Sure enough, being the contrary indicator for which Money Daily has become legendary, as soon as this blog issued the "all clear," circa the past two days - citing that the Fed has Wall Street's back - then the bottom falls completely out of the market.
While today's massive declines could be nothing more than a case of jitters over the Washington establishment's fixation on making President Trump's life a living hell, or, a simple matter of profit taking, there's some indication that both may be partially true.
As usual, with everything related to stocks and finance since roughly the year 2000, there's insufficient information upon which to make a decisive call. One day's worth of declines by no means indicates anything fundamentally wrong, and it's likely that this current bout of market indigestion will blow over with the next data release.
Moreover, given that the mainstream media is chock full of creeps, fabricators and liars, it wouldn't be beyond the pale for financial media to be right in the middle of the "fake news" mix. To the point, the headline on Yahoo Finance at today's market close screams, "Stocks tumble as Trump worries Wall Street," as if it's the President himself causing consternation among international financiers, when in fact, it is the news media itself promulgating questionable narratives surrounding the President and his administration.
Thus, there may be something more compelling afoot. Perhaps some of the more recent data releases haven't been particularly rosy, or maybe somebody deep inside the global financial establishment knows something of which the general public isn't keenly aware. That insiders would know more than the public is undeniably true; whether or not there's something big about to occur - and this was just cover for a deeper dive - is a matter of great conjecture.
On the surface, that doesn't seem to be the case. Tuesday's releases showed that capacity utilization and industrial production both beat expectations, but housing starts and building permits missed the mark. Wednesday's release of crude inventories (a drawdown) and mortgage applications (off by 4.1%) shouldn't have catalyzed the market into this kind of paroxysm.
What we do know is that the dollar index (97.456) fell again today (fifth straight decline) and has been below 100 for a full month. That's sent gold soaring (up nearly two percent today), with silver tagging along, though without as much gusto (+0.73%, 16.87/oz.). A falling dollar should be good for US companies, though that correlation hasn't always held true, because US imports in other countries' currencies would cost less.
We also know that today's losses were the worst of the year for the major indices and Treasuries were rallying, with the 10-year yield falling to 2.22% and the two-year moving down to 1.24%.
Thus, the crystal ball remains cloudy. Thursday's market action may be more telling. It's never too late to take a profit, nor is it ever too early to cut losses. Maybe Wall Street has come to its senses.
At the Close, 5/17/17:
Dow: 20,606.93, -372.82 (-1.78%)
NASDAQ: 6,011.24, -158.63 (-2.57%)
S&P 500: 2,357.03, -43.64 (-1.82%)
NYSE Composite: 11,423.54, -182.95 (-1.58%)