Heller: Washington Is Watching Out For the People

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It just may be that Washington has done some Americans a favor the past several weeks with all of the drama emanating from the government shutdown. There's a real epidemic that no one has really been talking about, that being a sort of depression or withdrawal resulting from the end of the much heralded "Breaking Bad" television series.

Just think about the timing. "Breaking Bad" ends on Sept. 29. The shutdown starts on Oct. 1. Thankfully, I never really watched the show until the very end, so my mind is clear, and I can see what's going on. The politicos are softening the blow by creating their own drama. It's reassuring to see they are always thinking about what's best for the people. Sorry, that's the best I can do on this one.

Of course, it all comes to a head today as nervous news anchors throw around the "D" word, as in default. It won't happen. Certainly, the markets, at least up until now, have not believed that it will. In fact, the broad markets have all but yawned through this entire shutdown, and the S&P 500 is actually up about 1% since Sept. 30. They simply aren't buying the Chicken Little routine any longer. The sky did not fall due to the sequester despite warnings by many elected officials.

Although there might be some wild market swings, by the end of the day, it won't have fallen either. Some sort of deal will be reached, and the politicians will feel as though we all owe them a debt of gratitude for once again saving us. What we should do is clean House (and Senate and White House), and start over. How about some Congressional term limits, and more non-lawyers?

You've got to hand it to the administration though, they've played "hard ball" long enough to take the focus off of just what an utter disaster the Affordable Care Act rollout has been. After two weeks of trying, and I mean dozens and dozens of times, I still can't even tell what the options are. The new law is controversial enough without this disastrous introduction. And if it's any indication of how it will be administered and work in practice, we are in trouble.

So, today should be an interesting one in market land. I'd expect there to be some swings depending on the rhetoric coming out of Washington, and whether talk of a Fitch downgrade intensifies. This could actually be the day to deploy some dry powder, especially if the market shows any signs of nerves. That's certainly not the case pre-market, with futures up as I write this.

In the event of some intraday volatility, I'll be looking in deep value land, where sell-offs typically hit such stocks harder. I'll be keeping an eye on the "double nets", companies trading between one and two times net current asset value, that are on my radar. Companies like cash-rich Kulicke and Soffa ( KLIC), which is up 8% this week on the back of a Barron's article touting it, Benchmark Electronics ( BHE), AVX ( AVX), Tech Data ( TECD) and Superior Industries ( SUP) to name a handful.

KLIC Chart KLIC data by YCharts

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Jonathan Heller, CFA, is president of KEJ Financial Advisors, his fee-only financial planning company. Jon spent 17 years at Bloomberg Financial Markets in various roles, from 1989 until 2005. He ran Bloomberg's Equity Fundamental Research Department from 1994 until 1998, when he assumed responsibility for Bloomberg's Equity Data Research Department. In 2001, he joined Bloomberg's Publishing group as senior markets editor and writer for Bloomberg Personal Finance Magazine, and an associate editor and contributor for Bloomberg Markets Magazine. In 2005, he joined SEI Investments as director of investment communications within SEI's Investment Management Unit.

Jon is also the founder of the Cheap Stocks Web site, a site dedicated to deep-value investing. He has an undergraduate degree from Grove City College and an MBA from Rider University, where he has also served on the adjunct faculty; he is also a CFA charter holder.

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