Today brought us good news from the retail sector (same store sales up on the week), which prompted Johnson Redbook to up its August estimate to 4.5% annualized growth, which denotes a nicely expanding economy. Better yet, the ISM's non-manufacturing (services) index came in strongly above the consensus estimate (58.7 versus 56.5), with the new orders component showing its third highest reading on record. The overall pace of expansion bests any seen since 2005.
So why the sell-off in stocks? Well, the headlines suggest it was Russia. Could be. But I'm thinking it's more about the confusion over what happens when the Fed begins to normalize (raise) interest rates. News like the above serves to heighten the fear in those who are fixated on the Fed. Another wrinkle on today's trading is the S&P 500's breaking below what technicians consider a key support level (1,926). The number of programmed stop losses at that level, I assure you, was nothing to sneeze at. The triggering of which (the sell orders) had to exacerbate today's downward action as well.
I can go on ad nauseam about what makes a market, about how we're so overdue for a good double-digit pullback, and how that would be a beautiful thing (for the long-term investor) right about now. But of course I've made that point ad nauseam over the past year+. So you're spared. At least for the moment.
I'm thinking the best I can do for today is direct you to my blog post from Sunday (it speaks a little to the technicals and a lot to the fundamentals). If you haven't taken the time to take that one in, and you're at all unnerved by recent volatility, by all means take the 10 minutes.
Be back with more soon...