Farrell: Fat Thumb, Black Swan, or Just the Fickle Finger of Fate?
For the market to plunge 1000 or so points and then rebound a good bit of the way back is rattling.
Stories abound. My favorite as of 5.40 PM is that someone at a major broker had a "fat thumb" and hit billion on a sell order instead of million. Another broker was said to dump 1.9 million shares of Procter & Gamble, causing the stock to fall from almost $62 to $39 and back to $62 in minutes. The ten-year Treasury fell from a 3.8% yield to 3.3% and back. And if you had gone to Starbucks for a mid-afternoon latte (aside from napping, one of my favorite things to do), you would have missed it.
Maybe it was a black swan, a once-in-a-century occurrence. Or maybe it just was.
There will be a lot of coverage and investigation to try to figure what went on. I have no idea, but if the system is open to accidental shocks, then we have to close the holes. But we have been saying the market was overextended and a correction was overdue. (The problem is we have been saying that for a while.) Whatever. We are where we are, and this is shaping up to be a buying opportunity.
I would guess, and it is just that, a guess, that the market over the next little bit will "fill in" the downside gap. But the problems around the world are known. Greece is a disaster, but it's a 2.5%-of-Europe's-GDP disaster. The proposed bailout isn't half of what AIG cost. And there are solutions. Restructuring!!!! The ECB has to gather its (nit)wits and step into the bond market with a good dose of quantitative easing.
And we all have to calm the hell down and remember Sunday is Mother's Day.
Vincent Farrell, Jr. is chief investment officer at Soleil Securities Group and a regular contributor to CNBC.