Trouble on Wall Street
The Dow Jones industrial average suffered its longest losing streak in more than a year with a six-day downturn in anticipation of the Federal Reserve pulling back on its stimulus bond-buying program. That fall finally ended Thursday -- just as the Nasdaq had to halt trading for three hours due to technical problems, stranding trades on companies such as Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Google until late afternoon.
And more trouble to come?
Usually, an appearance of the Hindenburg Omen roughly follows the bloom cycle of a corpse flower and the smell can be just as bad. The Omen, named for the German zeppelin that in 1937 caught fire as it docked in New Jersey, is considered by some to be a strong indicator of an imminent market downturn.
The definition of the Hindenburg Omen varies but usually it involves the number of securities reaching 52-week highs and those hitting 52-week lows exceeding 2.2 percent (or 2.8 percent, by some accounts) of the total number of NYSE issues traded that day.
The number of new 52-week highs cannot be more than twice the 52-week lows, and the stock market must be higher than it was 50 days earlier. Then you mix in something called the McClellan Oscillator, which compares the number of rising stocks against those that are falling.
If all this happens the same day, the clock to a market crash supposedly starts counting down from 30 days, or 30 trading sessions, or 40 days, again depending on which definition you prefer.
When these disparate elements came together in May, the Dow took a 200-point tumble. And just this month, one market veteran told CNBC that "there have been multiple occurrences of the Hindenburg Omen in the last several weeks."
So is it truly an omen? Or is the omen's greatest threat that it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy? Yahoo Finance found one hedge fund manager who votes for the latter. "They would make an indicator based on how many times your neighbor's dog pooped on your yard if they could," says Fox News financial commentator Jonathan Hoenig, founding member of the hedge fund Capitalistpig.
Eastman Kodak won court approval to leave bankruptcy, but it won't be your father's -- or grandfather's -- Kodak. The new Kodak will be a commercial printing company but will not sell film, cameras or anything else to consumers.
Retirement gift (for shareholders)
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced Friday that he will retire within a year -- and Microsoft shares immediately jumped 9 percent.
Steve Twedt: email@example.com or 412-263-1963.