Stocks are going to make a closing high today or near it as I write this post and I can’t help but think we would be way higher if Vladimir Putin could make up his mind what he wants to do in the Ukraine. We know what he wants to do, take a bunch of territory, but the Europeans are still threatening sanctions. That is keeping the VIX into another elevated close and vol. futures bid.
It looked real ugly this morning toward noon. From what I could tell there was enough decent news to push stocks higher pre-open and then the flood gates of selling opened, hitting the momentum stocks particularly hard. The on again/off again saga of the Russians camping out in the Ukraine is putting the market into a tizzy. A near term weak market gets downright ugly when the liquidity dries up after countries start shooting at each other.
Unless I am mistaken, the new Fed Chairman lobbed the interest rate bomb over the market yesterday, and the initial reaction was sell, sell, sell. Things settled down today a bit but there were still some scars. Bonds did not really move much, which is due more to the new geopolitical uncertainty around new Czar Putin. No one is in a hurry to leave them. Markets have come full circle from last year when the Fed started hinting exit. Between Federal belt tightening and the Taper, stocks have done nothing but rally. So why can’t the VXX decay?
Well, like the Greek referendum in 2012, they came, they voted and stocks rallied. I am talking about the Crimean’s who don’t seem to want anything to do with the rest of Ukraine. How it all shakes out is a bit of a mystery, but some very select Ukrainians and Russians will not be able to go to their ATM machines anymore when they fly to London or New York. That message hit loud and clear as both Russian and US stocks rallied back a bit today.
I am of the belief that politics will trump economics when it comes to the stock market. What I mean is, one politician can do more to destroy (or help, but rarely) an economy with the stroke of a pen than all the good earnings reports combined. Lately, that politician has been V. Putin since the Russians loss at the Olympics. He has been all sorts of grumpy and decided to take over a small piece of the Ukraine to make himself happy.