Stock market gyrations, Google’s China fire

What is going on in the stock market?

The volatility and price swings of shares just does not ring true to this veteran market watcher. The year-end market moves this year defy logic. As many economic reports — while always questionable, but the only barometer used by the Street — show things are still better than the numbers from the Obama era economic malaise, they seem to fall on deaf ears.

This type of volatility has to be coming from institutional investors since the gyrations are so violent and sudden. I don’t think the incoming Democratic-controlled House is the root, since markets prefer divided government as they’re less likely to get any meaningful regulations through Congress.

Fed chairman Jay Powell needs to step aside and let his previous rate hike work through the economy and see where we stand in six months. Since there are words to that effect the Fed will more likely raise rates next week and that is baked into the market, but the language in the press conference will have greater impact.

One theory I believe is that the black box computer trading programs may have reach a critical level where the algorithms control far more shares than human decision makers, which gives you markets swing back and forth with more than 500 points in less than an hour on very little news.

Many market pros have their own interpretations, which are rooted in the past, but I think this market is being honed to towards more non-traditional sources of “news”. While veteran market makers would here rumors that could create price swings but there was discretion. Now these algorithms may take “rumors” or fake news with more seriously without discernment.

Does anyone else find it odd that hours after Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on a host of issues including the search giant developing a censored product for China a fire develops in its offices there.

Breaking: Fire breaks out in Raycom Info Tech Park, which houses Google’s office, in the Zhongguancun technology hub in Beijing, China.📁

Was the order given to cover tracks on the program called Dragonfly, which was a government-approved search engine for the Chinese market, which is heavily censored by Google for access to the market.

On Tuesday Pichai was questioned numerous times during his testimony of censored search. Each time he answered with a variation of “We have no plans at this time to launch in China.”

Perhaps that comment is now true since the fire has pushed back the launch of any product.




Is it time to park your retirement fund?

What did Friday’s nearly 400 point cratering on the Dow and the huge move in treasury bonds tell us about the markets?

As I’ve written recently, September/October is the silly season for the markets. Volatility will ramp up, as it did yesterday by 45% from a historically low-level.

Friday morning pre-market I wrote of the September rate hike as being more about bailing out the derivative markets with special attention to the interest rate swap market.

There’s just no other reason for Janet Yellen of the Fed to be talking in unison on raising rates in two weeks.

The thought that the job market is doing well, based on Labor Dept. data appears to be challenged, since this week Labor revised down 150K jobs created.

The jobs revision did not take away the bartenders, waiters or healthcare workers, no the revision discounted manufacturing and other higher paying jobs.

On the inflation front there is absolutely no wage growth to create inflation. Retail prices as witnessed by any shopper are slashed by 40% in any clothing store window.

If wages are stagnant and prices are falling then you have inflation levels at less than 2 percent, well below the Fed’s desired threshold.

Forget how the US is doing because we are the proverbial cleanest dirty shirt in the pile, England and Europe are easing, Asia is easing and yet Yellen is talking of tightening.

It really doesn’t make sense from an economical view-point, but much of this last eight years has been problematic from a middle class perspective.

That’s why I raised the prospect of this being another back-door bailout for troubled financial institutions to bolstered crippled balance sheets.

This is the reason on Tuesday I parked my 401(k) funds into cash until I get some clarity on what will happen in Sept. through Nov. with the election.

Disclaimer: I did it, but you don’t have to, since I am not a financial adviser.