Parties are great while they last. The Federal Reserve has been loading the pipe with as much crack as the CIA can smuggle from Central America, sending the stock market on a great run from the 2009 lows.
You wouldn’t expect the market to struggle this soon after the announcement of QE3. Bankers and hedge fund managers were seen dancing until dawn as the “Buy Buy Buy” song rang out through the night, pushing the S&P to the 1470 heights before falling back now to test 1400.
The problem is that the market used to be analyzed and judged by the strength of the economy and the profitability and growth of businesses. Our faith has changed from a belief in industriousness, creativity and productivity to worshiping the golden calf of free money.
That’s all changed now, almost. And the money isn’t quite free. God’s voice can be heard from on high muttering something about the worship false idols. Do we throw down the gauntlet or the sacred tablet? Which child do we need sacrifice on the altar of our sins?
If it weren’t for weak revenues and earnings from companies all would be well with the world. The cries from Europe have been muted, for now, although Spain mumbled something about falling tax revenues and missed deficit targets. Whatever China does is good enough, because they have 1.4 billion people who want to be rich at any cost, and a government that works miracles.
But the big boys, the market leaders, are hurting. McDonald’s and General Electric disappoint and get hit. When people stop eating Mcburgers you know the world is in a soggy fry of pain.
The insiders and hedge funds and friends of insiders with friends at hedge funds couldn’t wait to make a quick buck so “accidentally” released earnings early just to bring the charms of early retirement that much closer. Must have been a rush being short Google when the stock swooned over 8% in one fleeting moment of ecstasy.
Who needs crack when you’re short Google? And what’s with the earnings miss of more than 15%? Are the overlords of information facing an assault from forces that want to keep freedom and control of information in the hands of individuals by leveraging social networks and new social media?
Google has neglected its core business by trying to compete with the likes of Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) on every facet, including mobile phones, tablets, social networks and streaming music.
Google is smart in realizing that it needs to adapt to an ever-changing landscape. They’re not going to be another Microsoft that sat for 10 years twiddling their thumbs while the social media and mobile revolutions passed them by. I like Google+ and think it will be a huge success.
Their tablets are certainly competitive. And nothing makes me happier than to see Google lose it’s power to tell people how to optimize their language and websites to qualify for search ranking. Google search is becoming less of a monopoly enterprise as social media gains traction.
So it’s no surprise that Microsoft also missed and disappointed, again. It’s sad to hear people write about them on the message boards, about the lost decade of a once great company. Nothing kills creativity faster than institutionalization and monopoly power.
It’s bad enough that people have pulled back on eating McBurgers, but when they back off Chipotle Mexican Grill you know there’s something burritoey in the air. While nothing says Mexican food American style better than Chipotle, at least I can enjoy their food. Anyone over the age of 18 who still enjoys McDonalds needs serious counseling.
As an aside, if you’re learning to trade Iron Condors, don’t do it on CMG. The market makers do however give some of the best fills in the business.
And to everyone who had written off Facebook, the king of social didn’t disappoint. The media love to write condescendingly about Zuckerberg, how he’s just a naive kid who will grow up one day and care more about quarterly earnings than social change and justice and human empowerment. Maybe people in the media will grow up one day and realize they are shallow, jaded old fools.
There will probably be one more attempt at a raucous rally up through the election and New Year’s resolutions never to buy tops again, but we know what happens to New Year’s resolutions.
The stock market is overdue for a correction; it can’t float on funny money forever.
Be careful out there.