Cold War II smothers Tuesday stock market rally

Cold War II smothers Tuesday stock market rally

Barack Obama.
Modified-to-fit version of the Handicapper-in-Chief's official POTUS portrait.

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2014 – It was just another late-July Tuesday afternoon on Wall Street today. Stocks were patiently building a nice little rally as earnings reports rolled in that were generally “better than expected.” Bulls were happy and bears were becoming dejected.

Until President Barack “Perfect Timing” Obama stepped up to the plate, teeing off his latest round of sanctions against an increasingly belligerent Soviet Union Russia, but being careful to point out we’re not really in a new Cold War. As if.

Can’t say that Vladimir and his Russian Cosa Nostra don’t deserve another one of this administration’s wet noodle beatings. But, with the continuing Israel-Hamas tragedy and the ongoing Children’s Crusade swamping our southern border, it might have been nice if this feckless president had addressed something of more immediate use to U.S. citizens.

In any event, Washington’s ongoing harmonic dissonance torpedoed today’s earnings positives, body slamming markets for a late afternoon loss. We suspect that’s the way things will remain this week as markets seek a real catalyst and keep getting faked out.

More earnings news is on tap for the rest of this week. Ditto the natest news from the Fed, the nagging question as to whether the GDP is experiencing any growth this year, etc. You name it, the market is concerned.

The only clear positive this week is the fact that more and more CNBC pundits and fund bigwigs are predicting a stock market “bubble” that’s on the verge of bursting, which in all likelihood means we get a reverse jinx and the nearly 100% of those predicting a waterfall decline in the averages will be wrong. That won’t be reported, of course, and we’ll move on.

Oh, yes: Windstream (WIN), one of the smaller telecoms around but boasting a nice dividend stunned the market today with an announcement that it will spin off primarily wireline assets into a new REIT. That’s a novel approach to the telecoms’ decaying but still viable landline business, which the Maven himself still retains as the only way to make business calls and web radio casts that aren’t cut off or muddled by lousy cellphone coverage and consistency.

Windstream’s announcement goosed most telecoms nicely, including itself and Frontier (FTR), which we sold for a profit last quarter and regret not getting back into. Oh, well… At any rate, perhaps this innovative move by Windstream, already approved by the IRS BTW, might finally light a fire under the hitherto moribund telecoms and their still swell dividends. Wonder how much Windstream donated to the last Presidential campaign? Hey, just sayin’.

These big minuses and those few encouraging pluses all make for a treacherous end-of-July period. So hold your fire, take some profits if you have them, and pile up a little cash. It will prove useful for buying up bargains if we do get a market smackdown. Or likewise enable us to pick up shares in short ETFs and ride the wave down for a profit.

Or not.

For that reason, plus the ones cited above, no trading tips today. The Maven feels there’s a 100% likelihood that any recommendations will be wrong at this juncture.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17