We are looking for things to buy, not because we like it -- who could like this? -- but because that's what you have to do when it is emotional and people are panicking because of comments by 3M (MMM) on a forecast, Caterpillar (CAT) on peak earnings and Freeport (FCX) on trade wars.
I am not calling this a made-up selloff. We have been teetering on a shellacking for days now. It's why my charitable trust has just been selling and selling and selling.
But on days like today you have to look. You have to say that CAT may not have been as articulate as it would have liked and that perhaps they should have explained that they haven't seen peak revenues, which is how I read it. I think 3M was just trying to temper expectations so they could beat them. Freeport's a political mess.
Of course on a day like today there is nowhere to hide, even defense where Lockheed Martin LMT shareholders are panicking like I haven't seen in ages.
We are in the grips of programs from the 10-year interest rate, to tariffs jacking up raw costs to conference calls gone totally awry.
Yet, to not look for something, to just say, it is going much lower is to presume that all companies are created equal. Right now all stocks are created equal and the market can't get its footing.
But the automatic feel of it astounds and moments like this make it feel like there's never going to be a bottom.
There will be, though, and you have to be opportunistic even on the worst days if you have cash that you are looking to deploy.