WASHINGTON, July 10, 2015 – The Maven is penning a short early column today, before donning his old theater reviewer cap and heading off to Shepherdstown, West Virginia for the opening weekend of the annual Contemporary American Theater Festival. Meanwhile, Wall Street will be opening its own Friday theater festival at Friday morning’s opening bell.
More properly, this theatrical production might better be named after a once-weekly segment of Disney’s original 1950s-era Mickey Mouse Club. A staple of after-school TV viewing back then (for those kids who weren’t chomping at the bit for American Bandstand), this kiddie-oriented variety show formatted daily must-see program devoted one theme show per week to “Anything Can Happen Day,” a grab back topic that often pitched visits to the original Disneyland.
But you never really knew each week what would be on this segment. And that’s what markets are dealing with today.
After all, we’ve had plenty of street theater on the exchanges all week, ranging from mostly negative obsessions with Greece (“To Grexit, or not to Grexit); China (stop selling and/or shorting stocks or we’ll kill you); Puerto Rico (do we give the Commonwealth the same Chapter 9 tool the states already have, or do we help keep rich lenders rich?); Iran (can we really take all that excess oil on the market, or should we just let them build the nukes they’re already building); Donald Trump (all Mexicans are criminals or bums, just like all Republicans); Hillary Clinton (“It’s not a criminal act if I don’t say it’s a criminal act”); HUD (“Let’s turn all the suburbs into slums”); and God knows what else that’s either been monetized or politicized.
But, to steal the title of an old song, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Word is that the Chi-coms have beaten the short-sellers and mass sellers into submission, halting, at least for now, the waterfall decline in Chinese stocks that had begun to freak out the world—which will worry about that government’s ham-fisted treatment of investors later.
Buzz also has it that, mirabile dictu, Greece and the Eurozone might actually hammer out an agreement this weekend, preventing the dreaded (or not-so-dreaded) Grexit. (Like St. Thomas, we’ll believe that story when we see it.)
In other words, “Happy Days Are Here Again,” at least for the half-hour after the opening bell, with Dow futures up over 200 points, S&P 500 futures up nearly 28 respectable points, and NASDAQ futures up nearly 60. The Dow and the NAZZ are likely to benefit from a nice recovery up-day in the stock of Apple (symbol: AAPL), which has been hammered for days by the usual stories that the company will be out of business soon because no one will ever buy its products again. Why people even publish this nonsense any more has been a continuing mystery to the Maven.
On other fronts, wholesale trade figures for the U.S. will show up at 10 a.m. EDT if anyone is paying attention. And Janet Yellen will be speaking on whatever in Cleveland today as well. Either of these items could throw cold water on what’s bound to be a swell opening trade for the bulls. But the bears are still out there waiting to pound that open back down again just as they did Thursday.
UPDATE: In her Cleveland speech Friday morning, Yellen essentially repeated the Fed’s earlier intention to raise interest rates, but said it would be “this year,” indicating that while the U.S. central bank seems hell-bent on raising those rates at least a bit in 2015, they don’t want to pin down a time. Betting is still on either September or December 2015, but events could derail either target, just as events derailed the Fed’s original June 2015 target.
Plus, as usual these days, a lot of funds, investors and traders will probably want to take some chips off the table today rather than get ambushed sometime this weekend when all today’s happy talk suddenly takes a 180.
We, however, will be seeing five new plays this weekend and letting you know whether or not you should go see them in reviews we’ll be publishing early next week. We need a break from this stinker of a market. So do you.
Have a good weekend, and if you still have cash in your portfolios, let it sit there.