The market's reaction this morning to the Belgian terrorism attacks is a good illustration of how Wall Street's dynamics have shifted in recent years.
There's absolutely no panic. In fact, we've traded straight up after a gap-down open. Breadth is a bit weak, but there's good speculative action in biotechnology and definitely no rush for the exits.
Traders are making some lame jokes about how the computer programs don't have any emotions, but that's really what's most notable about the action so far. Rather than the fear and greed of the days of old, we have third- and fourth-level thinking programmed into the market.
Bad news is never just bad news, it's often an opportunity to find an advantage. We no longer trade the headlines; we look for what would be the normal response and then try to find a way to exploit it.
This market has both technical and fundamental issues, but they still don't matter.
We have an almost perfect technical setup for a selloff -- but instead, there's systematic buying of weakness because that's the programming that's consistently worked. Is there any wonder that players constantly complain about the market's irrationality?
I'm looking at the gold sector for some buys and dinking around with some old small-cap favorites like Second Sight Medical Products (EYES), Mitek Systems (MITK) and my stock of the week, Orbcomm (ORBC). It's still an extremely tough market for stock-picking -- but with the endless underlying bids, there isn't much choice but to keep trying to find entries.