And to think I was beginning to feel silly for my earlier ‘this market sucks’ post. We had a serious slide starting just before 2 PM today which more than closed the opening gaps on the indices and created lots of shooting stars in individual stocks. To add insult to injury this action came on higher volume. Here’s what happened according to Briefing.com (I’m throwing in the 1:51 comment b/c I think that’s what got the ball rolling):
13:51 U.S. helicopter reportedly kills 40 Iraqis at wedding party
The Associated Press reports that a U.S. helicopter fired on a wedding party early Wednesday in western Iraq, killing more than 40 people, Iraqi officials said. The U.S. military said it could not confirm the report and was investigating. Iraqis interviewed on the videotape said partygoers had fired into the air in a traditional wedding celebration. American troops have sometimes mistaken celebratory gunfire for hostile fire.
14:38 Hearing late-day slump in major averages attributed to Tier 1 sellers of S&P futures, triggering stops
15:53 Nasdaq gives back day’s gains; talk is profit-taking into this morning’s short-covering driven rally, exacerbated by lack of liquidity
Trading desks indicating that there is no conviction to step in with bids given continued political uncertainty, as well as lack of visibility into rate picture and economic impact of sharply higher oil prices. Institutions also focusing on the poor historical performance of equities during the summer months, which is leaving many accounts shackled to the sidelines.
Here’s today’s NASDAQ chart (15 minute candles):