The stock market is getting too predictable, and when that happens, it's generally a sign that change is at hand.
Not individual stocks, mind you, but at the macro level - entire indices, countries, or specific sectors - movement is largely telegraphed, as if some floor brokers have bullhorns shouting out the trades of the day, the week, the quarter.
On an impersonal level, US indices are ready for another bruising earnings season, having already touched recent highs, now dipping into negative territory for the year. It's all about the flow at this juncture, and the flow is out of stocks and into cash, or bonds, or any place safe.
All of this begs out for the buy-and-hold mentality that persisted during the true heyday of the American stock markets, from the mid-80s through Greenspan's irrational exuberance regime of the late 90s, but that epoch is long past and investors must be more nimble and adroit, being that there are so many more pitfalls and potholes in modern markets.
Above all, the Fed's role is out-sized and outdated. They've simply overstayed their welcome in equity markets, politicizing them to such an extent that honest trading on fundamentals has become passe - a relic from a long-lost civilization.
And so we embark into earnings season with the worst-looking week in nearly two months. Stocks were pounded without mercy on Thursday, setting up either a massive bounce on Friday or a continuation of the dolorous trading that has prevailed for the better part of this week.
As stated here yesterday, resistance has been met, and the only way out is to the downside. How far? That kind of conceit will kill you and leave your heirs penniless.
Many commodities - take your pick, but steer clear of oil - are close to short-term lows and may be the way ahead, though it would be advisable to tread very lightly for at least the next few months.
S&P 500: 2,041.91, -24.75 (1.20%)
Dow: 17,541.96, -174.09 (0.98%)
NASDAQ: 4,848.37, -72.35 (1.47%)
Crude Oil 37.54 -0.56% Gold 1,242.00 +1.49% EUR/USD 1.1377 -0.14% 10-Yr Bond 1.69 -3.65% Corn 361.25 +0.91% Copper 2.08 -3.01% Silver 15.23 +1.17% Natural Gas 2.02 +5.65% Russell 2000 1,092.79 -1.45% VIX 16.16 +14.69% BATS 1000 20,682.61 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4057 -0.45% USD/JPY 108.1250 -1.49%