Wednesday stocks mixed, Washington in chaos, Fed to report

Wednesday stocks mixed, Washington in chaos, Fed to report

Oil headed up, Obama to nominate a liberal justice to replace Scalia, government suddenly bans east coast drilling, Valeant, Peabody out of control, more arrogance out of DC.

Trump takes GOP establishment for a ride. (Cartoon by Branco, see below*)

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2016 – Tuesday, the Ides of March, didn’t result in any spectacular fatalities, but a few at least metaphorical casualties did hit the radar screens. Let us count the ways. Yesterday’s Super Tuesday II primary results seem to have permanently eliminated Marco Rubio and Uncle Bernie Sanders from the viable presidential contenders list, throwing at least Washington establishment Republicans into a state of chaos as a Trump nomination fight at the GOP’s Cleveland national convention approaches certainty.

Just to help that chaos along, reports surfaced Wednesday morning that America’s President Emeritus was set to nominate a “moderate” (read leftist) judge to replace the late, great Antonin Scalia. Just down the street, DOJ, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Stalinist-RI) and some shady professor on the Federal take are seriously attempting to criminalize “dissenters” against the massive global warming climate change hoax. And Obama’s Department of the Sierra Club Interior decided, without advance warning, to rescind go-aheads for east coast oil drilling, stymieing even Virginia’s Democrat governor and chief Clintonista Terry McAuliffe, who had supported it in his state.

But wait! There’s more!

Against this backdrop of weirdness and uncertainty, stocks meandered Wednesday morning in apparent total confusion. Oil prices suddenly surged upward again after their strong downside reversal earlier this week. The latest Bill Ackman screw-up, pharma giant Valeant (symbol: VRX) is in serious financial trouble. (His last brilliant “value enhancement” move was to nearly destroy JC Penney (JCP). Also facing the fiscal precipice is onetime U.S. energy giant Peabody (BTU), now apparently on the edge of bankruptcy due largely to the Administration’s ceaseless, asinine and economically catastrophic War on Coal.

And finally, the market is poised either to withstand—or applaud—the latest in a long line of mealy-mouthed Federal Reserve pronouncements, this one due out Wednesday afternoon. As of 10:30 a.m. EDT, averages are wandering about in the neutral zone. But that’s likely to change this afternoon when the Fed report is out. Which, of course, those in the know will already know about and will start trading on the news some 10-15 minutes prior to its release.

It’s all just another day in the joke of a capital city that Washington, D.C. has become in this century. No one really knows what they’re doing, not even The Powers That Be (TPTB) that routinely condescends to the public despite the fact they’re entirely clueless and unqualified to make pronouncements on anything.

This makes it very, very hard to trade. There’s no confidence in this market, despite it’s sharp turn upward this month. Trading remains generally thin, and cash continues to sit on the sidelines in mass quantities. Why commit to an investment if, five minutes later, some Federal nutcase nukes your investment theory, just because.

We’re just going to keep our powder—and our cash—dry today and see what happens. Markets remain technically quite overbought. Any bad news could correct that situation with considerable violence. And losses to stockholders. It’s probably just better to wait and see if somewhere, somehow, some tiny beam of common sense can pierce the gloom here on the banks of the Potomac, and up in New York in the investment banks themselves.


*Cartoon by Branco. Reprinted with permission and by arrangement with LegalInsurrection.

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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