Hung Up on Headlines

 | Oct 20, 2011 | 10:55 AM EDT
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The market popped momentarily on a better-than-expected Philly Fed number, but buyers are showing little resolve. The problem is that we are at the mercy of the headlines out of Europe, and now there is uncertainty whether or not an anticipated meeting to resolve the debt crisis will even take place.

This uncertain macro news environment wouldn't be so bad if market players focused on finding individual stocks with good fundamentals, but they aren't. There is no interest in finding names that might buck the overall trend. Part of this is due to exchange-traded funds, but it is also a function of limited investor confidence. It's tough to build longer-term positions when everything is being pushed around by European sovereign debt news.

What is pitiful is you can bet that the weakness will eventually produce another rumor that Europe is saved and we will suddenly spike up while pundits point out how stupid the rumors are.

Until we have more interest in individual stock picking, I don't have much to do. I see a few good charts like AuthenTec (AUTH) and Merge Healthcare (MRGE), which I mentioned the other day, but they aren't working long enough to trust.

Speaking of rumors, there's news that Germany is denying that it has postponed the weekend meeting. We are seeing a bit of a bounce on that, but it goes to show how this market can't do anything other than react to European headlines.

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