Monday, May 21, 2012

TEOTWAWKI Delayed, No Thanks to G8 Memo

After nearly three weeks of relentless declines, US markets perked up to open the week of trading, posting one of the top five gainers of the year.

Catalyst for the day-long progression higher was nothing other than naked speculation on a "buy the dip" fantasy, as the major indices had been beaten down by roughly 7-8% and many stocks hammered down 10-15& since May 1. Traders saw the opportunity for a bounce and they got what they bargained for, due almost entirely to valuation and little else.

The situation in Europe, especially regarding Greece, remains far from resolution, and the G8 meeting, held over the weekend at Camp David, outside Washington, DC, offered a statement that was long on identifying issues but short on solutions. In fact, the statement released for public consumption carried forty paragraphs, mostly gilded in terminology like the commitment to "take all necessary steps to strengthen and reinvigorate our economies and combat financial stresses," and similar non-committal phrases.

One wonders why such meetings of world leaders are even held except to fete the participants on pate de foie gras and roast pheasant. Ostensibly, such confabs do nothing but solidify ties between the various bankrupt, free-spending governments and boost the general propaganda about the world's financial and political condition. Ostensibly, these G8, G10, G20 and Gee, I don't know soirees probably are optically better than the same participants getting together for a round of golf or an afternoon of croquet, tea and biscuits.

Other than the magnificent ramp-job by the re-programmed computer traders, the story of the moment continues to be the Facebook (FB) IPO fiasco, in which computer problems were finally revealed by NASDAQ which caused order and confirmation delays and cost some investors hundreds of thousands and had market makers like Knight and others trading positions the opposite from what they had originally intended.

At the end of the day, it was nothing other than the irresponsibility of the NASDAQ to proceed with the highly-anticipated IPO, when they knew problems were arising from a multitude of HFT participants who were variously long and short within milliseconds of the stock's opening.

The untenable situation worsened at the pre-open and into the opening of regular trading as the stock fell below the original offer price of 38.00, defended vigorously by the underwriters at the close of trading on Friday, but capitulation ensued Monday, with share prices falling under the IPO price at the open without recovering, closing the day at 34.03, down 4.20, an 11% loss.

In any case, today saw TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) delayed, no thanks to world leaders, who seem to have less grasp on economic issues than they do their own futures.

Free houses for everyone!

Dow 12,504.48, -135.10 (1.09%)
NASDAQ 2,847.21, -68.42 (2.46%)
S&P 500 1,315.99, -20.77 (1.60%)
NYSE Composite 7,542.88, -115.14 (1.55%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,788,066,375
NYSE Volume 3,738,396,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4602-1024
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 35-180
WTI crude oil: 92.57, +1.09
Gold: 1,588.70, -3.20
Silver: 28.32, -0.39

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