The world's wildest reality show continues in the financial markets as we digest third-quarter earnings and weigh the implications of the latest European bailout. The Chinese have a saying, "May you live in interesting times," and so it is - we're now importing our proverbs from the Far East.
Some top-line observations, in no particular order:
• More than 70% of corporate earnings have beat analyst expectations but the ones that missed - such as Amazon, Netflix, IBM and 3M - missed spectacularly.
• Apple is a great company, but that doesn't always make for a great stock. Steve Jobs mapped several years of pipeline -including Apple TV, which is supposed to be killer - so this may not be applicable in the near-term, but file it in the back of your mind.
• Gold has had a heck of a runup - more than 500% in the last decade - and investors would be wise to remember that commodities aren't historical safe havens. In fact, gold will likely peak on fear, not greed.
• We must continue to monitor the shifting social mood - Occupy Wall Street and other such movements sweeping the world - as social mood shapes risk appetites and risk appetites define the price action of financial markets.
• The latest European bailout is big on headlines but short on particulars regarding how policymakers will implement this eye-popping package. Still, given that uncertainty is bad for the markets, this may serve as a positive catalyst into year's end.
• These are tricky times, and there's no shame in admitting it's hard - there's only shame in pretending it's not. As always, I hope this finds you well.
Todd Harrison is the author of “The Other Side of Wall Street” and the founder and CEO of Minyanville, an Emmy Award-winning financial media platform. Read him daily at www.minyanville.com.