Pre-holiday trading fading, Russia-Turkey feud simmers

Oil flat, gold, bonds slightly down as Wall Street nervously awaits turkey day and beyond while keeping an eye on a very different kind of Turkey day.

Recent Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, featuring The Rockettes. (Credit: Jacquie Kubin)

WASHINGTON, November 25, 2015 – Mark Twain concluded his great American novel, “Huckleberry Finn,” with a finale he titled: “Chapter the Last: Nothing more to write.” Today’s dwindling, rudderless trading action called that useful phrase to mind. It looks as if for much of Wall Street, as well as for home gamers like the Maven, that as Wednesday afternoon winds down, there’s “Nothing more to trade.”

Oh, there are the usual suspects, like our frustrating position in Molina (symbol: MOH), a highly-rated healthcare company by most analysts, but one that remains in a disconcerting pattern, rallying sharply over two or three days, then taking for about five as it slowly climbs down the ladder to price oblivion.

The stock is substantially short right now, with some 15 percent of its float in the bearish camp right now. Yet, as it snaps up Medicaid contract after Medicaid contract, its business continues to grow. The bears must know something the Maven doesn’t know, which is disconcerting. Perhaps today’s reflexive downward blip is simply due to a lack of trading in this volatile healthcare issue.

Elsewhere, the oil patch is relatively flat to down after Monday’s and Tuesday’s big rallies, primarily predicated on the impasse between U.S. NATO ally Turkey and Putin’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Russia. Alleging one of Putin’s jets violated Turkish airspace, the Turkish Air Force promptly shot it down, and Putin, unsurprisingly, is not amused.

Read also: Downed Russian jet downs U.S. stocks in thin Tuesday trading

More than just this incident is making investors nervous, however. Existing and crucial oil and gas pipelines crisscross Turkey, and U.S.-funded Russian ally Iran wants to add another pipeline to the mix, not to mention Russia itself which has a stake in controlling oil and gas flow in that region, a fact deliberately ignored by the irrational fossil fuel-hating Obama regime.

This impasse is giving oil a temporary price floor. But, given the Fed’s ongoing “Hamlet” act, stocks in general are afraid to break out of their long 2015 trading range one way or another.

Trading will continue to decline for the rest of this week as Wednesday draws to a close. Markets themselves are closed Thursday for Thanksgiving and are open for half a day of trading on Black Friday.

Read also: No bid for oil, no break for Macy’s in Thursday morning trading

While some folks will be turning on the tube Thursday morning to catch the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC, we’ve finally decided to take a permanent pass on this shameless, 3-hour gabfest and infomercial. It’s a shell of what it once was, and it’s one more proof that Macy’s (M) itself is losing its dominance both in the markets it serves and through its unwillingness to rescue at least some of its colorful parade from NBC’s stultifying talking heads and overwhelmingly obvious and stupid commercials.

Read also: Turkey TV: Forget Macy’s 2015 Thanksgiving Parade

Others will be glued to the tube (or is it really a “tube” anymore?) for wall-to-wall football. Mr. and Mrs. Maven, however, plan to enjoy a day full of turkey and trimmings but devoid of stocks, bonds, Barack Obama, and everything else that’s obnoxious in 2015. Those wily Islamofascist terroristas may force us to return to the computer over the next couple of days. But otherwise, we’re just going to take a couple of days off from our columns and await more definitive action on Monday.

Have a wonderful holiday, and we’ll mostly likely see you again early next week.

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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