It was the worst of times. Then, midweek, it became the best of times.
With US stocks falling off the proverbial value cliff on Wednesday, just before noon everything suddenly changed, and the rest of the week was witness to a face-ripping surge which took the Dow Jones Industrials from a low of 15,450.56 on Wednesday to the close Friday at 16,093.51, a gain of 643 points, or, roughly four percent.
The gains from Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, and Friday were so large and so widespread that they left the seeming collapse of Tuesday and early Wednesday as fleeting memories.
Also on the agenda was the untimely end of the price collapse in crude oil, which bottomed out at 26 dollars and change on Wednesday, but closed Friday right around $32 per barrel.
Of course, all of this would not have been possible without some catalyst, like exceptional across-the-board earnings results, outstanding economic data or great geopolitical news. Truth is, none of that happened. Earnings reports have been moderate and inconsistent, economic data has been nothing if not poor, and the geopolitical condition has not changed one whit since Wednesday.
The rally was all concocted and executed by sellers of size, using hyperventilating computer algos which control more than 90% of the trading in the Wall Street casino. It is neither a fair market nor a free market, nor much of a market at all. There hasn't been true price discovery for a long time, at least since March of 2009, when the FASB suspended mark-to-market accounting and the Federal Reserve - in cahoots with the various central banks of Europe, China and Japan - went on an asset-buying binge and slashed the federal funds interest rate to zero.
The market of today is nothing like the one that worked in the heyday of Wall Street. This one is a rotting corpse, overseen by undertakers from the Fed and their lackeys in the large banks and brokerages, which control it, lock, stock and barrel. It is not a place to invest. It is a place to gamble, and gamblers almost always lose.
So it is that the Federal Reserve's reign over the world's finances will continue, with or without some occasional fireworks from the stock market.
The shortened week (markets were closed Monday for MLK Day) ended positive, the first in the three weeks thus far in 2016. However, unless this current rally remains intact and explosive to the upside next week, January will end in the red. By how much is anybody's guess, though the final two days of this week can rightfully be chalked up to options expiration, as doubles many a tenacious trader made money in a derivative fashion.
For the Week:
S&P: +26.57 (+1.41%)
Dow: +105.43 (+0.66%)
NASDAQ: +102.76 (+2.29%)
The Day's Closing Quotes:
S&P 500: 1,906.90, +37.91 (2.03%)
Dow: 16,093.51, +210.83 (1.33%)
NASDAQ: 4,591.18, +119.12 (2.66%)
Crude Oil 31.99 +8.33% Gold 1,097.50 -0.06% EUR/USD 1.08 -0.60% 10-Yr Bond 2.0480 +1.44% Corn 369.75 +0.75% Copper 2.00 +0.28% Silver 14.06 -0.24% Natural Gas 2.14 +0.05% Russell 2000 1,020.77 +2.35% VIX 22.34 -16.30% BATS 1000 20,303.38 +1.95% GBP/USD 1.4264 +0.34% USD/JPY 118.7715 +0.79%