Can't sell 'em. Can't buy 'em. Can't sell 'em because of numbers like the Institute of Supply Management's service-sector report, which is pretty consistent with the numbers last week, ex-the employment number. I know that number is important, perhaps the most important, but how can the Labor Department constantly trump all of the good numbers we are getting?
On the other hand, it doesn't matter, because Europe is falling apart, they have no plan at all, and I am tired of getting the heck beaten out of me for stocks of companies, like Caterpillar (CAT), that are doing well, but nobody cares. The whole market is saying, "I don't care that Eaton (ETN) and Joy Global (JOYG) and United Technologies (UTX) say things are good, they got it wrong last time, and they will get it wrong again."
The problem with that thesis is they didn't get it wrong last time. They were all pretty prescient, and people just aren't seeing it this time.
But when the stocks of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Credit Suisse (CS) and Societe Generale are in control, who cares? Who wants to battle? Who wants to lose this kind of money?
I know the linkage is bogus. If it were real, then we would see Brent crude oil down big, and we would begin to see the positives. I know that the bank stocks have been millstones the whole time, so tell me what else is new.
In the end, though, I know that we are held hostage, that our good numbers count for nothing, so why not let stocks come in until we aren't overbought? As we are in a linked and technically driven world, what is the point of trying to be a hero? We are way overbought at a time when we are going into a selloff, and that has not been a good time to buy.
So, while our great companies that have lots of business in Europe aren't seeing the slowdown, and while value can be created by acquiring -- look at International Paper's (IP) deal for Temple-Inland (TIN) today -- why not just say "pass"?
Never hurt anyone in bridge. Or blackjack. Or, right now, stocks.