Three little words within a six paragraph statement released yesterday afternoon by the Federal Reserve have global markets in panic mode. The key phrase "significant downside risks" used by the Fed is an observation that in and of itself is not breaking news. Aside from the forecasters at the White House, no one was expecting an optimistic view on economic growth.
The same could be said for the Fed acknowledging "strains in global financial markets." Again - who hasn't noticed that Europe has some issues?
I am not trying to trivialize this sell-off, or suggest anything other than (my longstanding) angst for the US and global economies. I am trying to draw a line between selling and panicking. When basically every market and asset class in the world drops 3% to 10% (with exception to Treasuries and the US dollar), it suggests that something major just caught the market by surprise.
I just don't see it. Operation Twist was basically telegraphed. We know the global economy is weak and Europe is in trouble.
Sell the kitchen sink. Now if the Fed had actually said that, it would have relegated Alan Greenspan's "irrational exuberance" line to the scrapheap.
Lest we forget, it was only one-week ago that markets were celebrating the best 5-day gain in 2-years. And now that rally has been erased by a 4-day sell-off, and technicians and investors are left guessing if any number of key levels will hold, and what happens if they don't.
So far the S&P 500 has not retested 1100, Gold has not breached $1700, Crude has held at $80, and hell hasn't frozen over.
The "trading range" trend is still intact, and potential for a good buying opportunity can't be far off. Unless, of course, we get a string of forecast reductions like we got from FedEx (FDX) today, or some other unexpected external shock to the system.