Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Week of Sad Ennui

Ah, that last sad week of the year.

Trading slows to a crawl.

Wall Street interns, left in charge while their bosses spend time in family pursuits, pass the idle hours throwing frisbees the length of the vast corridors of finance.

Charts show strange leaps and tumbles as novice traders, freed from adult supervision, play costly jokes on their trading screens.

It is a week when the markets would do better to close entirely rather than keeping up the pretense of conducting useful business.

And yet they don't, and as always, The Government is to blame.

Of all the silly bureaucratic decisions, the government is actually releasing real economic reports that have the potential of motivating markets. And so of course, trading must go on, even during this week of soul-destroying ennui.

The line-up (all times Eastern):

Monday, all markets are closed. Even the interns get to stay home.

Tuesday, consumer confidence (10 a.m.) and metro-area home prices (9 a.m.).

Wednesday, nothing of significance.

Thursday, weekly jobless claims (8:30 a.m.) the index of pending home sales (10 a.m.), and petroleum (11 a.m.)  and natural gas (10:30 a.m.), both big deals for the energy sector if there is a surprise.. Plus the Federal Reserve's weeklies: The Fed balance sheet and the money supply.

And Friday...

Well, on Friday, the bond market closes early, and there is only one sad report, farm prices, which not even farmers care that much about, since they get their price information from more timely sources.

And also, Treasury will continue its schedule of bill, note and bond auctions throughout the week.

Currencies will trade, albeit slowly, I would think. Nearly all the world in this week will either be in languid recovery from Christmas  or slowing in anticipation of New Year's Day.

Which does nothing to halt the senseless efficiency of officialdom.

If everyone would only agree to withhold all economic reports during this week, the markets could shut down.

We private traders could enjoy a week of long walks with friends and family, working off the excesses of our holiday feasts amid convivial conversations, without fear of a frisbee-tossing Wall Street intern pressing a few keys and turning our nice 2011 net profit into a net loss.

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