Ya gotta love the way the stock market turns so docile most nights that it could almost be described as cuddly. Maybe in the way that snakes get cuddly if a warm-blooded mammal lies in a pit with a hundred of them. Earlier in the day, the Dow Industrials were down about 450 points at their lows. It was a refreshing change for many of us — the notion that in these all-too-interesting times there is still such a thing as buyer’s remorse. Alas, bears turned gutless midway through the session as they so often do, and that was as much respite as we doom-and-gloomers were to enjoy. Even so, there was no particular vigor in the bounce, and so we might expect the selling to resume on Wednesday.
The usual talking heads searched for reasons, but the selloff occurred simply because too many traders, your editor among them, were too bullish as December began. Seasonality will be with the optimists this month, to be sure, but a Santa rally is by no means guaranteed. If weak markets combine with even a small, perceived downtick in holiday sales, we’ll see these factors feed off each other, generating a downward vortex. So if you’d like to see stocks higher at the end of the month, I’d suggest doing your patriotic duty by shopping until you drop.