Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Stocks Erase Most of Monday's Gains; Dow Closes Down for the Quarter, Year

Well, that escalated quickly...

After booming on Monday, Tuesday's players must have had a case of buyer's regret, selling back 2/3rds of what was bid up just a day earlier, very odd, considering that the last trading day of the month usually ends up positive, due to "window dressing" by fund managers.

That did not happen today. In fact, the markets reversed course right at the open, but really accelerated the selling in the final hour of trading.

Reasons? The Fed? Mountains upon mountains of un-payable debt? Iran? Yellen? Bueller?

Tracking the foibles and fantasies of the Wall Street crowd on a daily basis can be a thankless task, especially under the conditions which are currently reigning over the market. Levels of uncertainty are reaching a fever pitch, between various conditions in Europe (Draghi's failing QE, Ukraine, Turkey tuning totalitarian, Greece), the Middle East (ISIS, Syria, Iran) or the troubles bourn at home in the US, ranging from gay upset in Indiana, crumbing infrastructure, fracking drillers facing bankruptcy, insolvency of college grads with high student debt loads (a catastrophe waiting to happen), chronic underemployment or a host of other nagging circumstances which don't add up to recovery after six years of waiting.

The good news is that the credit spigots are wide open, though many individuals, having been burned by financial institutions or failed investments in the past have been wary to expend much energy spending money they don't have on things they don't need. Credit card companies have been unduly generous of late, the number of 0% interest cards offered having swelled in recent months.

Additionally, auto loans and leases are becoming as easy to obtain as water from a faucet, but default rates are also rising as consumers continue to be tapped out on the road.

Gas prices are low, sings of Spring are everywhere, but somehow, the major indices - at least for today - are not feeling the love.

Something is wrong, but we're not going to wait around to find out what it is. Anyone who hasn't divorced his/herself, at least in some part, from the credit-debt-tax-cycle-slave-system is missing the proverbial boat, which may sail off into the horizon at any time.

Americans, especially older ones, are becoming more detached from the system as the system disappoints and disillusions many who have played and paid and are seeing their paltry incomes stagnate and savings threatened by seven years of a low-interest regime engineered by the Federal Reserve.

And, with markets closed on Friday, who exactly will be able to react to the March non-farm payroll data? At least tomorrow, ADP will issue their March jobs report, which mirrors the NFP report to a degree.

Making matters worse, the Dow Industrials closed the quarter lower than at the start of the year, the S&P and NASDAQ posting fractional gains (less than one percent) for the quarter and the year so far.

So much to ponder and so little time. Tax day is April 15. What fun!

Dow 17,776.12, -200.19 (-1.11%)
S&P 500 2,067.89, -18.35 (-0.88%)
NASDAQ 4,900.88, -46.56 (-0.94%)

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