With the Dow plunging almost 500 and gold surging $17 near the $1,500 level, here it today’s note from Art Cashin, Head of Floor Operations at UBS. 

The Event
October 2 (King World News) – Today’s note from Art Cashin – On this day (+1) in 1951, a very unique event occurred. Er…… Make that a spectacular event. Oh. Hell! Before I run out of paper and adjectives let me simply quote what the great writer Red Smith said about it the day after it happened. 

“Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressively fantastic, can ever be plausible again…..” 

The event was a baseball game. More correctly “the” event was how the game ended. If you had reached the age of reason by A.D. 1951, you probably know what it was, particularly if you lived east of the Mississippi and if you are short in the soul department you probably call it “Bobby Thomson’s Home Run”. 

But if you know about epics and heroes and miracles and tragedies it was something special and you may never forget it. 

A visit to the library might tell you that it was a special pennant race. The Giants had lost 11 in a row in April and wallowed way back in the pack. Durocher moved Thomson to 3rd and replaced him in centerfield with a kid named Willy Mays. The Giants played okay ball thereafter but lagged their arch-rivals, the spectacularly talented Dodgers. In mid-August they were 13 1/2 games behind the “Bums”. 

Then the miracle started. The Giants won 16 games in a row with Thomson (the Flying Scot) a key factor. In the final week they caught the Dodgers and forced a playoff. The Giants won the first of three by a score of 3-1. The Dodgers answered with a 10-0 drubbing. Thus the stage was set for great drama. 

Game three – – all about America and baseball. In the 1st inning Jackie Robinson singled in a run. Dodgers up 1 in the 2nd inning Thomson sends a drive into left and tries to stretch it to a double. Unfortunately when he reaches 2nd he finds it already occupied by his team mate Whitey Lockman. Thomson is tagged out in a chorus of boos. 

In the 7th the Giants manage to tie the game. But in the 8th the Dodgers pull ahead 4-1 on a couple of hits and lots of sloppy fielding by Thomson. As the inning ends, boos, thrown beer cups and a lynch mob are looking for Thomson as he heads for the dugout. 

Finally, the last of the 9th in a hopeless situation. But, Al Dark singles, Don Mueller hits a grounder just past Hodges and the stands come alive. Dodger manager Dressen checks on his pitcher Don Newcombe but leaves him in to face the cleanup hitter, Monty Irvin. Irvin pops out. But Lockman doubles down the left field line sending home Dark but causing Mueller to sprain his ankle sliding into 3rd. As the stretcher came out for Mueller, Dressen went to the bullpen – – for his ace Ralph Branca even though he had pitched a full game 2 days ago. 

Thomson was the batter and there was a smattering of boos. On deck was the whiz kid Mays (who had struck out and hit into a double play) but why put the winning run on base. So Branca pitched to Thomson. 

The first pitch was a sizzling strike right over the plate. The second probably should have been a ball but Thomson stepped back in the bucket and hit this high inside fast ball in a huge arc toward left field. The fans, the broadcasters and even Andy Pafko the Dodger leftfielder watched in amazement as the ball cleared the Polo Grounds wall by 18 inches (just above the 315 foot mark). 

For the next 68 years this event would pale other great deeds in the American male psyche. Goats as heroes. Heroes as goats. Logic a victim of legend. Homer and Shakespeare would have loved it. And Thomson might have become the eternal symbol of the Giants – – but they traded him two years later. 

To celebrate, stop by the Bottom of the Ninth. Have a couple of sliders and tell the Rookie on the stool next to you that baseball is like Wall Street. Here too there are chances to redeem yourself. Here too you can become an instant legend – – of course that’s provided you don’t strike out. 

The stock market struck out Tuesday as a big dip in U.S. manufacturing led to a trapdoor selloff in the indices. 

Stocks had opened mixed to mildly better and the indices began to pick up some support from components such as Apple. 

Then, at 10:00, the ISM data hit. It was a surprise to the down side with the weakest number in ten years. The computers began selling instantly and, in a few brief minutes, stocks had plunged into negative territory. 

The selling slowed slightly about 15 minutes after 10:00 but prices continued to move lower over the next several hours. The S&P even traded below its 50 day moving average (2948). 

The selling was fierce enough to trigger some oversold indices albeit mildly. 

Overnight, futures indicate the selling may continue this morning. Cocktail napkin chartists think there may be some support at S&P 2920 but that could be blown away on the opening. 

Pelosi due to speak at mid-morning. 

Sanctity Regains The Lead – We noted the multi-decade Wall Street axiom of “Sell at Rosh Hashanah, buy back on Yom Kippur”. To observe that guideline, you would have sold on Friday. Since Monday was an up day, those who followed the axiom would have been quickly behind the eight ball. Yesterday’s selloff, however, put the observers back in the black. Let’s continue to monitor. 

Overnight And Overseas – Tokyo closed with a moderate selloff and Hong Kong was down fractionally. Shanghai remains on holiday as is India. 

In Europe, stock prices are generally lower with moderate losses seen in London, Paris and Frankfurt. 

Among other assets, Bitcoin continues to try to build a base around $8300. Gold is a shade higher but remains just below $1500. Crude is a shade higher on an indicated inventory drop. The euro is basically flat against the dollar and yields are a tick, or so, lower. 

Consensus – Politics may try to push its way onto center stage. Let’s see if stocks react to whatever Pelosi has to say. 

Stay wary, alert and very, very nimble.

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