Monday, October 25, 2010

When the News IS the News and Maybe Not the News

We used to have a saying in the newspaper business: "We don't make the news, we just deliver it."

That sentiment has been wasted on the Wall Street crowd. They are the news, even when there is no news, like today, when I find nothing of significance to report except that stocks went up.

It's old news, but becoming more the norm. Stocks go up. Every day. That's it.

But maybe there's more. Stocks gapped up at the open but stopped abruptly at 10:00 am, and that turned out to be the high of the day. I personally cannot remember a day in which the highwas reached at 10:00 am and not taken out later in the session, but that's what happened today.

After 10:00 am, the rest of the day was dithering, until the final half hour, when the HFTs all lined up and sold into the close. From a chartist's perspective, that close, in the context of the day's high at 10:00 am, is an ominous sign, something that I haven't been able to pronunce with conviction for quite some time.

Indeed, while many of us occupying the blogosphere see dark clouds on the horizon, they've been sitting out there for quite some time, but the markets continue to grind higher. It may be nothing, but with the mid-terms just a week away, fireworks could be ignited prior to the scheduled time.

The canaries in the coal mines are beginning to look more like a flock, each wondering which will fall over first. Unemployment is still at historic highs and growing. The housing market is completely stalled out due to foreclosure-gate, various investigations and new rules, and the added threat of put-backs by investors. Europe is fast becoming a war zone with France almost entirely shut down and Greece resuming protests which shut down the rails on Monday.

Add to these "canaries" the threat of market meltdown due to "flash crash" or other event and you have what sets up as a perfect storm. If one of the conditions is exacerbated to the point of explosion, the others will ignite in simultaneous conflagration.

In the meantime, we have banks committing mortgage and foreclosure fraud on a grand scale and markets that are just about non-functional other than the computers running the show. CNBC keeps reporting on companies meeting or beating expectations, so one has to wonder whether the inevitable crash will occur before or after the elections. I'm still sticking to "before" because there's been no October surprise as of yet, and the media is just waiting on it.

Dow 11,164.05, +31.49 (0.28%)
NASDAQ 2,490.85, +11.46 (0.46%)
S&P 500 1,185.62, +2.54 (0.21%)
NYSE Composite 7,546.38, +23.47 (0.31%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,764,460,625
NYSE Volume 4,795,549,500

Advancers finished ahead of declining issues, 4042-2423 (these numbers seem wrong, like 700 stocks were all of a sudden added to the NYSE - might be new ETFs?). New highs bettered new lows, 694-78. Volume was at it's usual dull level.

Commodities were on the move again. Oil gained 83 cents, to $82.52; gold picked up $13.80, to $1,338.90; silver added 43 cents, to $23.54.

It may all be meaningless, as there's no direction to anything except up, and we all know the outcome of things that go the way for long.

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