‘Jinx’ Juxtaposition

October 10, 2014

Escher's_ReptilesA fog-soaked early Friday here on California’s north coast, feels like it’s fog-soaked all over the world.
The NWS calls it ‘patchy fog,’ but there’s not a empty/patchy spot anywhere, and we’re also forecast for a chance of ‘drizzle’ sometime today, which is just another word for ‘fog-soaked.’

Language the clue — due to hard-shell ignorance, financial shit is usually way-hard for my poetic brains to handle/or understand.
Yesterday, though, Wall Street numbers became obvious.

(Illustration: M.C.Escher’s ‘Reptiles‘ found here).

And seemingly with a breakneck leap up-then-down motion: The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 334 points as falling energy stocks and worries about the global economy sent investors fleeing out of the market. The blue-chip index rose 275 points the day before.
The largest dump of 2014. This morning ain’t too hot, either. Look at this shit via Bloomberg — at nearly mid-day Friday Manhattan time — Dow Jones was down 20 points, the NASDAQ nearly 60 points, and Bovespa, the big, Latin American stock exchange, at a negative 1.375.
Not a follower of the financial markets at all, unless there’s some kind of meltdown like yesterday, and really didn’t understand the impact of such an event — just on the ‘news’ side, of course. And oil, again: Energy stocks were particularly hard hit as crude oil prices continued to slide. The S&P Energy sector index was off 3 percent after benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil and Brent crude continued to slide. In after hours trading, West Texas crude was trading below $85 a barrel for the first time since November 2012.

A disturbing trend, there, that even with some type war raging all over a good swath of the world’s oil producing regions, production is still high — ISIS makes a $1 million a day — and seemingly the earth is awash with crude. Shitty news on many levels.
One explanation for yesterday, October is cursed. From MarketWatch: In fact, the Stock Trader’s Almanac refers to October as the “jinx” month. And there certainly appears to be something unusual about October: Three of the past five shifts in major trends have taken place in October.
Yet, in the end it’s skeptical reality: Another statistical clue that the above-average frequency of October trend changes is nothing more than a fluke: The apparent pattern is not stable over time.
MarketWatch is also live-blogging the current situation.

Joshua M. Brown at The Reformed Broker gives some answers to what happened this week, mostly on the no-real-big-deal side:

Why did the stock market plummet more than 330 points today?
I could give you any one of several answers but they won’t actually help you.
Because this is the wrong question.
The right question is to ask why it went up an almost equivalent amount yesterday.
And the answer to that is people are out of their f***ing minds.
They’re nostalgic for the sentiment-driven, Fed-fueled, multiple expansion market of 2013 and they haven’t yet accepted the fact it was a once (maybe twice) in a lifetime thing.

Brown then lists last year’s conditions, which don’t exist today — the end-point being:

And so with the five factors that had driven the rally since 2012 no longer in our favor, we consolidate and thrash around a bit awaiting the next set of catalysts.
Maybe a great holiday shopping season thanks to plunging energy costs.
Perhaps – at long last – a meaningful uptick in wages for our now tighter labor market.
Maybe European QE resets the board game there and sparks les esprits animaux.
All of these things are possible – they’re just not happening yet.
And so volatility ticks up and the crowd second-guesses everything in their portfolios.
Welcome to the next phase.
The old phase has been over for awhile, I’m sorry that nobody rang a bell or hung a sign.

(h/t: The Big Picture).

So the unwashed, ignorant masses should stay unperturbed (via SFGate):

Words like “correction,” “fear” and “volatility” might scare the average investor just trying to save for retirement.
But those who might be worried should remain calm, said Jurrien Timmer, a director in Fidelity Investments global asset allocation division.
The S&P 500 index is still up 4.3 percent this year. And that follows the market’s 30 percent rise last year.
“Just stick to your long-term (retirement) plan,” Timmer said.

There it is again, ‘retirement‘ — “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
In my humble opinion, Wall Street, the stock markets, are a kind of optical illusion, a way to judge shit without reality, yet still carry enormous influence. The link between real economic activity and stock prices is ‘tenuous‘ at best, glossing over just another scam.

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