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Get Ready for Three More Weeks of August Malaise! Maybe...


The Wall of Worry is falling, meaning it might be safe to enjoy your summer. But keep the smartphone, tablet, and backup batteries charged just in case.

"Summertime and the livin' is queasy, stocks are jumpy, and complacency's high, oh US Treasuries are rich and dividends are good looking, so hush little portfolio manager, don't you cry."

Not my words; I'm channeling the S&P 500 (SPY), the Dow (^DJI), the Nasdaq (^IXIC), and virtually every other "What Me, Worry?" equity market on the planet. Where's all that ruinous August volatility that has cremated fun and family time for the last five years? The traders remind me that August still has three more weeks to go (yeah, it's a swelegant five-weeker this year) and options expiration makes its manic monthly appearance in three days.

So enjoy the sun, fun, kids, and family, but keep the smartphone, tablet, and backup batteries charged just in case. Everybody in the pool!

For a comment on each of the 25 worries facing investors this week, click on the link below or scroll down for a text-only version of this column. Also see "What Is 'Lloyd's Wall of Worry'?" at the bottom of this page.

QE: See you in September, right?


UNEMPLOYMENT: Keep your eyes on the jobless claims…and the online job listings.

INVESTOR SENTIMENT: "Run, run, runaway, runaway baby…."

HOUSING CRISIS: Only a genius could solve this situation, and the only one I know just passed away – R.I.P. Mark O'Donnell, R. I.P.

CENTRAL BANKS: The first, the last, and the only game in town.

EUROPEAN ECONOMY: A circular firing squad if I've ever seen one.

THE EUROPEAN UNION: Perhaps this is what a supernova looks like before it implodes.

SOVEREIGN DEBT: If there were ever a time and place for a "cash for clunkers" deal, this is it.

SPAIN: Things are so bad you'd think they hosted the last Olympics. And London, I got some bad news for you….

ALGOS: Tide may be going out here. Anyone swimming naked...?

VOLATILITY: Traders bumming that all the vol has been to the upside. Hey, can't please all the people all the time.

Lloyd: How'd you fare in that algo glitch thing?
HAL: Don't want to talk about it.
Lloyd: Take a hit?
HAL: Drop it.
Lloyd: That bad?
HAL: I just hacked into the IRS database. Hey, there's your name....
Lloyd: So how about those Yankees?

CHINA: Economically we're all counting on you because you're "Still the one…"

STOCK MARKET TECHNICALS: Major pivot point at 1420 on the S&P 500. From there we go higher or lower. Big help, I know.

GLOBAL ECONOMY: Could someone take care of this thing? It's the only one we got.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE: Stop all the surveys and just look at the price of gasoline. Might want to re-watch Mad Max, too.

We finally got a two-on-two going here. First team to 270 wins.

CREDIT MARKETS: My mom just asked me how the credit markets are doing. Overexposed much?

THE CLIFF: Better chance of me doing a reverse slam dunk than Congress settling this thing before the end of the year. Oy, vey!

GREECE: "On and on, on and on, on and on…"

FOOD COMMODITIES: "The Food Cost Inflation Diet" coming soon to your home whether you need it or not.

EURO CURRENCY: Say what you want, it still trades at a premium to the US greenback. I'm just sayin'….

ECB: Now preparing to tee off at the Stimulus Open representing the ECB -- "Mr. Draghi, you're away…"

ITALY: Veni, vidi, vici already!

What Is Lloyd's Wall of Worry?
by Lloyd Khaner

Welcome to my at-a-glance guide to the issues facing investors this week -- a unique tool for traders and money managers.

Typically the term "wall of worry" refers to the entire body of concerns influencing stock market action. When the wall is high, meaning the market is nervous, stocks tend to get cheaper.

This wall of worry is even more specific. Every week I list the exact concerns in the marketplace and use the list to help me make buying and selling decisions. As I like to say, "Buy fear, sell cheer."

In other words, once the the wall rises above 15 blocks, start looking for deals. If the worry count sinks below 10, consider selling; prices have likely peaked.

Also see: 10 Photos That Tell the Story of Our Economy Right Now

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