Did the margin clerks finish their work late yesterday? Did they finish at closer to 3 p.m. EDT than 2 p.m.? Or were U.S. traders reacting to the good bank/bad bank solution for Dexia, the on-the-ropes European financial institution?
Hard to tell, because we still don't know the status of a couple of large funds that are so down that we have to believe they are having redemptions of some sort, and these are funds that own a lot of the beleaguered financials.
It would make sense that if the forced sellers finished, we could have a lift.
What would that mean for today? When you get margined, the ferociousness is matched only by the velocity of the decline. If you catch a day where the market doesn't go down, that's a day where you can say, "We're good, we don't have money coming out -- you can stop." And the lift continues.
But if the selling returns, so does the grim reaper.
So watch gold, where there was margin selling. Watch Bank of America (BAC) and AIG (AIG). Those three will let you know whether the selling will return. They are at the epicenter of this most recent set of calls.