WASHINGTON. The lackluster Thursday trading action on Wall Street was likely the beginning of the kind of minor corrective one expects after the kind of irrational, post-election exuberance we experienced Wednesday. Or a full-fledged cyclical bear market if you’re a pessimist. And you will be a pessimist if you look too closely at plummeting oil prices, and / or at efforts by America’s Corruptocrats to nullify key Republican gains by finding heretofore hidden crates of tombstone voters and votes.
First, those wild and crazy Corruptocrats and their wacky tombstone voters
To recap recent Wall Street action: After wallowing in an October Slough of Despond, all three major averages soared bigly on a bright and happy post-election Wednesday. But Thursday’s follow-up action looked a bit more like that dismal October we just endured. Unsurprisingly, Friday looks just as dismal, aided and abetted, I think, by evidence in Florida, Arizona and elsewhere that, as far as industrious left-wing Corruptocrats are concerned. Election 2018 is far from over.
Why? Because the Corruptocrats lost key contests in those states and they’re now attempting to remedy these defeats by bringing in truckloads of pre-manufactured votes for their candidates. They’ll count and count those votes from tombstone voters until their candidates win. Just like Al Gore did in Florida after Election 2000. Fortunately at that time, we had Justice Scalia to smell a rat and stop that selective re-count.
Incorrigible Corruptocrats will do everything they can this year to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Particularly in Florida’s Chicago-style corrupt Broward Country. Nobody manufactures tombstone voters and votes better than Broward County. Their permanent cadre of professional Corruptocrat vote manufacturing experts will keep printing them and counting them until they get the “correct” total. It’s why the GOP always needs a big lead to win these Third World districts. Why these Florida Corruptocrats are not already in jail continues to baffle me. Then again, so does much of life.
More about the latest 24/7 #Resistance effort
In other words, the #Resistance, having failed to prevail this past Tuesday will continue with its favorite tactic of magical realism, wherein they magically discover – after the election – U-Hauls full of Corruptocrat votes someone “accidentally overlooked.”
When they get done counting them, the resulting Corruptocrat “wins” will help guarantee two more years of virtual anarchy in the nation’s capital city.
Frankly, it’s a disgrace. But so far, no one beside President Trump and, surprisingly, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) currently has the guts to stand up to these clowns. And even when they and a few others do, there’s always a Clinton- or Obama-appointed judge available to unconstitutionally slap down Trump’s attempts to govern or Florida’s attempt to have a fair election anywhere else where these Corruptocrats and their minions seize power. ¡Viva Hugo Chavez!
Economics aside, this is not the sort of instability that makes Wall Street happy. It adds to the already considerable headline risk our markets constantly endure.
Hedge fund Armageddon? Mass selling on the horizon?
There’s other nasty stuff afoot as well, but we need to get back to the $$$ at hand in this column rather than get up on our political soapboxes. At least for today.
Still remembering Wednesday’s post-Election 2018 rally
In contrast to the nauseating trading action both Thursday and today, Wednesday’s big, fat rally was fun, a welcome change. For a single, shining moment, I thought my portfolios might even emerge to break even for the year if the rally continued.
Despite being nearly flat now on the year, there was one other thing that caused glimmerings of end-of-year happiness. Since I began heavily tilting the portfolios toward broadly based ETFs and relatively short-term preferred stocks earlier this year, these accounts have generally reaped substantial dividends throughout 2018. Dividends, while not those coveted capital gains, were often above 5-6 percent in several of the preferred stocks we held.
Hapless Allergan shares wallow in a Vale of Tears once again
Ah, but then, there’s my large and troublesome holding of Dublin-based pharmaceutical giant Allergan (trading symbol: AGN). Things looked decent throughout much of 2018 in this stock. But then, the shares took a fresh beating in October. Oh, the humanity!
After getting pretty darn close to my breakeven point in my overly large holding of this expensive stock, which is about $200 per share, a massive gang of bears and early year-end tax loss sellers badly bloodied those shares, taking them down into very negative territory we hadn’t seen since the turn of the year.
AGN shares appear to have bottomed once again, this time in the high $150 range. That took us down damn near to its recent absolute bottom in the mid-to-upper $140 per share range. The shares spent much of Thursday in slightly positive territory, nearing the $170 mark Thursday morning after Wednesday’s big and welcome spike up.
But AGN shares wimped out Thursday afternoon, and continue to get beaten up today. As of 1 p.m. ET Friday, they’re off another $2 per share to wallow around $166 and change. They’ll probably back and fill again like they did the last time before finally jumping over $170 and staying there. But that’s still a long way from the $200 per share I need to break even.
Crude oil prices remain under assault, big time
Another problem markets face is the sudden and dramatic collapse in the price of oil. And by this, I particularly mean to reference the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude. It’s dropped well below previous support lines, with the price now lingering at or slightly below $60 per barrel as I punch this report in on my keyboard. The main reason seems to be a current oversupply of the goopy black stuff.
Seems like it was only a week or two when WTI was topping $80 bbl., and oil bulls were joyously opining that the next stop was $100 bbl. But that’s typical of them. On top of this, North Sea-based Brent crude was priced even higher, encouraging the bulls even more.
Of course, all stocks affiliated with drilling, exploration, etc. of black gold have been getting it in the ear lately, causing weeping and gnashing of teeth on Wall Street. On the other hand, given the yin and yang of life, prices at the pump should be getting lower and lower in your neighborhood, reflecting oil’s current decline.
But consumers will rejoice as the price at the pump declines
Typically, however, the retail price of gasoline will take a lot longer to come down than it did to go up. At any rate, this will mean Christmas joy for anyone in the retail or grocery trade, as transportation costs, which have been soaring, will back off just in time for the year’s heaviest shipping season. Here’s hoping that those shipping fuel surcharges will do likewise. Well, we can hope, can’t we?
Beavis and Butthead opine on Friday trading action
With regard to market averages this afternoon… Well, as Beavis and Butthead used to say, “This sucks!”
The Dow currently sits at around 25,941, down a nasty 250 points or thereabouts for a nearly 1 percent decline. The broader-based S&P 500 average is perched at 2773 and change, down an unpleasant 33.50 points for a current loss of nearly 1.25 percent.
Meanwhile, it’s apparently time to beat up on those currently hapless techs once again. That’s evidenced by the negative action today in the tech-heavy NASDAQ. It’s now wobbling around 7380. Thus, it’s off a whopping 152+ points, down a bit over 2 percent on the day. More and more, the NAZZ looks read to move from correction territory to full cyclical bear market mode. Come on, guys. Techs should perform a lot better than this in Q4.
Taking time off from depressing news
It’ll be nice to have the weekend off. Maybe you and I can get back to the more enjoyably mundane things that constitute real life. Wall Street is closed for the weekend, as usual, although good and bad news will pile up until Monday. Again as usual. But I intend to forget about the nonsense until then.
Don’t take everything you see in the news and in the market too seriously these days. The stress will send you on a premature journey down a long, narrow, brilliantly lit corridor to an unknown infinity. I’m not quite ready for that trip yet. Bet you aren’t, either.
— Headline image: Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with Comically Incorrect.