Showing posts with label BASDAQ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BASDAQ. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wall Street Reacts to the Devastation of Hurricane Sandy with Flat Session

It's morally repugnant that Wall Street would profit from the human suffering of others, though, in reality, it happens all the time. Stocks go up and down on the fortunes and foibles of people, many integral parts of larger corporations.

Thus, it was a time of joyous celebration for the professionals trading at the New York Stock Exchange that, for the first time in two days, equity markets were actually up and functioning. But, that euphoria, which resulted in a wholly predictable, end-of-month window dressing rally at the open, soon turned an eye toward the reality of the devastation and destruction left behind by hurricane Sandy.

Most of lower Manhattan is still without power, the NYSE operating off backup generators, and most of the areas contiguous to Wall Street for many miles to the North, South, East and West, are just beginning to evaluate the extent of the losses.

Most of the New Jersey coast is either underwater, under piles of sand or otherwise devastated; Long Island is a crushed, mangled mess as is Connecticut and most of the other New York boroughs.

Many in the area are still without power, which is slowly returning to some areas, but the losses sustained by people and companies is only now beginning to be felt. Restoration and reconstruction will take months and billions of dollars, the hit to the economy unmistakable, as Wall Street fully understands and began coming to grips with as stocks began to slide shortly after the initial burst leveled off at about 80 points to the good on the Dow.

The rapid turnaround was classic Wall Street hustle, as fund managers snapped up shares at the open to close their books for the month - some for the year - while the sharpies were already shorting the very same shares. There's profit to be made on the downside, and the environment is target rich and ripe for plucking by short-sellers, call sellers and put buyers.

By 10:30 all of the major indices were trading in negative territory, led by the NASDAQ, which itself was brought down by particularly vicious selling in Apple (AAPL), in the aftermath of the firing of two top executives by CEO Tim Cook. It's becoming apparent to everyone that the loss of Steve Jobs was not only a human tragedy, but nobody is there to replace his unique genius and business acumen.

In Europe, which remained open for business as usual over the past two days of Wall Street's shutdown, stocks were mostly down on Monday, up on Tuesday and rallying early Wednesday until finally giving up the ghost late in the sessions, the major indices - England's FTSE, Germany's DAX and France's CAC - all closing lower.

Just about 12:30 pm EDT, a reminder of just how tenuous the entire situation around New York was came from Knight Capital, when the firm, operating under backup power in Jersey City, was forced to shut down for the day, citing that their generators were failing.

Volumes were moderate, considering that many traders were without proper equipment, cell phone service spotty and some traders actually functioning from alternate locations, at home or at satellite offices, though, by the close, the volume ramped up, and the day was one of the better recent volume sessions.

Midday, stocks balanced just above the lows of the session, but buying was timid. As has been the usual mode of operation around Wall Street, traders generally ignored the world around them, sending the S&P and Dow back into positive territory in the final hour, as if nothing at all had occurred, but the move proved unsustainable.

As it has for the past four sessions running, the major indices finished mostly flat, which is patently absurd, as there are corporations taking serious losses from the storm. Reality may set in as time carries onward, but there's no telling how the detached traders in lower Manhattan will treat what will eventually turn out to be one of the costliest natural disasters of all time.

Perhaps the psychology of the control crowd is to not panic, despite evidence to the contrary as pertains to investments, but there is a price to be paid, though, as usual, the analysts will simply lower their expectations for all, and when those are exceeded, will celebrate the great success of what are more and more becoming hollowed-out shells of companies.

There will be days if not weeks of lost productivity, wages and competitiveness across six states: Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Smaller pockets of destruction have hit West Virginia (blizzard) and some New England states, such as Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, maine and Massachusetts.

Getting markets up and running is a fine accomplishment, but registering a slight decline is almost laughable, if the thought of it weren't so warped and disturbing.

Dow 13,096.46, -10.75 (0.08%)
NASDAQ 2,977.23, -10.72 (0.36%)
S&P 500 1,412.16, +0.22(0.02%)
NYSE Composite 8,221.40, +31.20(0.38%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,806,794,500
NYSE Volume 3,542,963,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3106-2429
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 198-124
WTI crude oil: 86.24, +0.56
Gold: 1,719.10, +7.00
Silver: 32.32, +0.50