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Ugly day for the stock market; strange day, too

Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Man, what an ugly day. But also a strange day.

There were lots of obvious catalysts: Portugal. Ukraine. Argentina. Employment Cost Index (ECI) strong. Several companies (Adidas, Beazer Homes, Ryland Group and Roadrunner Transportation) with disappointing earnings.

And yet, it's strange. The S&P 500 was down two percent, but Treasuries were relatively flat, after a see-saw day. It is strange.

First, you can't say it's all about selling in small-cap names, since the big-cap S&P 500 is down about as much as the small-cap Russell 2000.

If this was about global flight to safety...if it was about everyone fleeing the turmoil abroad and coming to the U.S….bond yields should be much lower...but they're not.

That's what makes me think this is more about growth fears...digesting the strong GDP yesterday, the strong ECI today. Fears of a sudden spike in interest rates killing the rally.

Still, it is ugly. S&P goes negative for the month on the last day. 10-to-one declining to advancing stocks at the NYSE.

What would confirm the market was focused on growth issues? If we had a very strong jobs report tomorrow. Consensus is at 230,000...well above consensus would be anything north of, say, 250,000. And no downward revision of 288,000. And remember, the ADP was below expectations earlier this week.

That would almost certainly spike interest rates. Then we'll see how stocks handle TWO above-expectation reports.

  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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