Monday, July 16, 2012

Markets Lower for Seventh Straight Monday in Sideways Trading

Get ready for a real roller coaster ride this week.

With Monday's declines marking the seventh straight Monday in which the market has sustained losses - an event which hasn't occurred since 2002 - the stage is set for more fun and games brought to you by the criminal syndicate that runs Wall Street, and, to some extent, your lives.

Citigroup (C) delivered a second quarter earnings beat prior to the open which failed to move futures off their declining dime, sending stocks straight downhill at the open, a not-unforeseen event, given Friday's massive melt-up.

And therein lies the crux of the market-is-rigged argument. If stocks are headed lower on Mondays, there isn't much analysis to do if you're running a big fund, or even a little one. Same might be true for Tuesday and Wednesday; you'll nibble a little maybe, but make your big move on Thursday, because Friday, as we all know all too well, is payday, and, thanks to concoctions like weekly options expiry and the usual third Friday of the month expiry (which happens to be this Friday), you can make money without break a sweat.

That seems to be the current game plan, since, after all, the world is heading to hell in a handbasket, so, savvy players will make the most of uncertainty, to say nothing of inside information and shared strategies.

Topping the news wires today were retail sales - down for the third straight month - and the IMF lowering its wildly optimistic global growth estimate for 2013 from 4.1% to 3.9%, though neither of those indicators seemed to touch off much sentiment other than bolstering the already overtly pessimistic.

Ben Bernanke appears before congress Tuesday and Wednesday, which might be newsworthy if he actually had any power over the markets (he doesn't), though many a hopeful banker will be listening in for any hints that the Fed may try more easing, a strategy which has worked well for speculators but come up snake eyes for the US and global economies.

A few weeks back, it was suggested here that stocks could be headed for a nighty downturn or a sideways/lower trade at best. So far, the sideways has been playing out, though the lower part of the formula seems to be headed off just about every Friday.

This week could be more of the same, with the aforementioned options expiration ending the week on a note the bankers love most, the sound of ringing cash registers.

Of course, this being the middle of summer, volume was nothing to speak of, though that's become somewhat the norm since the only players left are flesh-eating zombie bankers, flush with the Fed's newly-minted cash and nothing better to do with it than gamble it all away.

Dow 12,727.21, -49.88 (0.39%)
NASDAQ 2,896.94, -11.53 (0.40%)
S&P 500 1,353.64, -3.14 (0.23%)
NYSE Composite 7,743.06, -15.62 (0.20%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,438,632,500
NYSE Volume 2,883,821,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2271-3292
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 277-71
WTI crude oil: 88.43, +1.33
Gold: 1,591.60, -0.40
Silver: 27.32, -0.05

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