Have Stocks Turned the Page?

12/05/2011 11:53 am EST


Igor Greenwald

Chief Investment Strategist, MLP Profits

The market’s up on encouraging news from Europe and the US, but a little boredom would really go a long way right now, writes MoneyShow.com senior editor Igor Greenwald.

The stock market would like everyone to know that it’s ready to party again, but this time in a safe and responsible manner.

So no more white lines on the mirror, as throughout October and again on Wednesday. And—this goes without saying—no more suicide attempts or hunts for missing money, those currently under way excepted.

Nope, henceforth it’s to be all caroling and egg nog, and ideally another one of those slow meltups as the recently spooked consider their income-generating alternatives and decide that, you know dear, Warren Buffett really likes IBM (IBM)—maybe it’s not crack like that Bank of Cramerica.

True, the Grinch Who Almost Stole Christmas, aka Frau Merkel, will still be making all the poor Whos sign blood oaths to austerity on Friday. But everyone knows—wink-wink, nudge-nudge—that this bit of public theater is essential if the killjoy is to grow a bigger heart and let the European Central Bank print some presents.

Or rather, national central banks will print and then pass the unmarked bills to the International Monetary Fund, which will in turn disburse it to deserving debtors in a manner entirely consistent with Bundesbank notions of sound money. Then maybe Europe will stop spooking horses and marks, even as it continues with the bleeding treatments helping Italians and Spaniards become good Germans.

If Europe were to make itself scarce for a while, who knows what sort of magic might yet go down stateside? This is once again, thanks to the Fed, the land of 0% for 21 months on balance transfers.

Real disposable income hasn’t grown in years, but spending’s holding up just fine. After a couple of years of uncharacteristic thrift, the savings rate is drooping again.

The household employment survey for November discovered that 315,000 lucky souls had abandoned sweaty toil for a life of leisure. At the same time, an additional 198,000 idlers not counted among the unemployed claimed to want work. But that’s OK, because the household survey also conjured up 278,000 new jobs, albeit just 83,000 without seasonal adjustments.

The separate payrolls survey showed that 94,000 of the 120,000 positions created last month were in retail, hospitality, and temporary services. So most of the new hires will be bypassing Nordstrom (JWN) for Dollar General (DG).

Still, this year has already seen more job growth than any since 2006. What’s more, both parties in Congress are working to extend the payroll tax cut, exposing summertime austerity plans as a joke.

Now if only the stock market, too, could live down its summer shenanigans. It would help if it could grind out 4% over a couple of boring months, rather than a day. Because right now, it looks like it’s skipped rehab.

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