Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mixed Markets are Sending Clear Message

As seems to be the norm lately, the major indices finished in mixed fashion Tuesday, with the NASDAQ and S&P finishing with gains, while the Dow and NYSE Composite took losses.

This repeating pattern may be confusing to some investors, but the trend seems pretty clear: there will be winners and losers on given days, often on the same days, and, while the general economy may have weak and strong sectors, the general trend is higher.

Nothing could be more obvious after chasing stocks since March of '09 has resulted in one of the greatest bull markets of any era. For the most part, it's been easy pickings for fund managers, hedgers (most of whom don't hedge at all), and even individuals investing in the market. An especially accommodative Federal Reserve has seen to that. Even today, with the federal funds rate at 1.00-1.25% - the highest in nine years - by historical standards it's still incredibly low.

Recent talk by Janet Yellen and other Fed members is leading the market to believe that this regime of low interest rates still has room to run. The FOMC has upped the federal funds rate twice already, but appears to be slowing its approach. Many believe they will only raise rates once more this year, likely in December.

Climbing the worry wall with the Fed, most of the Wall Street crowd seems convinced that the central bank has the stock market's back, despite political rhetoric and decades of denial. The Fed is supposed to control monetary policy, but, since the GFC, they certainly don't appear shy about meddling elsewhere, having sloshed bond and stock markets alike with wave after wave of fresh fiat.

Since the money is nothing more than paper with promises, it's what they can and will do. Until further notice, the Fed is in control of all money, yours, ours, theirs, and those of foreigners, dead people, and people not yet born.

It's probably a good thing that there's so much normalcy bias that hardly anyone cares that everything is completely fake.

Like the saying says, "fake it 'til you make it."

At The Close, 7/18/17:
Dow: 21,574.73, -54.99 (-0.25%)
NASDAQ: 6,344.31, +29.87 (0.47%)
S&P 500: 2,460.61, +1.47 (0.06%)
NYSE Composite: 11,877.42, -13.09 (-0.11%)

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