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U.S. markets levitate on hot air as Egypt deteriorates

Written By | Jul 9, 2013

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2013 — For the moment at least, the stock market seems to have shaken off its June malaise, with all averages nicely up again at 12 noon EDT today. Irrational exuberance seems to have returned in force with regard to this early July levitation.

But again, we’re dealing with a low-volume melt up at best as averages break through their 2013 highs, giving the bulls more ammo to use against the bond bullies and Fed taper fear-mongers. (Say that three times.)

Meanwhile, Egypt degenerates ominously in the background, lifting the price of all crude oil above the century mark in dollar terms. It’s a wonder folks aren’t starting to complain again as prices inch up once again at the pump.

But in the universe of Obamanomics that’s become the new corollary to Murphy’s Law—anything that can be done wrong is done wrong—maybe nobody is noticing anymore as they spend most of their day looking to put together enough part time jobs to equal a full time job, minus health insurance, of course.

Meanwhile, less people in the world now like the U.S. than back in the days of the hated Bush regime. The Egyptians most of all. Go figure. The press is ignoring it, so this isn’t really real, is it?

Yes, it’s a strange new world out there. Our once very-safe bonds have been savaged over the last month, although they’re now at least stabilizing. Meanwhile, out of self-defense, we’re having to creep back into volatile stocks once again. The oils are finally looking good, given the Middle East situation, although we suppose peace could break out at any time over there. On second thought, no it won’t.

We actually don’t have much to say today, since we’re still looking at charts mostly and trying to figure out where to re-ignite the portfolio while protecting against any further bond declines, all of which were overdone to begin with. Dumb luck seems to count more in the current market than age and wisdom combined.

But it might be time to start nibbling back into tech again, perhaps via ETFs rather than the actual stocks. Techs as a group are astoundingly volatile which means you can make a lot of money in them very quickly if you’re right.

But you can get your portfolio killed if your timing is wrong. And timing often has nothing to do with purchasing stock in smaller, more interesting tech companies, because they’re driven by rumors and HFTs rather than earnings, which, for the smaller ones, tend to be non-existent.

We think we’ll wait for a nice down day or two before putting any more funds to work. Assuming the down days don’t signal the return of the Bad News Bears, that is.

Keep your powder dry. Whatever we decide to do, we’ll do it slowly.

Disclaimer: The author of this column maintains several active trading and investment portfolios and owns residential and investment real estate.

Positions mentioned above describe this author’s own investment decisions and should not be construed as either buy or sell recommendations. The current market is highly treacherous and all investors travel at their own risk, so caution should be exercised at all times.

Illustrations, charts, commentary, and analysis are only the author’s view of current or historical market activity and don’t constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any security or contract. Views, indications, and analysis aren’t necessarily predictive of any future market or government action. Rather they indicate the author’s opinion as to a range of possibilities that may occur going forward.

References to other reporters, analysts, pundits, or commentators are illustrative only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement of such individuals’ points of view. If specific investment vehicles are mentioned in any article under this column heading, the author will always fully disclose any active or contemplated investments in said vehicles.

Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of the Washington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing and political insights, visit his Communities columns, The Prudent Man and Morning Market Maven, in Business.

Follow Terry on Twitter @terryp17


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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 Senior 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