If I wrote a weekend report, I would have told you major indices broke out of a trading range on heavy volume. I would have told you pullbacks would be controlled and rotational. I would have told you to look at any pullbacks to buy into as a lot of areas turned the corner and were coming up the right sides of their bases. Of course, I would have also told you the Kardashian wedding would last forever.

As someone who appears on TV, does a radio show, writes reports and manages money, I am looked to for opinions on the market. For two months, starting with the lows in August, I took pains to tell everyone the market was unplayable as we saw ridiculous moves both up and down in a matter of days. Markets were experiencing gaps every day to the upside or downside. Good news, bad news…you name it. It was tough. It was tough because when markets moved up quick, people wanted to be in. When markets moved down quick, they wanted to be short. All the markets provided during that time was nausea.

October 4th provided a high volume washout day where I stated that typically, you are going to rally off of. The rally was stunning in time and price. Instead of the market slowly working through resistance, within 5 days and a couple of gaps, the markets were back at resistance. They then sat around for a few days…a wild few days with gaps and reversals. We saw things like housing and financials actually put in what looked like good bottoms and then we had E day…on October 27th in which Europe supposedly solved their problems. Technically, it was a strong volume gap above resistance. Fast forward to yesterday. What happens? A rogue Corzine makes leveraged bets…just like the numbskulls did in 08 and kills the company he took over just over a year ago…leading others to ponder whether others are in the same position. We hear again that all may not be well in the big E. Markets give back a ton on Monday and we now walk back into a huge gap to the downside today.

I would love to tell you there is a template or a manual for all this…but there isn’t. The fast money bails on the first sign of a problem…and jumps back on the first sign of relief. If you put a crayon in the hand of your 2 year old and told him to draw a picture, that scribble would look like a lot of charts I am looking at as I watch the action today. European markets are moving up and down in one day enough for a normal year’s gains or losses.

Bottom line: I have been saying for months that this market is going to remain tough to play…but even I am stunned. The emotion of fear and greed usually last a while but right now, it lasts days, sometimes only hours. I wish I could use my favorite line and tell you I will know more when a few more cards come out of the deck. I am just not sure what cards are in the deck. Personally, I have played this on the light side…and as of this second, thrilled to have not played this too heavily. More to come. Don’t blink!


Gary Kaltbaum owns Kaltbaum Capital Management, LLC (“KCM”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The opinions expressed herein are those of Mr. Kaltbaum and may not reflect those of KCM. The information offered in this publication is general information that does not take into account the individual circumstances, financial situation or individual needs of an investor. The information herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but we cannot assure its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Any reference to past performance is not to be implied or construed as a guarantee of future results.

4 replies
  1. Avatar
    Terry Kern says:

    How does a country like Greece hold the world’s markets hostage? Papandreou sneezes and it’s SELL SELL SELL? What happens when some of the other European countries are on the brink?

  2. Avatar
    Cory Workman says:

    All I can say Gary is that this type of action is not what you see in a bull market.

    Bull markets don’t trade like deranged lunatics. They are slow, deliberate and grinding. This market is more like a bi-polar psychophrenic.

    It’s tempting to blame it on algos chasing headlines, but it could also be a high level of fear and uncertainty mixing badly with the extreme need for money managers and pension funds to generate return with very few options available to them.

    Bernanke has created this insanity.

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