Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dead Cats Don't Bounce; No Joy in Fraudville; Stocks Continue Slide

Maybe, as the movie title suggests, white men can't jump, but Wall Street proved today that dead cats don't bounce... at least not very high.

Stocks got a little bit of a boost from futures pumping prior to the opening bell, but the dismal nature of earnings for the third quarter made any gains transitory, fleeting and utterly disappointing (much like a lot of people in this author's life).

It is as it should be, perhaps. Fed policies do not a market make, so the major indices are now well below the levels encountered when the Chairman, the pseudo-salubrious Ben Bernanke, announced QE3, or, rather, QEtc. or QEternity on September 13.

The prescription the good doctor of economics gave the markets was unlimited buying of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), those ubiquitous instruments of mass financial destruction that essentially started the whole financial and economic mess in the first place, and which will, almost without doubt, end up worth less than what the Federal Reserve pays for them.

With any luck, the Fed's foray into economic wonderland, replete with diamond-farting unicorns and frogs that belch profits, will end in tears and anguish for not only the lower and middle classes, but the rich and self-appointed masters of the universe as well. We wish them no luck, because tactically, they have erred in their assessment of the global economy, not once or twice, but repeatedly since the advent of the crisis in 2007 or 2008, take your pick.

Today's FOMC rate policy decision was another non-event, the Fed reiterating that it would stick to its plans until 2015, which would be long after the chairman has departed, ostensibly in early 2014, should he even last that long.

The market is more interested these day in politics and earnings, each of which offering a mixed bag of blessings or banes, so precarious is the global outlook. Fears are rising that President Obama will win re-election, though the real fears are over the poor earnings reports pouring into the street like so many viperous snakes ready to bite the legs of impudent investors standing still.

Layoff announcements from Ford, Dow Chemical and Volkswagen were only whispered on Wall Street today. In the coming months, workforce reductions will be major headlines as all attempts to revive the economy the banks destroyed will ultimately fail. Europe is sinking steadily deeper into a black hole of debt and deflation, with Asia following soon, and the US - the last bastion of relief in a sea of declining opportunity - to join them in the hell of destroyed currencies and wrecked economies within short order.

Stocks have levitated for months, but the handwriting is clearly written and the game is nearly up. The US elections of November 6 mark a turning, a reckoning that will be absolute and without reprieve. All of the Merkels, Bernankes, Legardes and Draghis of the world cannot resurrect that which was already dead when they first took notice.

While there may be a few days of brightness ahead in the near future for stocks, to outlook continues to deteriorate and today's market action verifies the quietly-held beliefs of the skeptics: all is lost.

There is no joy in Fraudville; mighty Bernanke has struck out.

Dow 13,077.34, -25.19 (0.19%)
NASDAQ 2,981.70, -8.76 (0.29%)
S&P 500 1,408.75, -4.36 (0.31%)
NYSE Composite 8,179.26, -16.05 (0.20%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,965,715,000
NYSE Volume 3,346,029,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2404-3120
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 97-94
WTI crude oil: 85.73, -0.94
Gold: 1,701.60, -7.80
Silver: 31.62, -0.173

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