Posts Tagged ‘PH’

Testy Tuesday – Have the Markets Become Comfortably Numb?

"There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown,
The dream is gone.
but I have become comfortably numb
." – Pink Floyd
 

I have a theory that the markets (and the American people in general) aren't irrational, they are simply shell-shocked after suffering a very traumatic group financial experience… 

To be shell-shocked is to be "mentally confused, upset, or exhausted as a result of excessive stress" and the most common symptoms are: Fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one's surroundings, and inability to prioritize – That certainly sounds like our Congress doesn't it?  Combat stress disorder was first diagnosed in WWI, when 10% of the troops were killed and 56% wounded – far worse than had been experienced in previous wars.  Our current financial crisis has similarly affected more people than any previous crisis with almost everyone knowing someone who is bankrupt or lost their jobs or homes and almost no one escaped the carnage of the downturn without some financial damage. 

Combat fatigue may go a long way to explaining the severe drop-off in volume that has plagued the markets since March, with participation now down to 25% of where we were last January and that leaves us open to the blatant sort of market manipulation that Karl Denninger caught last week as well as the usual nonsense we get daily from HFT programs that drive the market with such precision that we are able to tell how the day is going to go by simply checking our hourly volume targets.  Here's a clip from CNBC where a floor trader discusses market manipulation as a fact of trading (2 mins in).  

As Nicholas Santiago points out on In The Money Stocks,   "January is usually a very high volume month, yet it has started off the New Year even lighter than the last two months of 2009.  Light volume markets are very difficult to
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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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