $9.60, to $907.90 and silver falling 38 cents to $17.14. The pattern in commodities is just too obvious to ignore.

I've been beating this story for over six months now, so I guess yelling that INFLATION ISN'T THE PROBLEM. DEFLATION IS! might not have any impact. But, a year from now, when gas is $2.75 a gallon, gold is $675 an ounce and you can't afford either because you have no job, don't say I didn't tell you so. The dollar's slide can only go so far, and it's gone a long way in a relatively short time. When the rest of the world begins to feel the same pain that Americans have for the past seven years plus, prices are going to go in the opposite direction.

It's simple supply and demand economics, and I don't have the time to explain it all right now. I have to go gamble... er, trade some stocks.

NYSE Volume 1,193,042,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,958,751,000

No comments: