Here's another ominous takeaway: These retailers are getting cold feet about the rest of the year. Investors who aren't just pondering, say, today's or tomorrow's stock price should get a sense of what that means. Major holidays approach, and it appears that some major retailers aren't envisioning much success in what's traditionally the best shopping frenzy of the year.
Rationality vs. rationalizations
This may very well illustrate that "the new normal" that nobody really talks about anymore is alive and well, the giant elephant in the room.
Even middle-class Americans surely feel some sense of discomfort every time they hit the grocery store or the gas pump. Dollars that don't stretch far in basic places like these result in fewer dollars to spend on other items like apparel.
Some claim jobs may be easier to obtain, but many Americans are still unemployed or underemployed. And we're not even done with layoffs, apparently. Last week, Cisco announced that it's cutting 4,000 jobs (despite the fact that it's still profitable, reported a perfectly good quarter, and has a boatload of cash on its balance sheet).
Uber-bulls have bid up the market to a ridiculous degree over the last several years on conjecture and hope, maybe even delusion about how many Americans are doing these days. Some are just getting by -- or worse.
The market -- full of overpriced stocks of weak companies -- is overdue for a reality check. Caution is in order, especially in the retail space. Deep analysis is more important than ever, too. When everybody's been winning in the market, that's not necessarily brilliance -- it's the often disjointed view of traders who just aren't paying attention and those who are afraid they're missing the boat. Let's be careful out there -- and hope for a real recovery for those Americans who are falling behind.