Yo-yo market: Stocks every which way but up as Fed reports

Zombie yo-yo.
Yo-yo market or Zombie Apocalypse? Take your pick. (PR image, Zombie yo-yo's)

WASHINGTON, October 29, 2014 – It’s trick-or-treat time on Wall Street today, albeit just a tad early in the week. After opening nicely up nicely in a follow-through to Tuesday’s rally, traders changed their minds this afternoon after the Fed definitively—more or less—finally put a stake through the heart of QE. It’s like the Day of the Living Dead right now on Wall Street.

Even so, and fortunately for bulls, the Fed, in its long-awaited October statement Wednesday afternoon, mentioned those magic words: “for a considerable time.” That phrase was (and is) used to describe just how long the central bank plans to keep interest rates at historic lows. An the Fed used the phrase again today.

Since low rates have been, at least in part, what’s been keeping 2014’s more or less extended rally going, that should have made markets happy, right? Wrong, it would seem. As the time for the Fed’s missive approached, all averages headed for the cliff, although oddly, at about 3:45 p.m. EDT, the bulls seem to be attempting a last-minute comeback.

Wednesday has been like a yo-yo on the exchanges, bouncing up and down without a really definitive direction. In the morning, Big Oil stocks were up, big time. Now they’re back down again and trying to reverse back up. Ditto other volatile sectors, particularly tech. Since it’s nearly Halloween, that’s why we chose a swell image of Zombie brand yo-yos to decorate today’s page. In fact, today’s close may end up resembling a Zombie Apocalypse.

Or not.

Speaking of oil, we were irked but not surprised that we didn’t get any shares at all of today’s hot Shell Midstream Partners master limited partnership (MLP). The biggest IPO of its kind to date, shares were to be priced between $19-21 last night, so the Maven put in for a modest amount—particularly when he noted they’d upped the final offering price to $23, which is usually a good sign of interest in a given IPO.

Sure enough, there was loads of interest. The Maven, like most little guys, was promptly shut out of the deal, and the flippers had all the fun today as the stock is up a whopping 10+ points at $33 and change. If you ever wonder why the middle class is either shrinking or doing a fiscal dog paddle in place, this long-running example of the rich getting richer is one part of a very miserable story.

Aside from this, Wednesday on Wall Street is too goofy to describe with any accuracy. Aside from the Fed, stocks on the whole had suddenly become grossly overbought, so you had to expect something like this.

As for us, we’ll leave you now with these tidbits and we’ll come back tomorrow, hopefully with some insights and recommendations once today’s zombie stocks get re-animated one way or the other.

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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