It's so tough to judge hatred these days. I don't trust the put/call ratios, as there's so much behind-the-scenes basket-weaving that it's become more of a vestige. Short-selling figures don't add up, for the same reason. The investors' intelligence polling has done nothing to indicate the contempt. Nor have the margin positions.
But I have to tell you that this market is despised, and it is despised to the point that you can feel the pain of having to buy on days like yesterday. You see the sea of green and you know that even as the news reports were of "no progress" in talks between Ukraine and Russia, the fact is there are talks and that's enough to get shorts scared.
Remember we are playing by Gulf War One rules. That's when the bulls were always hoping for a diplomatic solution and we would get covering on Fridays fearing one, and shorting on Mondays after the failure to even have anything remotely like a sit-down between the two sides.
Instead, you got the opposite. The shorts were all over the place on erroneous reports of war -- I swear we had better intel in 1938 -- and when we heard talks, even as they may fail, that gave the haters no choice but to come in and buy.
The haters hate this market the way the lonely band of survivors in The Walking Dead hate the walkers. They hate them because the so-called bad stocks won't stay dead long enough to cover, even if they deserve to be lower.
Now, we know that we aren't done with Russia by any means. Putin's popularity is high. The rebels are unstable. If the Ukraine government chooses to use too much force then does the wrong thing to the remaining rebels, we know that Putin's not going to let that fly.
That's a terrific reason to stay short or to put out shorts at the bell. Plus, at the end of the week we are going to hear all about how behind the curve the Fed is. Do you really think that all of those Delivering Alpha types, the smart hedge funds who "know" the Fed has already stoked too much inflation, aren't going to put out shorts ahead of the Jackson Hole central bank confab? It's almost as if it is their duty, like they know that a company's going to have a shortfall.
Plus, there's the whole binary nature of the way the people who dislike the market think. They tend to run way too much capital to be bogged down in individual stocks. Instead, they have to short "the market," with the smallest cohort they are willing to go after being some sort of industrial basket to play the weakness in Europe or a biotech basket betting that high-multiple stocks will fold on a Fed-induced inflation scare.
It's that ingrained, programmed shorting that can't be measured any more by any of the indices. It's so by rote, it is such a "given" that it doesn't register any more, but it's there always every time something good happens.
What's odd is that there have been plenty of good short ideas out there. I look at Action Alerts and I think, holy cow do I wish that I had been on the other side of Boeing (BA) or United Technologies (UTX) on the way down. Or to be short the off short oils or General Motors (GM). But all of these are "too targeted" and too limited. They aren't the so-called "big short," that these firms are always gunning for.
So they can't resist laying on the futures or buying massive amounts of puts to be able to profit from the Putin-inspired, Fed-abetting decline that just has to happen because that's how it has to be no matter what. They are as complacently negative as the bulls are complacently positive, and yet they think they are alone and in their hatred for these rallies. And that, more than anything else, is why you can have such spectacular days like yesterday, from start to finish.