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Failed High-Wire Act

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Yesterday, I checked out the trailer for the movie “The Walk,” the 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center by French high-wire artist Philippe Petit. The visual experience is amazing and the movie will be a hit. Looking back, I couldn’t appreciate the risk involved, but the visual effects on screen should be a wonder to see in IMAX 3D. Actually, the official trailer was less frightening to watch.


Stocks opened lower and simply drifted lower and lower to the point of a controlled freefall. More stocks hit 52-week lows on the NYSE that were even up for the session.




Advancing Issues



Declining Issues



New Highs



New Lows



Much of this year, and even the last few years, have been marked with very little anxiety or fear. However, that’s beginning to change as the ‘fear index’ also known as the volatility index (VIX) has surged to levels not seen since 2011. No longer are the cool, calm, and collected investors spying the exits, which are crowded. Ironically, individual investors have been dumping stocks, equity mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds for a long time.

The Carnage

  • IBB -6.3%
  • S&P -2.6&
  • NASDAQ -3.4%
  • DJIA -1.9%

The Dow Jones industrial Average garnered all the headlines, down 313 points. It was the best performing of the major indices as biotechnology moved into full-panic mode. The index held right at the 16,000 level; I’ve been writing about this and it is now time to make a stand. It’s hard to see that happening, considering the domino effect that sees our market tip over global markets and global markets tip over ours.


Coming into the week, I thought the worst-case scenario would be a re-test of the August 24 intra-day lows, which could be the case. With all of this carnage, it’s hard to know if it will make a skittish Federal Reserve even more skittish and uncertain. It’s really amazing; the stock market was supposed to crater when the Fed hiked rates, but it is begging for a rate hike as a sign all is well in the world.

Then, there’s the jobs report on Friday, which could turn this whole thing around. Ideally, the Street would need the following:

  • 250,000 New jobs
  • A nickel increase in wages or more
  • 400,000 to return to the labor force

Stocks are mostly oversold, but that doesn’t matter. When markets fall off high-wires, the bottom is a moving target that feeds on itself; the lower stocks drop, the farther they have to go to hit that emotional terra firma.

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