A Choppy Stock Market is Back

Confusion swirls across major stock indexes (NYSE:DIA) (NYSE:SPY) with conflicting news from Europe and conflicting economic reports at home creating a most unstable environment.

Today’s early news paints a muddled picture of economic activity and global dangers.

From Europe we get reports that the weekend European summit might be delayed and a “final solution” might not come until the end of November.  This sliding date has everyone nervous amid the fear of further contagion and bank weakness in Europe.

From Libya, apparently Colonel Gaddafi is dead after a firefight in his hometown of Sirte.

In Athens, 100,ooo protesters battle police ahead of today’s austerity vote which is scheduled to make significant cuts to government employment.

At home we received a mixed bag of reports as jobless claims declined to 400,000, down 6,000 from last week, leading indicators climbed +0.2% in September and the Philadelphia Fed report surpassed all expectations with a reading of +8.7 compared to -17.5 in September.

Leading indicators were up +0.2% but existing home sales declined 3% and prices slipped 3.5%, indicating continued weakness in the all important housing sector. (NYSE:XHB)

But Europe remains the headline story with the October 19th Wall Street Journal reporting three major headlines:

“Ratings Firm Warns on French Debt”

“Spain Hit By Downgrade, Falling Home Prices”

“UK Inflation Rate Surges, Stocking Economic Concerns”

Bottom line: Confusion across major stock indexes makes for nervous days and treacherous conditions for investors.  Everything depends upon Europe.

Disclosure: No positions in ETFs or stocks discussed in this article.

John Nyaradi is the author of The ETF Investing Premium Newsletter.