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On Remembrance & Cooling Off

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

As Wall Street keeps its doors closed today in remembrance of George H.W. Bush, the U.S.’s 41st president and father of George W. Bush, the 43rd. Tributes abound as market activity ceases for the day, including a planned speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell this afternoon which has been cancelled. The only economic data coming out today will be the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book.

It would be tempting to look at today’s closed stock market as a cooling-off period as well, coming as it does following an absolute market index slaughter on Tuesday, where all major U.S. indexes fell more than 3% in regular trading. This came a mere day after a pre-market relief rally Monday that bid up the Dow Jones around 450 points before the market opened. Combine that with the 799-point drop from yesterday’s regular session and we get roughly a 1250-point swing on blue chips in two days.

Perhaps this exposes another use for taking the trading day off: so the VIX traders who play market volatility can count all their new money. Plenty of short-sellers also saw their ship come in yesterday.

Here at Zacks, we have a more positive attitude about the overall market than this. As new jobs numbers are likely to show tomorrow and Friday, the U.S. labor market is as healthy as we’ve seen it in a generation, with an Unemployment Rate at 3.7% and falling. Also, though a plurality of investors now look at things like a possibility of a yield-curve inversion indicating a downturn, there are so many moving parts in economic metrics currently — most of them with historically healthy outlooks — we generally feel there are plenty of moves to make to improve market conditions in the near- to mid-term.

For more perspective, check out Zacks Exec VP Kevin Matras’ latest take on stock activity here: “Stocks Pull Back, Want More Details On US-China Trade Truce”

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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