Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.
The second half of August ought to be quiet time. People are on vacation. Congress is in recess, and the president is hanging out on Martha's Vineyard. The stock market has been doing fine. So, hey, what's to worry about?
It turns out there's plenty, everything from a looming debt-ceiling showdown to speculation over who will be the next Fed chairman to the "Hindenburg Omen."
David Blitzer, chief of the S&P 500 index committee, doesn't expect a government debt default, which would be catastrophic. But he does foresee another game of debt ceiling chicken that could throw the market into turmoil this fall.
Of course, the market is always susceptible to correction after a good run, as investors look for excuses, like a belief in "tired market syndrome," to nail down gains. Some market watchers worry that S&P is meeting resistance at 1,700.
The Hindenburg Omen, then, could be the trigger for trouble. It is one of those bits of Wall Street lore that may or may not have a foundation in fact, but could influence the markets if enough people believe in it.
Believers say the market fares poorly after witnessing five omens, and there have been five in the past eight trading sessions, the tightest cluster since November 2007.
Among the most important are occasions when unusually high numbers of NYSE stocks hit new highs and lows. Others are when the NYSE index is higher than it was 50 days earlier, when market breadth is negative, and when there are fewer new highs than lows.
Now for the good news: S&P's Blitzer figures any market pullback will be short-lived, with stocks heading back upward because fundamentals are fairly good.
"The big issue is the debt ceiling, the budget deficit, the U.S. Congress. It's the whole fiscal policy side that's the huge problem. At this point, it looks like a nasty standoff. Nobody wants to give anything. The clock is ticking on the debt ceiling. I don't think we're going to default but I think we're going to have one of these crazy 11th-hour skirmishes.... Everybody will decide the U.S. Congress is even worse than their worst nightmare and the markets will get hit as a result."
—S&P's David Blitzer
"There have been multiple occurrences of the Hindenburg Omen in the last several weeks. ... that sure makes that 'check engine' light glow much, much brighter."
—Art Cashin, UBS director of floor operations