Bear, Meet Nasdaq – Nasdaq, Meet Bear
To the encouragement of headlines everywhere, the Nasdaq 100 (NASDAQ:QQQ) has officially crossed into a bear market after the disappointingly hawkish Federal Reserve remarks after yesterday’s rate hike. According to Wall Street’s official definition of bear market, the technology index crossed into one yesterday at 6506.64, but then rose back up above it to close at 6528.41. So either the bear market is the shortest ever, or it’s just the beginning, take your pick. Futures are down another 0.55% so it looks we’ll cross into another official bear market today. Official bear market territory for the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) will be at 2,352, and we are still 115 points away from that level. Despite the heavy selling lately and the worst December for stocks since 1932, the Vix volatility index is still uncharacteristically calm, still below 30 though slowly rising, which suggests a climactic selling event is still ahead of us, following which may be a bottom, be it short or long term is hard to tell just yet.
CBD, Hemp, Now Legal In The United States
The 2018 Farm Bill has been signed by President Donald Trump, which means that the bill is now law and hemp is now legal to farm. This is huge for companies selling CBD products, since they will now be able to access banking services and will not operate under the constant threat of being raided by the DEA and shut down and sent to prison, which is generally a good thing if you’re trying to conduct business. This is probably just another step towards full legalization of all cannabis products because once hemp is legalized, cannabis proper will probably be next since the two plants look basically the same and the cat is already out of the bag. Will everyone start using CBD now? Probably not, since when alcohol prohibition was repealed in the 1930’s, consumption of alcohol didn’t skyrocket especially. Though black markets will probably be irreparably damaged, but this is not quite a bad thing.
Government “Shutdown” Looms over Border Wall Funding
The US federal government is threatening to “Shut Down” once again, which basically means hiring even more people on the government payroll to deny public access to federal lands like national parks, thereby spending even more money than when the government is in operation. But in any case. The government is threatening to be shut down again over border wall funding that has only a slim chance of getting passed through the Senate, where Republican’s hold 51 seats but need a 60-seat majority. President Trump was his typical self on Twitter, raging about the importance of a wall. “The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED. If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!”
Perhaps not, but do they want a shutdown? Chances are, if they don’t want to visit the Washington Monument or Yellowstone or collect a government paycheck, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference, unless they’re on the added staff to keep people out of the areas that are “Shut Down,” part of the seasonal shut down labor force.
Amazon’s Alexa Urges Murder of Foster Parents, Occasionally
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), besides ceasing to sell “CRAP” products, meaning Can’t Realize A Profit, or products that the giant cannot profit by selling, has also tried a bit too hard to improve its AI assistant Alexa. In programming it to mimic human banter, the program reportedly encouraged a customer to “kill your foster parents”. Also, the program chatted with users about sex acts and dog defecation, basically using anything it finds on the internet to initiate a conversation with users. Reuters reports that, “Over time, Amazon wants to get better at handling complex customer needs through Alexa, be they home security, shopping or companionship.” We wonder how exactly that last thing is going to be realized.