The Day Ahead: Pain All Around

Have you noticed the quiet evolution in how information is presented on a computer screen or tablet? Kudos to you if you've picked up on those pervasive action words used in headlines, and have felt that resultant itty-bitty burning sensation in your gut. There are a bunch of reasons for the use of these mentally stimulative words, and as I dig deeper into tech research, I'm learning there truly is an entire web of companies you don't know about, all making money from your mouse movements and eyeballs. I have often been told I resemble an "old soul," with my appreciation for simpler times. In today's world, such simplicity has been relegated to reviews of any Apple ( AAPL) product that leaves a Chinese manufacturing facility.

Today, in true throwback form, I am reminded of Rocky III's Clubber Lang, who offered a to-the-point prediction on the outcome of his fight with Rocky: "Pain." The single word said it all. There was no need to say "significant pain" or "here is why I will bring him pain" -- just "pain." I would venture that you, the mighty yet inquisitive investor, is experiencing a bout of pain as well.

Last week, if you were guided by people other than myself, you would have considered that turbulence to be a mere blip on the radar screen in a flight destined to land in a fruit-filled field. This week, even as the bloodletting on the Street has quickened, you are being told -- again, by people other than myself -- to hold onto winning positions, or basically stand pat. Hasn't this back-and-forth guidance brought pain to your chest, seeing as every session is flashing valid reasons to be short-term cautious?

The backdrop for stocks continues to evolve, so much so that the market has given back the Bernanke Day gains. Are we worse off today than we were prior to the day Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke announced its third round of quantitative easing, a controversial plan that could boost inflation as the economy surprises to the downside? Are the Fed's magic powers officially useless in a world that tends to recouple after momentarily satisfying the voracious demands of stock-and-bond investors?

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