Thursday, May 9, 2013

Shockingly, Stocks Lose Ground

Well, that didn't take long.

Yesterday, in a pique of exasperation over levitating equity markets trading on Fed liquidity rather than fundamentals (it's only been this way for four years, as of today), I promised no further commentary until the markets posted a negative session.

And, presto, there it is, though, as down days are measured, this one wasn't much of anything.

The rationale behind not commenting was due to recent market activity, in a framework in which nearly all economic data has been sour or outright bad. Markets have come to ignore reality "on the ground," in favor of a more optimistic mindset. Beginning April 18, the Dow Industrials had posted gains 13 of the past 14 days, prior to today. Ignorance may be blissful, but making money off it seems somehow wrong.

At least the range was a little better than it has been. The Dow was down nearly sixty points at its nadir, and up about 41 at the peak, so the range was about 100 points, top to bottom, not exactly what one might call volatile, being less than one percent, but better than it has been, suggesting that maybe a few people are getting a little skittish about where this is all heading.

That place may be Nirvana to some, but from the looks of things on Main Street, USA, there is scarcely a resemblance to the unbridled euphoria that infects Wall Street every time they ring the opening bell. Traders have been - and likely will be - making money hand over fist on the upside, without having to bother checking fundamentals, scouring stocks for the best picks nor doing intensive research. Simply playing the indices have brought gains of great magnitude, and leveraging... well, it doesn't get much better than that.

Technicians may want to keep an eye on the Dow Transports (^DJT), as they confirmed the new highs yesterday, but took quite a tumble of some 72 points today (1.13%). While the transportation index may be back-loading the gains on the Industrials, it could also be front-running and telegraphing a decline.

But, of course, this is just one day, and we all know that tonight Ben Bernanke will crank up the printing press once again and tomorrow will be all roses, unicorns and skittles.

That may sound sarcastic, because it is.

Printing money with nothing to back it except empty promises always leads to economic catastrophe.

Every time, and this time is no different.

Dow 15,082.62, -22.50 (0.15%)
NASDAQ 3,409.17, -4.10 (0.12%)
S&P 500 1,626.67, -6.02 (0.37%)
NYSE Composite 9,401.05, -62.26 (0.66%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,746,976,625
NYSE Volume 3,482,779,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2358-4009
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 588-34
WTI crude oil: 96.39, -0.23
Gold: 1,468.60, -5.10
Silver: 23.91, -0.016

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