Occupy Wall Street as Extreme Negative Sentiment Signal

Are the protests a real-life extreme negative sentiment signal that markets should be paying attention to?  Does the velocity of anger represent a crescendo of misery for the “it’s a recession” crowd?

I’ve been thinking about this over the weekend after reading a few things about how the Occupy Movement is losing steam.

See the story below for some sense about the infighting going on between the various factions as it turns out that “some protesters are more equal than others” a la Animal Farm.  Here’s one of the drummers complaining about how the so-called General Assembly is acting like the very bureacracy they are meant to be rebelling against:

“They are becoming the government we’re trying to protest,” he said. “They didn’t even give the drummers a say … Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive.”

The drummers claim that the finance working group even levied a percussion tax of sorts, taking up to half of the $150-300 a day that the drum circle was receiving in tips. “Now they have over $500,000 from all sorts of places,” said Engelerdt. “We’re like, what’s going on here? They’re like the banks we’re protesting.”


Animal Farm at OWS (New York Magazine)

The movement’s beginnings coincided with the pessimism peak on The Street as big firms were cutting GDP forecasts just about the time when the kids were first rolling out their sleeping bags.  The question is whether we’ve seen the absolute worst of the pessimism on both The Street and the streets in early October.  Was the movement merely an outcropping or an extension of a nationwide scare about the possibility of double dip?

The kids downtown won’t see it that way but that’s because most aren’t paying attention to the economic headlines.  But some forces are bigger than the comprehension of the soldiers fighting in the trenches, some battlefield shifts elude the notice of those fighting hand-to-hand, tooth and nail.

I’m raising questions here and not answering them, maybe these two themes are merely running on parallel yet unrelated tracks.  Or maybe not.  If there is a psychological shift taking hold and a true amelioration of economic conditions coming  for the US, one can only hope that it brings some prosperity to those who may be the last to see it coming in Zuccoti Park.