NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- October always seems to be a bad month, and this go-round has been particularly troublesome because of all the global uproar.
We have Ebola in America freaking out the natives (not to mention investors). We have the sanctions in Europe and Russia undermining the European economies. We have double trouble in the oil markets: the Saudis are manipulating the price to run high-cost American and Canadian producers out of the market, while at the same time a robust dollar is reducing oil demand globally.
At the pinnacle of this pyramid of problems sits our Federal Reserve. This month, it has promised, it will end its quantitative easing (QE) campaign and begin moving toward normalized interest rates.
As a whole the market is wildly uncertain as to what that means and what impact it will have on global bond and equity markets when the Fed is out of the bond-manipulation business. Investors are trying to front-run a future they expect will not be good for stocks, commodities, gold or currencies other than the dollar.
As emotion takes the reins, market volatility races higher.
Wall Street has grown fearful and anxious about Chair Janet Yellen and her Fed these days. Investors haven't a clue what the Fed is really up to because the Fed itself seems a bit clueless in its directions and commentary.
The Street reflexively understands the Fed has itself in a nasty pickle:
The Fed has said it will begin raising interest rates, possibly within six months of ending the QE program, which would imply spring. Yet, the eurozone is pushing rates down in Europe. That means interest rates on the dollar and the euro will be moving in opposite directions, which means money coming out of the euro and into the dollar, resulting in a stronger dollar.
That's not good, because the Fed needs a stronger economy to create jobs and, the Fed hopes, inflation that then flows through to higher personal incomes that have been on the decline for the better part of a decade. Yet, a stronger dollar works to undermine that need, since a strong dollar curtails export activity, thereby slowing the U.S. economy.
Meanwhile. the Fed has to balance higher rates with America's horrific levels of debt. As rates rise, so do interest payments on our debt, which either impacts upon Congress' ability to fund the various programs it needs to fund, or it requires America to borrow even more money to cover the higher interest payments, throwing us into the early stages of a deadly debt vortex.
Fed governors, thus, are walking a tightrope as thin as floss, and investors are expressing their panic by fleeing all assets but the dollar.
Until the rate hike finally happens and investors have a sense of what's going on, we can expect choppy markets. Up one day, down the next. Aside from small-frontier markets, every market in the world these days is taking its cue from Wall Street, and Wall Street is moving based on second-guessing -- and third- and fourth-guessing -- what the Fed will do.
Looking ahead, the dollar will remain strong and probably strengthen some more. That will continue to weigh on asset prices.
So, like so many Octobers of years past, this is another October in which we must show patience. We still have some volatile days ahead. There's just too much worry in the markets.
But worry on Wall Street always begets opportunity. Always.
Jeff D. Opdyke is the executive editor at The Sovereign Society.