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The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away: Thursday’s iffy stock market action

Written By | Jul 9, 2020
stocks, Lord giveth, Lord taketh away

Blake’s Ancient of Days, 1794. The “Ancient of Days” is described in Chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel. This image depicts Copy D of the illustration currently held at the British Museum. Image via Wikipedia entry on Blake. Image in the public domain.

WASHINGTON – “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.” Oops, sorry. Hope I haven’t offended the easily offended out there by quoting this famous line from the Book of Job. Particularly in the context of a financial article. But, heck, too bad. It perfectly describes this week’s market action. Wednesday, both Mr Market and the heavens themselves were in a giveth mood, as stocks rallied again, particularly techs. But today, Thursday, as we’ve come to expect, the heavens and Mr Market are back in taketh away mode.

The CDC’s Dr Faustus rides again, and Walgreens doesn’t help

CNBC added some color to today’s iffy Wall Street action.

“Walgreens was the biggest laggard in the Dow, dropping 9.74% on weaker-than-expected earnings for the previous quarter. [Dow stock] Walgreens also suspended a share repurchase program. Apple shares traded flat, giving up an earlier gain…

“Stocks hit their lows of the day after Florida reported a record in coronavirus-related hospitalizations. The state also reported a record spike in Covid deaths. They recovered slightly, however, after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidate will likely enter phase 3 of trials by the end of July.”




You can always count on the terminally confused and self-contradicting Dr Fauci to move markets to and fro by talking out of both sides of his overly talkative mouth. He seems to like it when the Lord taketh away.


Also read my earlier story: Buffett finally makes a big buy. NatGas and Mr Market are happy

Thursday’s action mostly in “the Lord taketh away” mode…

And so, after an opening flutter of optimism, market averages tanked Thursday morning. As I attempt to write this brief column today, less than an hour from the 4 p.m. ET closing bell, we’re looking at what’s become a fairly typical pattern on Wall Street. After everything got clobbered this morning, the Dow Jones Industrials remained clobbered, down 1.19% at the moment.

The broader-based S&P 500 followed the Dow like a little puppy dog, but hasn’t fared nearly as badly, at least thus far. That average is off just 0.29%. But, surprise! The NASDAQ, after getting whacked like its closely followed friends Thursday morning, has come back fairly strong this afternoon, currently posting a +76.48 point gain, putting it in the green to the tune of +0.74%. That’s not exactly earth shattering, but it’s still a gain, for now.

…Except if you’re in Big Tech stocks, where, these days, the Lord giveth

So today, if you’re heavily invested in the Dow and the S&P, the Lord taketh away. But if you’re in the NASDAQ, particularly if you’re in stalwarts like Amazon (trading symbol: AMZN), Apple (AAPL),  Alphabet / Google (GOOGL) and their robber baron tech capitalist friends, you’re coining money today. In fact, AMZN shares are up a colossal $106+ per share. Damn! (Sorry, Lord.) These shares are expensive and I only have a few. Oh, well…

I love the way Big Tech has been moving lately. Clearly, when it comes to Big Tech, the Lord giveth.

But moves like Amazon’s are starting to scare me. Either someone in Hedge Fund Land is bidding this stock up with abandon, or those increasingly irritating kids playing video games over at Robinhood (the online brokerage for the Playstation set). Either the hedgies or the Robinhood kids or this writer will pay for these gyrations soon, but apparently not yet. Which makes me reluctant to ditch those Amazon shares before the Earth is consumed with fire. Which AOC assures us is just 12 short years away.  For sure. She’s a Commie. She knows.

An alternative read would have us believing that the post coronavirus recovery is alive and well. Unfortunately, media headlines today prefer to emphasize those ever-increasing numbers of MOSTLY NONFATAL coronavirus cases so we’ll remain afraid. VERY afraid. CNBC, often a go-to financial site for me, remains totally silent on the good initial unemployment news the Department of Labor revealed Thursday morning. Figures. Let’s emphasize the (highly misleading) coronavirus numbers instead. I sometimes think the remnants of Al Qaeda are secretly running today’s “major” media sites.

Moving stocks: How to undermine a good-news story

At least MarketWatch posted a story on this, although the writer posting as Jeffry Bartash, cleverly undermines the good news in every sentence, in an article subtitled “Millions of people are still losing their jobs each week.” How’s that for positive spin?

“The numbers: The number of initial jobless claims fell by almost 100,000 in early July to a four-month low 1.31 million, but the pace of layoffs is still quite high and appears to be bogging down an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Initial jobless claims, a rough gauge of layoffs, dropped to 1.31 million in the seven days ended July 4 from a revised 1.41 million in the prior week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The figures are seasonally adjusted.



“Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast 1.40 million new claims…

“Yet if all eight state and federal assistance programs are included, continuing claims totaled an unadjusted 32.9 million in the seven days ended June 20, the most recent data available. That marks an increase from 31.5 million in the prior week.”

Bartash continues undermining the good news with numbers and logic that can only confuse the average reader. Clearly, he loves it when the Lord taketh away. From Trump and the Deplorables, that is.

The real story here is that the 1.31 figure quickly skated over is a “four-month low.” And that number was (gasp) below the MarketWatch “forecast of 1.40 million new [jobless] claims.” That’s the story. The US economy is clawing its way back despite the latest attempt by the media, the Democrats, and the Soros-funded BLM and Antifa Commie crooks to wreck the economy, destroy family finances and blame it all on President Trump so they can reclaim power in the fall elections.

Will any of this year’s political dirty tricks actually work? On either Mr Market, November, or both?

It’s too early to say whether these dirty tricks will work. Although crooked New York City prosecutor Cy Vance, Jr. (Democrats always keep it in the family) got the green light, more or less, to start going through reams of the President’s tax records. Watch for the drip, drip, drip of illegal leaks to start soon. We’ll have August, September, October and November surprises before long. And Mr Market is likely to follow any document drop. So fall could be brutal for serious investors. But those brats at Robinhood might clean up if they place their bets correctly. What a mess this country is in.

Anyhow, it looks like US markets will close down today. Or at least the Dow and the S&P 500 are headed that way.

UPDATE:

The Dow closed down 360+ points for a 1.38% loss on the day. The S&P 500 lost 17.83 points for a 0.56% loss. And the tech-heavy NASDAQ held out like a hero for at least one more day, closing up 55.25 points for a 0.53% gain, essentially canceling out the S&P loss. Tomorrow is another day.

Conclusion

So, the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. That’s true in life and it’s true for stocks. This writer, at least, is hoping that the techs can hang in there and start moving the rest of the market. Otherwise, we’ll soon be in the Taketh Away Zone. Big time. But given today’s close, perhaps we will once again see the Lord giveth.

If you have cash to invest, be very careful here. Nothing, including stocks, stays airborne forever.

– Headline image: Blake’s Ancient of Days, 1794. The “Ancient of Days” receives mention in Chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel. Illustration depicts Copy D of the illustration currently held at the British Museum. Image via Wikipedia entry on Blake. Image in the public domain.

 

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