CNBC's Bob Pisani reports on what traders are telling him:
Something important happened in the stock market today--nothing.
For the first time in almost a month, stocks were not buffeted by anxieties about credit issues, or by volatility in the bond market, or by extremes in volatility, or even by attempts to sell off financial stocks on any rally.
What happened? Certainly there is still anxiety, particularly in the credit markets, but since Friday--when Mr. Bernanke blew up the short sellers by raising the discount rate an hour before an options expiration--traders have come to believe that Mr. Bernanke will do everything he can to prevent a market meltdown, and that belief has calmed a lot of nerves.
This helps explain the otherwise strange spectacle of a Presidential candidate (Sen. Chris Dodd) calling a press conference to announce that he was NOT trying to influence Mr. Bernanke at a just-completed meeting, and then proceeding to paraphrase Mr. Bernanke that he would use all tools at his disposal to deal with the credit crisis.
We are in a hall of mirrors here, with reporters parsing Senators parsing Fedheads. Still, traders loved it; it was all somewhat, well, reassuring.
Two points to remember: these are the two biggest vacation weeks of the year, and despite what you hear traders are on vacation (albeit with Blackberries), and 2) the question is whether it lasts. We won't know until after Labor Day.
Just released: NYSE just came out with its short-interest statement, which tracks short interest at the NYSE on August 10. That was a while ago, but it shows short interest was down 3.5%, so even then short interest was down a bit. That is far from total capitulation, given that short interest was high to begin with.
Pisani's Report at Midday.
Beyond Senator Dodd's interpretation of Mr. Bernanke's commentary, traders are looking to September as the make-or-break month to determine the extent of the damage from the credit crunch.