Stocks have come off their lows midday on a report from the New York Times that House Speaker John Boehner a debt default. Still, the markets have been dealing with a triple whammy that occurred at various times during the morning:
1) a below-consensus September ISM Services report (54.4, below consensus of 57), and as part of that a poor Employment component (whcih decreased 4.3 percentage points to 52.7).
2) a flame-throwing report from the Treasury Department full of apocalyptic language on what would happen if the U.S. defaulted on its debt, or if we even got close to it. A debt default would be "catastrophic", "unprecedented", "a self-inflicted wound" (ouch!), and "the U.S. economy could be plunged into a recession worse than any seen since the Great Depression" with consequences that "could last for more than a generation."
They forgot to add the earth would come off its axis. Yeesh!
3) a speech from President Obama in which he again reiterated he would not negotiate on the debt ceiling, or the continuing resolution.
All this uncertainty, and the disappointing ISM Services Report, makes it even more likely that the Federal Reserve will not begin tapering its bond purchasing program at its meeting at the end of October.
—By CNBC's Bob Pisani