Man, what's up with Wall Street? I haven't heard the Street sound so miserably bearish since right after 9/11:
1) Traders are dreading earnings warning season, with the fear being that the downbeat commentary today from CarMax, FedEx, and the capital raising/dividend cutting from Fifth Third(with a belief that many other regional banks will do the same thing) is only the beginning;
2) Only 36 percent of financial advisor surveyed by Investors' Intelligence were bullish this week, the lowest since March 14th (the Bear Stearns rescue); normally 45 to 50 percent are bullish;
3) Sell side desks are DEAD as they are unable to convince clients to either buy or sell stocks;
4) The lynchpin of the bull argument--that the second half of the year will see gradual improvement in the U.S. economy, with housing recovering in early 2009--is now being openly questioned.
So what is left? Higher rates. Many are now pinning their hopes on the dollar...and this is why traders have cheered concerted efforts by Fed officials plus U.S. officials to prop up the dollar. Traders hope a concerted rally in the dollar will see oil trade below $110, stocks will rally, gold will come down, and a lot of these long commodity/short financial trades will reverse.
This is nothing new; many traders tried to short commodities a few weeks ago by going long the dollar. It didn't work, but it's a sign of how desperate things are that traders are grasping at these kinds of straws.
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