It’s amazing what passes as a market these days.

Stocks rallied during the Christmas week, and the mainstream financial press would like you to believe bargain hunters swooped in after the weeks of heavy selling to grab some deals. The truth is there are very few actual people still evaluating the merits of publicly traded companies.

The markets are driven by programmed trading and central planning. The artificial nature of markets was on full display last week.

Let’s walk through the series of events...

Steve Mnuchin called the CEO’s of the six largest banks in America on Sunday, December 23rd. The next day, Christmas Eve, Mnuchin held a conference call with the Working Group on Financial Markets – aka the “Plunge Protection Team.” Perhaps most of these people were away from their desks, because the DOW promptly plunged 650 points.

It appears they were back in the office and ready to go by Wednesday. The DOW rallied almost 1,100 points when trading resumed after the Christmas holiday. It was the largest single-day point gain in history.

There are currently 505 stocks in the S&P 500 Index. 504 of them closed higher on Wednesday. So which stock was the one that fell?