On this day in (approx.) 823 B.C., the most inventive, charming and clever people ever to grace God’s green earth came up with yet another ingenious idea. They were, of course, the Irish (at this time A/K/A the Celts). Being bright they did not labor upon the obvious. So they let somebody else invent fire, the wheel, iron, astronomy, writing, calendars, etc. These they figured they could copy – – and boy did they. These clever folks….well…..they tended to save their strength for what was really important. By this stratagem, even 1000 years earlier, while pagan types were grappling with such mediocrity as pyramids, irrigation and geometry, the Celts had learned to distill grain. This miracle medicinal cure (which would maintain mankind for over 3000 years) they called Usquebah. The amazed and very indebted rest of the world mistranslated the name as “whiskey”.
So for a millennia these wise and whiskey-witty folk enjoyed good health and good fellowship. Then as this particular day approached (circa 823 B.C.), gender problems arose. The women began expecting the men to hang out close to the cave as the evening came earlier each fall. If civilization were to progress, this would never do! So the Celtic elders came up with the second great invention. They called it “Samhain” or end of summer. They explained to the women that as the season changed, ghosts, goblins and evil spirits came forth to threaten all humans. In order to protect the women and children, the men folk selflessly would have to put on old clothes, take some jugs of the magic Usquebah (possible snake bite you know) and go into the hills and light fires.
For nearly 1500 years the tradition held. Then came the good St. Patrick who was wise enough to keep the Usquebah but drove out the snakes. Conveniently, his Christian teaching did say that November 1st was the Feast of All Saints (or “All Hallows”). So it only seemed logical that if the saints were coming out, the devils would have one last fling. So, snakes or not, we would still need those reliable old clothes, bonfires and protective booze on the eve of “All Hallows” or Hallow’s Evening or Halloween.
To celebrate stop by “The Bog on the Moor” and fortify yourself against snakebite, but quit before ye begin to see the little people. For to go beyond, will surround ye with all kinds of devilment like – banshees and ghoulies and mothers-in-law.
There was a little pre-Halloween devilry in the stock market on Friday. Things began pleasantly enough with some better than expected data and bullish seasonality, combining to lift stock prices smartly through the morning. Then in early afternoon, the head of the FBI shouted “Boo!” and stock almost fell into a death spiral.
Email Surprise And Falling Oil Erase Morning Rally And almost More – U.S. stocks popped on the opening, thanks in no small part to a nice headline number on GDP. The background numbers were less bullish as I pointed out thanks to some friends early in the session.
Strong GDP number distorted things especially pop in exports and that may have been distorted by a huge soybean deal (H/T Peter B.). Today has a historical upside bias (best of year). (H/T Ryan D.) Markets watch crude again; sigh of relief above $49.25 but below that nerves show.
Around noon, stocks seemed to adjust their responsiveness to crude a bit as I noted in a follow-up email: Market moves away from the $49.25 trigger and now seems content just to stay above $49.
Then shortly after 1:00, headlines hit of the Comey letter to several congressional chairs about Secretary Clinton’s email probe.
As prices quickly melted into negative, I alerted some friends to possible negative consequences of the action.
FBI Comey’s letter to Congress on new emails throws stocks for a loop amid quick re-pricing of election risk. Can FBI finish before election? Danger is if the S&P closes below 2130, doing possible technical damage.
By 2:00, with the S&P down to 2119, traders began to weigh whether the consequences of the news was either clear or evident. Deciding that there were too many unanswered questions, they headed back to neutral territory with a series of sharp spastic reversals. Although the Dow closed virtually unchanged, the other broad indices did show a negative bond with the S&P, closing near 2126. Declines edged advances about 3 to 2. Volume in declining stocks clearly overcame volume in advances. Volume rose, approaching one billion shares on the NYSE.
The Week Ahead – Based upon published data, the watercooler wizards are guessing that this week’s calendar may look something like this:
|Monday:||India Close – Diwali|
|China Caixin Manufacturing PMI|
|China Caixin Services PMI|
|Nikkei Manufacturing PMI|
|(10:30)||Dallas Fed Manufacturing||N.A.|
|Japan Monetary Base|
|UK Manufacturing PMI|
|Greece Manufacturing PMI|
|Chain Store Survey|
|(9:45)||PMI Manufacturing Index|
|(10:00)||ISM Manufacturing Index||51.5|
|Wednesday:||German Manufacturing PMI|
|France Manufacturing PMI|
German Wise Men Forecast
|(8:15)||ADP Payroll Est.||165K|
|(8:30)||Gallup Job Index||N.A.|
|Thursday:||Tokyo Closed – Culture Day|
|Nikkei Svcs. PMI|
|ECB’s Coeure Speaks|
|Fed Gov. Brainard Speaks|
|Larry Summers Speaks|
|(7:30)||Challenger Layoff Report||N.A.|
|Unit Labor Costs||1.4%|
|Gallup Job Rate||N.A.|
|(9:45)||Bloomberg Consumer Confidence||N.A.|
|PMI Svcs. Index|
|ISM Svcs Index||56.1|
|(10:30)||Natural Gas Invent.||N.A.|
|(4:30)||All The M’s|
|Friday:||German Svcs PMI|
|Italy Svcs PMI France Svcs. PMI|
|Average Work Week||34.4 hrs.|
|Atlanta Fed’s Lockhart|
|(12:00)||Dallas Fed’ Kaplan|
Overnight And Overseas – The email bombshell came out after markets in Asia and Europe had closed. That has led to light cautious trading in Asia with small change, likely reflecting confusion. In Europe, markets are showing moderate losses, led by energy stocks as weekend talks failed to insure a production cut. U.S. stocks are slightly higher on more merger deals. Gold and oil are down a bit as are yields.
Consensus – Oil and politics will dominate chatter. Rumors of restive, even resentful FBI agents suggest leaks are possible. Stay wary, alert and very, very nimble. Happy Halloween!
Answer – Guess which hand! – If the total is “even”, the nickel must be in the hand that is doubled…..in this case the “left hand.” If the nickel were tripled (15 cents), the answer will always be odd.
Today’s Question – Finding the subsets again. Find at least 7 small words of 2 letters or more in the word – “Penetratingly”.