This was one of the most discouraging days in ages. It was a day that inspires you to think there must be something out there, lurking, far worse than we realize, when oil goes to, who knows, $20? I don't think it will get there, but oil is totally in control and it only makes sense if a major oil company is going to collapse. We can handle a lot of smaller to midsize ones and there is plenty of capital out there. The fact is, though, that lower oil has become an unmitigated negative, and most investment professionals don't know what to do because the linkage can't be broken at least short term by any strategist, any company, or maybe even any Fed official.
Yet so few are willing to call it a bear market.
To me, it's painfully obvious it's a bear market because nothing's really making sense and the average stock just wants to go down, period.
I was on a dozen conference calls this weekend and only Union Pacific's (UNP) was really horrendous, although that's down so much it's intriguing.
But as my friend and writing colleague Matt Horween reminds me, we are just in a plain old bear market, and I think that until people just admit it and my checklist is fulfilled, all rallies have to be doubted.
All of them.
That's because all we hear is that something evil lurks.
And until it surfaces, or they surface, the rallies must be sold.