Baffling Market Plunge -- Is There a Shady Game of Market Manipulation At Work?
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The Wall Street Journal headline on the day after we almost lost the U.S. stock market reported that the wise men on the Street were “baffled” by the big drop Thursday. The Financial Times called the event “Shambolic” as if only a shaman can decode it.
A week after CNBC assured its high-net-worth viewers that Greece would no longer be a problem, there was an uprising there followed by a volcanic market cliff dive that the White House, NASDAQ and every regulator is now investigating.
There is still a lot of head-scratching, as if to say, how come our casino went batty? It all happened in a couple of minutes, about the time it took for that fail-safe, top-of-the-line, ultra-secure, and unsinkable oil platform to sink.
The whole world of finance couldn’t believe what was happening before its eyes and so quickly.
--2:38 PM: Dow down 360.
--2:48 PM: Dow down 600.
--2:51 PM: Dow down 900.
Help! We still don’t know how the plunge was arrested. I am sure the Treasury Department’s Plunge Protection Team and the Fed and every Central Bank in the world hit their red buttons to pump more money in before the balloon popped.
You are not going to believe it but no one really knows what happened yet. Should we blame a trader who made a typo or were there others playing a shadier and covert game of market manipulation which may soon officially be listed as a psychiatric condition?
Floyd Norris in the New York Times just about suggested the market was an insane asylum. Just read his lead paragraph and realize we are being dominated by financial maniacs with rationality is out the window.
“Combine: One part nervous traders; one part Greek crisis; and one part trader error. Stir in one part central bank complacency. Bring to boil. Panic.”
“That combination,” Norris "explained," “produced one of the wildest days ever in financial markets.”
On display were the usual twin towers of market self-abuse: Greed and Fear.
Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, likened the wider crisis to “a battle of the politicians against the markets” and attacked the role played by credit-rating agencies.
She declared: “The speculators are our adversaries” suggesting there is a financial war underway that no one in the media seemed to get. Financial analyst Max Keyser sees an outbreak of “financial terrorism.”
The Web site, Gaming the Market, all but argues that this market drop was a calculated maneuver which may be why it’s being investigated. I am not financially savvy enough to understand all of the evidence but for those of you are, here’s part of what they say, including the idea of a “holy crap” moment, writing:
“These moves typically occur after 2:30pm Eastern while the market is near a new low or breaking point, with a relatively high VIX [which gauges “volatility”]. Another characteristic is a large NYSE Adv/Decl negative ratio. One that is negative 10:1 going into lunchtime typically assures a weak close. Ratios of 3:1 negative aren’t what you want. They are easier to manipulate by weak bulls.
“You want a big scary ratio. It is these negative internals that can clue you into the probability of a PPT push. A big push on a big negative internal is the tell. To instantaneously swing the market around on these days takes a massive amount of concerted capital.
“If you watched the market every day last year you know what this looks like. Using 5min candles on your favorite index you will see an immediate and massive full body candle, sometimes eclipsing the entire day’s range in minutes. There is no mistaking this move. It’s a wide-eyed holy crap moment! After this massive push the market will typically close near the high of the day.”