Shortly after the open today, the Dow had shot up 88 points.
By noon, it was down 87, thus, making a 1% move in the course of 2 1/2 hours.
Coincidence or central planning aside, the upside move equaled the downside move, nearly to the penny.
From noon until 2:00 pm, the Dow index clawed back all of the losses and was trading positively again, up around 40 points, or, just about half of the early day gains. Eventually, the Dow closed up a few points, more or less unchanged.
Day-traders may be scratching their collective skulls over this odd pattern, though it should be noted that almost none of the moves - to the up or downside - had anything at all to do with fundamentals, sentiment, forward-thinking, the presidential election cycle, or the price of pork in China.
It probably had everything to do with front-running algos which dominate the so-called "trading," which has become more of a skimming operation by firms like Citadel and other adherents of non-free market operations.
The headline financial media will try to come up with story lines to match the mood, though none of them can adequately pass even the most rudimentary smell test. The financial talking heads in macro-land are faking it as best they can, while the market remains stuck in a no-man's land that's been in place for just about a year now (taking the long view), or, a truly narrow range on the Dow between 17,500 and 18,000 since March 18.
On 34 of the past 39 trading days (including today) the Dow closed within that range. Of the five days it closed outside that range, all of them were above the 18,000 line, the highest being 18,096, on April 20.
Essentially, stocks have been going nowhere for quite some time, especially over the past month and a half, in which the total range was roughly three percent.
Which brings us to the question of intra-day moves and whether or not to pay them any mind. Unless one is engaged in betting with friends on market swings, or day-trading (an occupation which can put your whole house in jeopardy), intra-day swings should be discounted dramatically. The old saying, "the trend is your friend," doesn't apply unless you're looking of weeks, months or years.
Going Nowhere, Slowly:
S&P 500: 2,064.11, -0.35 (0.02%)
Dow: 17,720.50, +9.38 (0.05%)
NASDAQ: 4,737.33, -23.35 (0.49%)
Crude Oil 46.39 -0.66% Gold 1,267.40 -0.30% EUR/USD 1.1376 +0.02% 10-Yr Bond 1.76 +1.15% Corn 387.50 -0.39% Copper 2.07 -0.05% Silver 17.08 -0.16% Natural Gas 2.13 -0.97% Russell 2000 1,108.60 -0.55% VIX 14.41 -1.91% BATS 1000 20,677.17 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4445 -0.01% USD/JPY 109.0300 -0.05%