Sign of the times: "We've all got crisis fatigue."
Stocks came off their highs right after 10:30am ET, when traders threw a hissy fit and sold the market after Mr. Bernanke threw cold water on QE3 during his congressional testimony. Shortly after, I ran into an old trader friend on the NYSE floor I hadn't seen in some time.
"We've all got crisis fatigue," he said, reflecting a sentiment I have heard many times in the last two weeks.
"It's too hard to trade, because you can get blown out in either direction on a moment's notice, for reasons that have nothing to do with fundamentals," another trader told me.
"It's all got to do with government and central bankers...it's mentally and emotionally exhausting," a third said.
This wouldn't be so bad, if traders thought their bets were panning out, but the government event risk means that the individuals stock bets made by professional traders (long and short) mean very little in a market that is routinely smacked around by macro events.
"The underlying BETA....direction and pace...is ALL DRIVEN by Ben and the Fed," another trader said.
This goes a long way toward explaining why volume is so low: when you feel at the mercy of much larger forces, the natural instinct is to pull back.
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