Daily Market Update – February 13, 2014 (Close)

The morning started with the realization that there was much more snow than anticipated.

That usually makes for a slower trading day when New York City is part of the blanket, despite the decreasing reliance on floor traders.

For some reason, the pre-opening futures were weak this morning and didn’t get better as Jobless Claims and Retail Sales information was eventually released.

The release was slightly delayed and without the usual lifting of the embargo fanfare, as the snow slowed down the way things work in Washington, DC.

While the jobless news was benign, except to those contained in the report, the Retail Sales should have come as no surprise, as there have been few rejoicing over the plight of retail shares. With everyone blaming the weather, the past week isn’t going to help.

As someone mentioned on Twitter this morning in weather like this it’s obvious that Yuppies would rather stay home and eat gluten than go out and stock up on quinoa.

Although there are still those talking about how good the earnings numbers have been it appears that the comparisons conveniently disregard the impact of share buy backs that only serve to inflate the earnings per share ratio. But beyond that, you don’t have to understand basic math and fundamental metrics. All you need to do is hear about retail weakness to know that in a consumer nation the lack of consumption isn’t a good thing.

As far as share price, even Amazon hasn’t been immune of late as its razor thin margins, when there are any, isn’t what sustains business models.

With what is likely to be a slow trading day, with or without a sizable move, there’s plenty of time for traders to wonder whether this morning’s trade lower is just a rest in the bounce back or a reconsideration of that bounce back. When you have nothing else to do your mind gets to ask those kind of questions, despite the fact that there’s no way in which to arrive at an answer that should instill confidence.

Last week broke the pattern of very weak Fridays. Hopefully today’s trading will not set the stage for a return to that pattern, as I was looking forward to some assignments and setting the stage for a busy end to the monthly cycle.

I suspected that today would just be another in a recent slow day of trading. The real challenge may just be in staying awake. Luckily I have the dog to see to it that boredom doesn’t overtake me as watching the monitors do nothing to fight off the sleep and there’s no way that I’ll be shoveling as a means to escape the tedium that may ensue once the news of the Comcast buyout of Time Warner Cable has been fully beaten to death.

Hopefully this morning’s snow won’t do anything to knock out power, although this may be the day in which there’s little to be missed

When the final bell rang it still wasn’t clear where the eventual optimism came from. I even surprised myself by making a purchase of MasterCard, a company I haven’t owned since long before the pre-split days when it traded at below $400.

For some reason, despite understanding that the actual price of shares means little, as far as value goes, sometimes it’s just difficult to pick up shares that cost $800. The 10 to 1 split was welcome, especially since the finance sector is under-represented in my portfolio.

While this week has been another in a series of slow ones, once again, I didn’t mind, as long as it meant watching assets grow.

As much as I like to trade I don’t like getting to a point where it is clearly an addiction. Sometimes you just have to resist the need to feed that beast, but it isn’t easy.

Today, I simply walked outside with a shovel in hand, having wired my computer to some powerful speakers and set the price alarms to alert me if anything was going on that needed my attention as I dealt with snow.

My wife, who apparently is “essential” personnel was picked up at home by the hospital security 4 wheel drive and as a result of her getting into work. I received a call from one of the Emergency Room physicians telling me that all he had done today was confirming patient deaths.

Guess what? From shoveling. Not only can snow be bad for earnings, but it can kill you, too.

So I won’t be doing that tomorrow, no matter how boring it may get, although I do like my speaker set up. I may keep that going.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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