The German stock market's wild ride, continued concerns over Greece, and uncertainty about what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will say about the U.S. economy are pressing on the stock market, despite Thursday's earlier news about Warren Buffett investing in Bank of America.
"How do you say 'high frequency trading' in German?" quipped Art Cashin, director of floor operations for UBS Financial Services.
Germany's DAX fell hard Thursday, before rebounding somewhat on market speculation ranging from a short-selling ban extension, to Germany losing its triple-A credit rating to an imminent collapse of the Greek bailout. All the rumors were found to be false by CNBC.
"It was some sort of rogue algorithm. Someone may have intended to sell and the thing just went overboard," Cashin told CNBC. "The way that you figure that out is they did bounce back so readily, not all the way. But it was a sign they didn’t intend to do as badly they did."
The U.S. trading floor also heard the rumors about Greece, particularly "stories the Greek national bank activated a lending factility in case of default. That got everyone’s attention."
"The overall picture of the economy and the adminstration addressing our key issues hasn’t happened and isn’t going to happen until everyone gets back to work in the next couple of weeks," he said. "So I think that overhang is keeping this market from ticking up."
Cashin agreed. If Bernanke "says nothing, if there is no new program, the markets may be very disappointed. So bring your seatbelt tomorrow when you come in."