Monday Markets: Fear of Failure nicks stocks, commodities

MSM pundits blame Trump, Congress for Friday failure of Obamacare “repeal and replace” and toss in sell orders like Molotov Cocktails. But is this true?

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Which way did they go? (Image via Pixabay, CC 0.0, public domain)

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2017 – It was a mixed bag on Wall Street on Monday, as the Dow tanked for the 8th trading day in a row and the broader-based S&P 500 wobbled into red ink territory even as the tech-heavy NASDAQ scored a modest gain.

Media pundits are still game to blame the Trump Rally’s recent slippage on the ineptitude of the President and the stupidity of House and Senate Republicans. Admittedly, while the accepted assessment of the current Republican Congress is rarely in doubt, it wasn’t the President who failed to muster the votes needed to begin the painful but inevitable Obamacare repeal and replace process.

Besides, Friday’s utter failure by the House to move forward on a key Party campaign pledge is emblematic merely serves as a convenient excuse for the discredited and former mainstream media, including the largely discredited financial press, to launch another anti-Trump meme regardless as to whether or not this latest blame-game exercise is fake news. (Which it is.)

What really continues to bug stocks includes the following:

  • Fear that the Federal Reserve doesn’t really know what it’s doing (which is true)
  • Fear that commodity prices, particularly in crude oil, are slipping (they are)
  • Fear that the current rally has gone too far and too fast (which it has)
  • Fear that either North Korea or Iran will do something really stupid (which at least one of them will)
  • Fear that in general, things are falling apart (which, to an extent, they are)
  • Fear of fear itself

Add to this:

  • Good old-fashioned profit taking (why not, particularly if markets are toppy)
  • The need for winless-in-2017 bears to get a win, and soon, on their massive short positions
  • The breathtaking corruption of national politics, the Federal Judiciary, the Federal bureaucracy and the horrifying politicization of the nation’s spy agencies…

…and voilà! You have a genuine, Wall Street-flavored Wall of Worry. As evidence, here’s today’s FinViz heatmap, illustrating how many sectors and stocks were pinned in the negative red and brown zones, while few shares ended up in the happier green zone. One notable green area today was the pharmaceutical-medical-drug sector. (Just one guess as to why.)

Meanwhile, the McClellan Oscillator, which had been attempting to get some upside momentum going last week, flatlined Monday, slipping into the neutral zone on the negative side of zero, meaning we’re still at least moderately oversold

Oddly enough, however, Walls of Worry like the one we’re currently attempting to climb, are usually what end up restarting temporarily stalled bull markets.

As of today, however, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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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