The stock market has been a model of inconsistency this month. Every big move up or down has been followed by a reversal. Well, it looks like traders picked a bad time to be consistent. After the 300-point sell-off in the Dow on Wednesday, Dow futures are down 130 points early Thursday. There was no specific reason for the sell-off, and the follow-through is unrelated to any specific news. CNBC’s talking heads cite “rotation” as a reason. That sounds logical until you see that all sectors went down yesterday.
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The lack of a positive response by the bond market was just as surprising as yesterday's stock sell-off. Bond prices fell as much as they rose the day before. The rally the day before made no sense and was directly related to a small number of big trading accounts making a play. Apparently they could not get others to play along even with stocks falling. Bond prices are close to unchanged to start the day, but the bond market is no longer certain to rally if stocks continue to fall.
Dwight Johnston is the chief economist of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and president of Dwight Johnston Economics. He is the author of a popular commentary site and is a frequent speaker at credit union board planning sessions and industry conferences.