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Fear and loathing on trading desks

Covering the global markets is starting to sound like the daily suicide note. Or at least "Groundhog Day."

Every day with the gloom and doom. I get up at 5:30 a.m. I look at Asia. Down again. Europe, down again. U.S. futures, down again.

I call around, I read a bunch of trading desk notes to ascertain the source of this angst. I see nothing, I hear nothing, except whining and the vague sense of dread and unease that has permeated markets since June, coupled with a strong dose of ennui.

Like I said: "Groundhog Day."

Read MoreEl-Erian: Seeing a classical overshoot, starting in emerging markets

The dread and unease centers on:

  1. Gloom on global growth (China/Brazil)
  2. Emerging market currency weakness
  3. Dollar strength
  4. Collateral damage from the commodity collapse

The concern over "collateral damage" is a particular concern of traders. It ranges from fallout in the high yield debt market to concerns some traders will start selling better performing sectors.

Like what? Like tech leaders. But there aren't a lot of big tech leaders. We have already seen the SPDR Semiconductors ETF droop on concerns about slowing cellphone sales in China. "Old" tech and social media are mixed this quarter.

The "leadership" everyone keeps talking about centers on a tiny handful of stocks, all of which are holding up well.

Tech leaders in Q3:

Read More Fall of Netflix, other mo' stocks spells trouble

The other concern is healthcare, particularly biotech, where there is a lot of momentum money still hiding out. The SPDR Biotech ETF, an equal-weight basket of biotech stocks, is down about 20% since topping in June, and with good reason: earnings in some of the larger names have been disappointing, so the correction is certainly warranted. It's still sitting on gains of about 20% for the year.

Meantime, everyone loves dividend paying stocks again.

Dividend ETFs like the iShares Select Dividend and SPDR Dividend have seen several heavy volume days recently. Both up more than 2 percent this quarter, handily outperforming the S&P 500.

And that's without the dividends. The iShares Select Dividend ETF, for example has a juicy 3.2 percent dividend yield and is chock full of consumer names like Philip Morris and Kimberly Clark.

Speaking of dividends, when big oil stocks dropped to new lows yesterday, I got the usual inquiries about buying them for their yields. They are truly getting into eye-popping territory.

Read MoreOil's latest casualty: Mexico

Big oil dividend yields:

And remember—all the big names reiterated that the dividends were safe. At least for the time being.

  • Bob Pisani

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

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