WASHINGTON, October 20, 2014 – Very short column today. The Maven is short on time, short on money, and somewhat short the market via ETFs and plans to stay that way at least today.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer is calling a bottom to the current downtrend. But Jim has done that before and he’s been wrong. People love to dump on Cramer although, as a former hedge-ster himself, he usually knows what he’s talking about from a technical standpoint.
But Cramer’s almost constant bullishness and his increasingly shrill antics aren’t doing him or his loyal followers any good. We’re at a treacherous juncture in the market here and you have to respect that for yelling “Buy, buy, buy” in a crowded and fearful marketplace. That’s because the fears are actually well-founded.
In the first place, world events continue to tumble out of control, largely due to the fact that we no longer have a President or a U.S. Senate. The “President” is usually looking for another round of golf; or, in the case of the Ebola mess his lame political appointees continue to botch, he appoints another lackey with no medical attention as his new “Ebola Czar” to make sure his own tee-times remain free of conflict.
The Czar has missed the first two meetings of his expert committee. Meanwhile, our almost continuously AWOL almost-president found time for another round of golf right after he announced the appointment, a non-solution if there ever was one.
When the market sees this kind of stuff and watches the rest of the world spinning out of control, it gets nervous.
The market gets even more nervous when it realizes the Fed’s QE program is nearing an end and the big bankers and the 1 percenters won’t be getting any more free money. That means the banks in particular might actually have to lend money to middle class people again to make their fat executive bonus targets, and lending to real people who’ve needed loans for the last 6 years now…well, it’s kinda scary since it’s not quite as safe as the money they get from the Treasury’s printing presses.
So, likely we’re also witnessing Taper Tantrum II, in spite of the Fed’s Friday protestations that they would continue to make nice even after ending their massive free lunch for the rich.
These twin issues combined are continuing to fray nerves in Wall Street’s increasingly virtual trading pits, so markets will likely remain extraordinarily treacherous even though they desperately want to end the year with a Santa Claus rally. Right now, it’s still a better than even chance they’ll get a lump of coal instead. Unless Obama manages to close down the rest of our coal mines. AFTER the election, of course.
So Jim, you might want to be a little less enthusiastic here until the smoke clears. Sort of like the Maven.
Needless to say, no trading tips today. Markets right now are a little bit like an elevated PSA reading. Maybe bad, maybe not. So watchful waiting is the best thing to do right now.
And don’t lose your shorts. At least not yet.