Daily Market Update – October 7, 2014 (CLose)

It’s hard to say whether yesterday was a disappointment or not.

While it’s true that the early morning gain never quite survived, neither did it give way to any kind of tangible profit taking.

But even if you had doubts about yesterday, there can’t be any about today.

This morning appeared ready to start exactly where yesterday left off. The market was pretty ambivalent yesterday and had a hard time deciding whether to finish higher or lower. This morning it looked as if there would be a mildly lower opening with no real news to fuel anything.

That changed, but without any real obvious reason and the market ended with another of these 200+ point moves, but in the wrong direction, unless you’re really into volatility.

Even I’m not that into volatility.

While yesterday had the Hewlett Packard news which by all appearances was a dizzying spin of why the split up was a reflection of Hewlett Packard’s success, today had nothing.

Other than all of the scheduled speakers this week and tomorrow’s FOMC Statement release, that pretty much describes the rest of the week.

In the meantime the market had been sitting just short of the mid-way point for its 2 year pattern of mini-corrections. It was getting ready to start the morning about 2.3% below its high from a few weeks ago, so it was really anyone’s guess where the next stop would be be.

Tomorrow morning the only thing to guess is whether we will see the market takes us to and perhaps beyond that 5% mini-correction level that we last saw at the very end of July, as the market ended today about 3.6% below its high.

Tomorrow comes the next challenge.

With the anticipation for the last FOMC Statement being so focused on the phrase “considerable time,” as it was being used to describe when the increase in interest rates would start, somewhere along the line will come the realization that with each passing month, by definition that “considerable time” has been shortened by a month.

Sooner or later there will be no time left and rates will go higher.

Although it shouldn’t come as a surprise, you can be reasonably assured that the market will react as if it was a surprise and then will bounce back from the shock that should never have been a shock.

But that scenario may not have to play out for so
me considerable time.

What will play out almost immediately will be earnings, that really get going tomorrow, even though the traditional leader of the season, Alcoa is no longer in the DJIA.

This earnings period will be interesting because the likelihood is that retail will have some good news, but energy will have some bad news, especially as it gives forward guidance.

If you asked anyone what the future would hold for the energy sector, given all of the geo-political risk, they would have had to have been crazy to not believe that the future for profits was incredibly bright. But this period in time is markedly different, as even with all of the world’s craziness energy prices (and precious metals) are plummeting.

They will surely go up at some point, but as the expression goes “if not now, when?”

After a couple of purchases yesterday, I wouldn’t have minded adding some others for the week, but am still not committed to it. If anything, I may be interested in buying back some of last week’s assigned positions, but I’m not too convinced that I’ll have much interest to break out beyond those names at the moment. As the afternoon progressed and there was a sell-off on top of the already weak numbers, there was even less reason to make those purchases.

As has become the pattern of late, unless there’s a spike higher to open a session, giving an opportunity to sell calls, the likelihood is that sitting back and watching to see how that early trading evolves is the way to go. That was definitely the way to go today and it was also a good idea to resist anything looking like a value.

With the exception of last Friday when the market indicated higher and stayed that way, these early morning trading patterns have had very poor predictive value. Lower opening trading hasn’t offered much in the way of value and higher opens haven’t led to higher closes, for the most part.

I had suspected that the typical FOMC pattern would be in play today, unless, as last month, someone thought to have an inside track, such as the Wall Street Journal’s Jon Hilsenrath, offers an opinion on what tomorrow will bring. Otherwise, there was very little reason to suspect any kind of accentuated movement in either direction, as most traders are playing very conservatively now.

Most of the time that’s not too bad of an idea.

Today, though, they were neither conservative nor in panic, but maybe a blow off from some kind of panic is better than this seemingly unwarranted syncopated sell-off that has been going on for the past three weeks.

But who knows, maybe Janet Yellen will give us a brief respite tomorrow.