10 February 2015

SP 500 and NDX Futures Daily Charts - Sturm und Drang

"...it is the most alarming example of cheap demagoguery you are likely to have seen."

George Monbiot, on Rick Santelli

I watched CNBC today, which is unusual. 

When Adam Johnson left Bloomberg the quality declined markedly, wavering between screechy and vacuous, with lots of gossipy and giggly segways.  A few notable exceptions like Julie Hyman, Tom Keene, and Eric Schatzker, but not as many since Adam Johnson left.

CNBC is not much better, again with a few notable exceptions like Bill Griffeth and Kelly Evans.  It was pretty much the 'same old' as it was when I stopped watching it a few years ago. 
But Rick Santelli was quite the sight.

His eyes became very open and wild as he pressed his face to the camera, his nostrils were flaring, and you could see the spit flying out of his mouth.  Network for the one percent.  Maybe time for a teeth cleaning.
I have seen him good naturedly gooning it up with his pit trading cronies several times before, who seem to be a dying breed by the way,  and it was something you could just take in stride.  
But this was something different, chewing-the-scenery-wise.   Is there an inverse relationship between bombast and ratings?
It is 'financial television' after all.  Infomercials interspersed with country club crudité infotainment. But today he had the persona of a park bench lunatic, and it was decidedly unattractive, if not disturbing.  
And it was clearly an act. 

Is he supposed to be the bad guy or the good guy?  Or just the extreme guy, like George 'The Animal' Steele?   Is this some new twist in broadcast journalism?   Are they getting their production values from professional wrestling these days?  
Who is doing their casting, Vince McMahon?  And their directing, Ed Wood?  Are they just following the fashions of the day?  Are we all Bobby Heenan now?   
Do we even know what genuine human life is all about, anymore?  Do we even care?  Living life in stereotypes and spin is simpler and more pliantly digestible.   Is life imitating art, in caricature?
The saddest part is that this is becoming a tone for not just finance but 'the real news,' led by Fox and CNBC's sister, MSNBC.  And the very serious Sunday morning shows are going off-the-hook as well, as they grapple with a credibility gap that prevents the political and media elite from acknowledging the decline in the average person's reality.
Speaking of unattractive and disturbing,  the SP futures managed to rally solidly up to the top of  the big resistance around 2065 for the fifth time since mid January.
The big tickle is going to be Greece this week, with maybe a nod from the Ukraine.  If we get a surprise settlement on Greece by some miracle tomorrow, the markets will do a moonshot. 
It is hard to tell.  Most of the local (US) commentary is either hopelessly slanted or incredibly naïve.  It is sad when very good financial commentators decide to be political analysts too.  Or when financial commenters decide to embark on flights of fantasy.  I have enough actual experience to know what I do not know, and that is quite a bit.  At least I'll admit it.  But speculating about what is happening or what might happen is fun when you are unconstrained by facts.
One has to tune out the sturm und drang with which the players are filling the airwaves as they prepare to get serious.  This is the oh yeah, yeah! portion of the prototypical schoolyard encounter.
So let's keep an eye on the geopoliticals, because I do not think the stock markets will unleash the rally monkeys until they are more sure that something disruptive is not coming.    Even if the talks completely break down and Greek says they will exit, I suspect we *might* see a relief rally after an initial plunge.  Remember the mistaken optimism prior to the crushing reality of Lehman Brothers?
Have a pleasant evening.