Market's Real Enemy Is Not Fear

The market's enemy is apathy, not fear.

Another low-volume, low-volatility day. But the economic data continues weak: the Richmond Fed regional manufacturing survey is, like Chicago Fed survey, now in contraction, well below expectations.

Why is there so much apathy? Because for many traders, it's Groundhog Day: watching the same movie that has been going on for a year. Economic data rolling over. Double dip fears rising. Europe sovereign fears. Political uncertainty (Bush tax cuts, debt ceiling).

Heck, there's even a volcano exploding in Iceland — again! Groundhog Day!

"Maybe we've all died and gone to hell, and this is hell," one despondent trader said to me.

True, it could be worse. Apathy could quickly turn into outright fear. But one problem for apathy is it's hard to go the other way: while apathy can sometimes lead to fear, it's harder for apathy to lead to...excitement.

One thing's for sure: the data had better turn up, or one day soon we will get that wake-up call.

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