WASHINGTON – “Round and round and round she goes. And where she stops, nobody knows!” Anyone remember that familiar carnival barker’s pitch? Spin the wheel of fortune and win a prize! Except after a lot of spins, you somehow never managed to win a prize. Bad luck? No, you’d figure. The game is rigged. Same thing with NFL football. Tune in for a game, get another unwanted sermon on wokeness. Bad luck again? Meanwhile, traders and investors are beginning to wonder the same thing this week about Mr Market. Are the stock and bond markets rigged, too?
Sure seems like it. After the recent big-tech double-plus-bad crash that brought a few of these high-flyers back down to earth, these stocks have been blown away, like the side of Mt St Helens a few decades back. A broken-looking McClellan Oscillator tells the tale.
McClellan Oscillator as of COB Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. Chart courtesy Stockcharts.com, a subscription service. Chart is via their free area.
Mixing some metaphors to describe one effed up week for stocks
Mixing this already strained metaphor a bit further, this week’s investor experience has been a little bit like the NFL’s season-opening game for die-hard football fans: one big downer. They flocked to their TVs expecting a game and what they got was the kind of negative, “woke” politics they’re already sick of.
It’s as if you come to a game or event expecting one thing, and you get exactly the opposite. Spin the wheel, and you don’t get a prize. Watch a football game and you get another BLM wokeness sermon passionately preached by some really huge, enormously overpaid but generally not very intelligent athletes whose virtue-signaling pisses off most of their onetime fans.
Or invest in the top-earning stocks in a weird, coronavirus damaged market and get instead the kind of big, fat losses you’d normally expect from penny mining stocks. Is it any wonder that the average American is beginning to feel like a sucker? Where have all the prizes gone?
NFL Football? Or check your (non-existent) privilege?
As for the bathetic, self-parodying NFL madness, here are a few excerpts from Deadline describing this week’s televised NFL season opener.
“With the coronavirus pandemic still raging across America, this year’s NFL season opener was as different as night and day from the 100th season kickoff in 2019.
“For one thing, as reigning Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs pummeled the Houston Texans 34-20, and the ratings were down — a lot. In early numbers, the primetime NBC game scored a 5.2 among adults 18-49 and 16.4 million viewers between 8-11 p.m. ET.
“[Audience ratings numbers] mark a 16.1% drop over the spectacle of the September 5, 2019 season opener in the advertiser-rich demographic. In an America and an NFL still adjusting to the new normal of live sports in the era of COVID-19, last night’s game also fell 16.1% in total sets of eyeballs from last year’s fast affiliate results.
The NFL’s wheel of fortune turns into a ratings wheel of misfortune
“As of now, the viewership results for the game — in front of 17,000 socially distanced fans at KC’s Arrowhead Stadium — is looking like a 10-year low for the NFL and NBC…
“On a field bordered with the words “End Racism” and fans booing as players from both teams linked arms before kickoff in a sign of solidarity with those fighting social injustice, the ratings and viewership decline could be an ominous sign for a league and the networks.”
Maybe it’s time that both NFL players and management showed some “signs of solidarity” with their previously loyal fans, that now seem to be peeling off in record numbers. Ditto for the legions of fans who once loyally followed the various ESPN iterations, only to get insulted for not being “woke” enough. What a crock from this small legion of wildly over-privileged and under-educated NFL managers and players.
Fans tune in to see a game (since they mostly can’t go in person due to their elite politicians doing everything to keep them under house arrest, because coronavirus), and they get a sermon. And a far less uplifting and professional one than they can get at their local house of worship.
Can you really win a prize? Is it possible to watch an actual NFL game without being insulted? Can you ever win with Mr Market?
Whether it’s spinning a rigged wheel of fortune or tuning into a football game expecting to enjoy some football without being told what to think, gamblers and fans alike aren’t getting the product they thought they were paying for.
Ditto eager investors. They hoped America’s almost (maybe) V-shaped economic recovery could beef up their retirement portfolios. Even as they waited for our “essential” (and still working) government overlords kept us confined to house arrest, even while wearing the kind of fashionable masks today’s Antifa thugs and Marxist BLM clowns do the same as they wreck America’s cities and small businesses with impunity. But every time they get a little too bullish, some mega-wealthy, fat-cat clown (SoftBank, anyone) games Mr Market and his wheel of fortune. That ends up bringing the whole damned game down on everyone. Except himself, of course. Is this game rigged? Hmmm?
For the second day, techs in particular,started off the morning with a nice, big, encouraging rally. At which point, the Bears’ SWAT Team burst onto our real and electronic trading venues and massacred all inhabitants. CNBC provides some color commentary on today’s unwelcome carnage.
Elite Bad News Bears messing with Mr Market?
“Stocks fell on Friday, giving up an earlier gain as another recovery attempt by the tech sector failed.
“The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded just below the flatline. The 30-stock average had rallied as much as 294 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 slid 0.5% and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.3%. The S&P 500 also hit its lowest level of the week on Friday.
“In early afternoon trading, the S&P 500 dropped below its 50-day moving average — a key level watched by traders — for the first time since April. The Nasdaq also dipped below its 50-day moving average and has not close below the mark since April 21.
“‘Markets continue to struggle finding an equilibrium,’ said Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at Nationwide. ‘This market is more akin to the emotional swings of March and April than in recent months. We are likely to continue in a period of directionless volatility as bulls and bears wrestle between the strong Fed liquidity and improving economic backdrop and the continued uncertainty and elevated valuations.’
More on the stock market carnage, particularly in Big Tech
“Apple dropped 2.7% and Amazon fell by 2.5%. Facebook, Alphabet and Microsoft were all down more than 1%. Netflix dipped 0.3% and Tesla was down 2.1%.
“Wall Street was coming off a session in which the major averages closed sharply lower after a steep downturn in tech names. The Dow and S&P 500 dropped more than 1% each on Thursday and the Nasdaq lost 2%. Those losses came after the benchmarks gave up solid gains….
“‘Decent early gains quickly faded, and as many stated last week’s lows were critical to hold, [one commentator] said in a note to clients. ‘Perhaps, for the first time in a while, we can say advantage bears.’”
That’s great for the bears, but not for small investors. Among other issues is the fact that a great many stocks are now so expensive per share that the average little guy can’t manage to buy the 100 share round lots the rules require in order to hedge those shares by writing covered calls, a conservative investing strategy. So when their shares get hosed, their portfolio gets mercilessly hosed as well.
Harmonic convergence of the worst kind
But in a market that’s looking increasingly like that old, rigged wheel of fortune, that’s the way things have been this week. Of course, we could always sit back this weekend and give football another try. Except that our media betters will hit us with more sermons and exhortations to “check our privilege.”
Didn’t this country once pass a truth in labeling law? I guess maybe carnival shills, highly professional athletes and Mr Market’s wealthy masters don’t have to pay any attention to that.
Whatever. Glad I finally got this rant out of my system.
Now Let’s all try to have a great weekend anyway. Let’s also vow to play football with our kids this weekend (since they can’t play football at school, because coronavirus). We can find the time while ignoring the unlicensed preachers and sponsors of NFL football. And let’s back out of some of our investments. At least until the SEC learns to enforce trading laws and rules for everyone. Not just the wealthy miscreants who, like those wheel of fortune owners, cheat their customers for fun and profit.