Wall Street jumps for joy

Allegedly good numbers goose averages. But layoffs up.

WASHINGTON, November 1, 2012 – Short column today as we have things to do in town. That’s seemingly too bad, too, as the Dow is up roughly 150 points as of 11 a.m. EDT as we write this. The reason given is that consumer confidence numbers are allegedly up sharply while jobless claims “fell” by a whopping 9,000 members of the proletariat—based, of course, on “adjusted” figures from last week. Anyhow, the news led the market to grin like an enigmatic Cheshire Cat. As for tomorrow…

The numbers today had to be wonderful of course, given that the Obama Administration sorely needed these goosed averages going into the weekend before the election so they can put up thousands of ads claiming that the Obama economic recovery plan (i.e., Obamacare) is “working.” (All our scare quotes, BTW, indicate our high level of skepticism with these numbers.) Official government employment numbers come out tomorrow, of course, but they’ll be gamed as well. In any event, any employment improvement, whether real, perceived, or spun, is coming too late now to make much of an electoral difference.

We suspect that today’s up move is just a bit of celebration by traders and HFTs that neither they nor their high-speed computers and algorithms were harmed by Sandy, unlike the average investor or New Jersey shore homeowner. Add to that a bit of building stock spec an indications that China is at long last injecting capital into their moribund markets and industries and you have a good mood today. Whether speculation as to next week’s election results has been entered into the witches’ brew remains to be seen.

Regarding the election—it’s likely to be a vague but omnipresent factor in trading, at least through next Tuesday and beyond if we get another Y2K-style result. So in spite of today’s fun, we’re being cautious. Based on one of the investment services we subscribe to, we’ve taken an unusual bet in the double-inverse (double-short) yuan ETF labeled YCS. That advice is no doubt based as much on the system this services uses as on the perception that, to juice its strigoi-like economy, the Chicoms are weakening their currency, at least a teeny bit. That, in turn, could be good for our own economy, which, as we’ve already noted, could be part of the reason for today’s upsurge.

At any rate, we need to leave it here for now. But enjoy the day and, at least on the East Coast, the possibility that the sun will come out not tomorrow but today as Sandy drifts northward into bad memory territory.

Disclaimer: The author of this column maintains several active trading and investment portfolios and owns residential and investment real estate. He continues to own a position in IAU and has added a small position in YCS.

Positions mentioned above describe this author’s own investment decisions and should not be construed as either buy or sell recommendations. The current market is highly treacherous and all investors travel at their own risk, so caution should be exercised at all times.

Illustrations, charts, commentary, and analysis are only the author’s view of current or historical market activity and don’t constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any security or contract. Views, indications, and analysis aren’t necessarily predictive of any future market or government action. Rather they indicate the author’s opinion as to a range of possibilities that may occur going forward.

References to other reporters, analysts, pundits, or commentators are illustrative only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement of such individuals’ points of view. If specific investment vehicles are mentioned in any article under this column heading, the author will always fully disclose any active or contemplated investments in said vehicles.

Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of the Washington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing and political insights, visit his Communities columns, The Prudent Man and Morning Market Maven, in Business.

Follow Terry on Twitter @terryp17

 

 


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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, movies and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was formerly the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2009) before moving online with Communities in 2010.  

 

 

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