Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve Edition

A good-natured crowd waits for the Waterford crystal ball to descend at 11:59 PM in Times Square as Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushes the button.
Confetti already falls-a test?.
Mayor Bloomberg was bitterly criticized for the lengthy snow-removal process,but all is clear tonight in Times Square.John Lennon's "Imagine" is sung to a crowd getting excired in their Nivea top hats.
A policeman takes pictures for people in the happy crowd-a lot of joy for 2011.Toshiba red.A neighbor sets off firecrackers.Happy New Year
The S&P futures are down 1.50,and Treasury bond and note futures rise in price,showing a slight lack of confidence in Monday morning.The holidays are ending,after all.Back to work at Toshiba!
At play in the last hours of 2010,Number 2 Ohio State dominated Indiana 85-67 in Big Ten basketball.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Bethlehem In Carol Fashion

The West Bank town of Bethlehem,homeland of all Christians,is truly peaceful this year.Palestinian choirs are able to travel there again,as Israel has lifted the roadblocks that troubled them previously.Boy Scouts paraded with bagpipes and kilts to the delight of the 90,000 pilgrims-up from 70,000 last year.Hotels are sold out,aiding the Palestinian economy greatly.The weather was spectacular Christmas Eve at 70 degrees F and sunny.It is a postcard Christmas,thanks be to God.
A very different postcard depicts Bishop Pass,California in the Sierra Nevada range.The alpine area is currently under 16.5 feet of snow.At 11,960 feet altitude-or 3645.4 meters-Bishop Pass is a popular hiking destination on Inyo National Forest,for those who don't mind the rocky conditions.
The NBA is gearing up for a smooth Christmas Day of many games,which ESPN and ABC will broadcast.
The stock market is resting at an S&P futures mark of -1.50,while the 10-year Treasury futures are flat.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Storm Has Few Clues,Light Market Week Ahead

Friday was a mixed night for Arizona basketball teams into the 2nd quarter.In Dallas,the Phoenix Suns trailed the Dallas Mavericks 48-38.Suns superstar Steve Nash was knocked out of the game in the 1st quarter when he was elbowed in the head.Nash was able to walk off the court to the locker room.Meanwhile,Arizona State nursed a slim lead over Nevada 56-52.
A storm approaching the East Coast puzzled forecasters because it originated over the Pacific Ocean,where there are few data collection points.The same obtains as it crosses the mountains.Finally,a huge blocking High off the East Coast is so rare,there are few data points to compare it with.The best guess is that the storm will stay farther out to sea,sparing the coast of anything besides snow showers.
Next week will be a quiet one for the market as the approaching Christmas holiday diminishes trading activity.New and Existing Home Sales reports will provide a little something for the light volume to react to.For the past week,the S&P nudged higher by 0.3.Looking to Monday's opening,S&P futures stepped back 0.10 Friday evening,while the 10-year Treasury futures saw a decline in yield and a gain in price.
Update:The basketball games finished as they were in the 2nd quarter,with Phoenix losing to Dallas 106-91,and Arizona State holding on to their slim lead for a 78-75 win over Nevada.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rose Leads Bulls,Market Confident

Chicago native Derrick Rose led the Bulls to an 88-84 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at the United Center in the windy city Friday.The understated star bagged 29 points,9 assists and 5 rebounds.The Bulls brought a sellout crowd to its feet as the game remained competitive into the closing minutes.
Rose said they stayed together,fought through it and beat a good team,thanking God for the success.
The market saw its own success this week,as the Dow edged up 0.3,the S&P rose 1.3 and the NASDAQ added 1.8 for its highest close since December,2007.A consumer confidence reading also rose in November,reassuring the market that the economy is healing,however slowly.
Over a foot of fresh snowfall is powdering the West,reassuring skiers at Breckenridge,Colorado and Mt.Bachelor,Oregon.The Northeast is also cold,with Stowe,Vermont reporting 17F and light snow.
The S&P futures climbed 8.0 this evening,and bond futures also ascended.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Celtics Sharp,Jobs Meager

The Boston Celtics outshot the Chicago Bulls Friday night,ensuring their reputation as the sharpest team in basketball.The Celtics made 53% of their field goals,while Chicago made 41%.They were so good,the starters were given an extended rest on the bench during the second half.
The Boston fans were so relaxed by the dominant performance,they filled TD Garden with chants for their beloved Brian Scalabrine,who was sitting on the Bulls' bench,but had done yeoman's service for the Celtics the previous five years.Finally,Scalabrine got his chance in the last minute of the game,committing a foul and making one pass before the buzzer sounded.
Celtics starter Kevin Garnett embraced his old teammate Scalabrine after the game.
Rajan Rondo had 19 assists and 12 points for Boston.He said he doesn't know exactly how many assists he's getting,but he knows they're racking up.
Colorado is racking up impressive snowfall totals,with Crested Butte notching 93" so far this ski season.The U.S. economy,however,is not racking up enough new jobs,scoring a mere 39,000 for the 15 million job seekers in November.Wall Street shrugged this off,comforted by the Federal Reserve's certain support for the stock market.
The market was up for the week,with the S&P gaining 3.0.The S&P futures tacked on a further 0.80 Friday evening,and bond futures declined.

Friday, November 26, 2010

More Snow For Sierra Nevada,Charlotte Bobcats Warm

The Sierra Nevada range is looking for more snow this weekend.Up to a foot more will add to the several feet of snow pack already received recently.Snow will also sweep across Idaho and into Western Montana and Northwestern Wyoming,while the Great Lakes will register up to a foot of lake effect snow.
The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic were mainly clear and cold Friday night,with the lowest nighttime temperatures of the season expected in some areas.
The Charlotte Bobcats were warmed up Friday night by their 99-89 victory over the Houston Rockets,who were playing without their legendary big man,Yao Ming.Yao is injured and will probably be out for at least a few more weeks.
Chase Budinger led the Rockets with 19 points and 18 rebounds;the Bobcats were carried by Gerald Wallace with his 21 points and 14 rebounds,as well as Boris Diaw and his 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bobcats,6-10,shucked a 2-game losing streak,but the Rockets,4-11,have dropped 5 of the last 6 now.
The market was mixed this week as it fretted over European debt and Korean tension,while feeling more confident in consumer spending.The Dow fell 111.55 for the week,and the S&P stumbled 10.33.The tech-rich NASDAQ climbed 16.44.
The stock futures were uniformly negative Friday evening,given the geopolitical uncertainty,with substantial drops in all three index futures,and bond futures responded with a move upward.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thunder Prevail,Market Even

The Oklahoma City Thunder handled the Boston Celtics 89-84 Friday night before a very loud crowd at TD Garden in Boston.The Thunder couldn't make a basket as the game wound down,missing their last 14 shots,but their foul shooting was sharp.Russell Westbrook,who led the Thunder with 31 points,said that OKC also defended like they did all last year,and so they closed down the game.Kevin Garnett scored 16 points for Boston.
Brisk conditions brace the Northern Plains like the OKC defense this weekend.Bismarck will be 21F Saturday,and Billings will have a high of 19,with snow in both locations,as well as in the Sierra Nevada range.Seattle could see snow Saturday night,and snow showers may brush the Northeast.
After falling off a cliff,the market managed to recover its equilibrium this week,closing on a flat note for the week,with the S&P up 0.04.Worries about European debt had resurfaced,and China took measures to cool off its economy,constraining any progress traders had hoped to achieve.
Positive manufacturing numbers from the Mid-Atlantic region helped the market end on an even keel.Hewlett Packard's earnings report after the closing bell on Monday is an early milestone for next week's action.The S&P futures were up 0.50 this evening,and bond futures were in the green as well.
Hewlett Packard(HPQ)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jazz Ablaze,Texas Snow

The Utah Jazz continued their inspirational run,taking their fourth straight win of the week as they nudged the Atlanta Hawks 90-86 at Philips Arena in Atlanta Friday night.In all the games,the Jazz won after trailing by double digits.
Deron Williams silenced the Atlanta crowd of 17,069 with his 24 points,10 assists and 5 rebounds;Andrei Kirilenko added his 14 points,12 rebounds and 2 assists to the Jazz's effort.For the Hawks,Josh Smith contributed 20 points,13 rebounds and 5 assists.
At Target Center is Minneapolis,Kevin Love powered the Timberwolves' 112-103 win over the New York Knicks,which left the Knicks with a 3-6 record,having lost 4 straight.Minnesota is 3-7.
Raymond Felton led the Knicks with 22 points,3 rebounds and 8 assists.
Amarillo,Texas was feeling as cold as the Knicks this morning when they experienced thunder snow.The churning of ice crystals in clouds generated thunder and lightning along with snowflakes.Ski season is well underway in Colorado,with Breckenridge Resort reporting 8 degrees F and calling for more snow this weekend.The interior Northeast will be at freezing or slightly below tonight.
The market,troubled by Cisco's poor outlook and worries about Chinese inflation and European debt,had a lackluster week.The furures didn't look any better,with the Dow futures down 90.00 and the NASDAQ falling 38.75,while the S&P futures were flat.
Cisco Systems(CSCO)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Knicks Look Sharp Now

The New York Knicks slammed the Washington Wizards 112-91 at Madison Square Garden Friday night,lifting their record to 3-2.Loud organ music accompanied the Knicks in cavernous MSG.
Toney Douglas led the Knicks' scoring with 19 points,while Andray Blatche notched 22 for the Wizards.Sharp 3-point shooting helped New York,but D.C. was hindered by 22 turnovers that led to 25 Knicks points.
The Knicks won only 27 games in 2007,but appear to be well on the way out of that basement.
The market has also made its way out of the basement,having erased all the losses of the financial crisis.It has completely recovered to the level before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008..The labor market is looking a little better as well,with 151,000 jobs being created last month-the first increase since April.
The Appalachian Mountains are looking for 2-4 inches of snow this weekend as cold air meets Great Lakes moisture and spills southward.The market is waiting for earnings reports from Cisco,Disney and Macy's next week,but little else.The S&P futures were flat this evening,while bond futures rose.
Madison Square Garden Inc.(MSG)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Heat Dominate Magic

On a glittering night in Miami,the Miami Heat were dominating the Orlando Magic 79-55at the end of the third period.Dwayne Wade led the scoring with 26 points,having hit several 3-point shots,while team mates LeBron James and Chris Bosh scored 13 and 9 points respectively.
West of Boulder,Colorado,residents were feeling actual heat.They were evacuated because of wildfires driven by warm wind.Two fires had consumed 130 acres,driving 170 from their homes.
Back east,two tropical storms churned in the Atlantic.Shary was beginning to shear Northeast,away from the U.S.,while Tomas looked more dangerous,being more likely to intensify in the Caribbean.
The market was subdued on Friday,as investors contemplated a week of big events ahead of them.Tuesday brings the midterm election,and Wednesday the Federal Reserve could issue the parameters of more asset purchases to stimulate the economy,which is only growing at a 2% clip.Next Friday,the big employment numbers are released by the Labor Department.
Stock futures were indecisive this evening,with the Dow futures up,but the NASDAQ down and the S&P flat.Bond futures fell.
Update:The final score was Miami 96,Orlando 70.Wade finished with 26 points,and James and Bosh scored 15 and 11 respectively.Dwight Howard led Orlando's scoring with 15 points.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Earnings Season Going Well,Texas Wins

Wall Street responded favorably to good earnings reports from most companies that have reported so far.Eighty percent have beaten profit estimates,while 75% have shown revenue increases as well.The market was up all round this week,with the Dow gaining 0.6;the S&P also 0.6;and the NASDAQ 0.4.Next week,a third of the largest companies will be reporting on their earnings as the quarterly ritual continues.
Wintry conditions continue their presence in pockets of the lower 48,with snow levels falling to just under 4,000 feet in mountain passes of the Pacific Northwest,snow coating Northern Maine and brushing the Adirondacks as well.A frost advisory was up in the Mid-Atlantic region,even though Saturday was expected to be mild.
The S&P futures were up 5.0 this evening as optimism about earnings season,the mid-term elections and Federal Reserve policy continued to prevail.The Dow futures rose 7.0,while the NASDAQ futures added 24.0 and bond futures also ascended.
The Texas Rangers' spirits rose as well,as they creamed the New York Yankees 6-1 for their first American League Championship in Arlington,Texas.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Strong Low Hugs Northeast;Yankees Stumble Early,Then Recover

A powerful low pressure system gave the Northeast coast a bear hug Friday night,bringing gusty and even snowy conditions to residents.Vermont received up to a foot of snow-not unusual for October,one skier remarked.Meteorologist Jim Cantore reported for The Weather Channel in the snow,predicting a cold,snowy winter for the Northeast.
Pitcher CC Sabathia was feeling pretty cold himself,being slammed with five runs in the early innings by the Texas Rangers as the American League Championship Series got underway in Arlington,Texas.Former President George W. Bush,who now lives on his Texas ranch permanently,was on hand to applaud his favorite team.The Yankees later came back strongly to win the game 65.
The stock market registered its sixth weekly gain in seven weeks,with the S&P 500 index up 0.95.The Dow edged 0.51 higher,and the NASDAQ gained 2.78,cheered by Google's strong Q3 earnings.The latter trend continued in the futures market Friday evening,with the NASDAQ futures up 33.0,while the Dow futures fell 28.0 and the S&P futures were flat.Bond futures climbed.
Companies reporting earnings next week include Citigroup,Apple,Caterpillar,Bank of America and IBM.
Google(GOOG),Apple(AAPL),International Business Machines(IBM),Caterpillar(CAT),Bank of America(BAC)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reds Blow Early Lead

The Cincinnati Reds blew an early four-run lead over Philadelphia in Game 2 of the National League Division Series,losing by a score of 7-4.A series of fielding mistakes,combined with several hit batters and scrappy Phillies play led to the Reds' downfall in Philadelphia,leaving them 0-2 in the series,which moves to Cincinnati for Sunday's third and possibly final game.This was surprising,given the Reds' reputation for error-free baseball this season.Perhaps they were distracted by the thousands of raucous fans waving their white rally towels for the Fightin' Phils.
Wall Street traders were not distracted today,sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average back up over 11000 for the first time in five months.The flat September
employment report made them feel certain the Federal Reserve will take more action before the year's end to bolster the economy.All three major indexes were up modestly for the week,with the S&P 500 scoring a gain of 1.7.Since the July market lows,materials are up 24%;retail 20%;and industrials 19%.
Optimism carried over into the futures market this evening,with the Dow futures up 35.0;the NASDAQ gaining 6.75;and the S&P futures climbing 4.10.Bond futures were virtually flat.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Team USA Holds Slight Lead

Team USA holds a slight lead over Team Europe at the Ryder Cup,which is being played at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport,Wales.Play was suspended after rain delays pushed the matches into dusk.It will resume at 3:00 am Eastern.The crowd was boisterous nonetheless at one of the year's most unique tournaments,a team event for a highly individual sport.Team USA led in two of the matches,while Team Europe led in one,and the other was tied.
At the Viking Classic,the first of the PGA's Fall Series tournaments,American Bill Haas and Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe shared the lead after the second round,both having shot 66s for a -12.American Michael Allen and Australian Nathan Green shared third place at nine under par.The Viking Classic is being held at the Annandale Country Club in Madison,Mississippi.
Meanwhile,the veteran golfers of the Champions Tour continue their quest for the Charles Schwab Cup at the Ensure Classic at Rock Barn Golf&Spa in North Carolina.Australian Peter Senior tops the leader board,shooting a 65 today for a -7.German Bernhard Langer,53,currently far ahead in the cup standings,shared a -6 with Americans Tom Kite and Fred Couples,all having shot 66s.
In baseball,the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres began a critical series in San Francisco.It will determine the NL West champion.The Giants only need one more win to clinch the division title,while the Padres need to win all three games.The Padres were leading 1-0 at the top of the third inning.
Stock futures pointed to a moderately higher Monday opening this evening,with the Dow futures up 45.00,while the S&P futures rose 5.60.Bond futures were flat.Earnings season begins in the traditional way on Thursday,with Alcoa reporting its Q3 results.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Triple Digit Rally Questioned

Not to be a joykill,but today's rally was about as sound as the emperor's new clothes.For one thing,the volume remained light,meaning it was driven by a relative handful of the trading community.For another,the old 25% trading range of 1000 to 1250 on the S&P is still intact.As well,it's near the end of the quarter,and the proverbial window dressing by fund managers is going on.They have to put something other than cash in their portfolios under management,so they ran out and scooped up a lot of commodity and big multinational stocks.The economic data continue to be mixed,so there were ulterior motives behind this triple digit action.
The only motive the Philadelphia Phillies have is getting into the playoffs,and they are on the verge of doing just that.Tonight they brushed by the New York Mets 3-2 in Philly,their 11th straight win.They need two more wins to clinch the National League East title.In Toronto,Jose Bautista slammed two more homers,lifting the Blue Jays to a 6-4 victory over Baltimore and his home run total to 52.In golf,American Jim Furyk and Englishman Luke Donald lead the first two rounds of the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta at eight under par,while Australian Jeff Ogilvy is third at -7.Furyk has won 46,000,000 dollars in his career.
The harvest moon is still visible,so you might stick your head out for a glimpse of it.It's the first full moon of autumn.The orient has been marking the harvest with an extended holiday,closing financial markets for at least part of the past week.
Stock futures rose sharply this evening,but bond futures rose as well,casting doubt on Monday's direction.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tech Titans' Blowout Quarters

Strong earnings reports from tech titans Research In Motion and Oracle kept the market above water this week.Both companies beat expectations on both the top and bottom lines.The market dwelt on that,and brushed aside poor manufacturing results from the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserve banks,as well as a low consumer confidence reading.The Federal Reserve's Open Market Commitee meeting next week will not be so easy to cloak,should it say anything unsettling to traders.
The Philadelphia Phillies weren't cloaking anything tonight,creaming the Washinton Nationals 9-1 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.As Atlanta topped New York 6-4,the Phils stay at 3 games ahead in the National League East.In golf,England's John Parry led the Austrian Open,shooting a 67 for eight under par after the second round at the Diamond Country Club.Three players shared second place at -7,including U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland.
Stock futures were flat to modestly higher this evening,and bond futures dipped.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Update:Prayer Answered

Pastor Terry Jones,the Florida preacher who threatened to lead a Koran-burning,now says he will never do so.The prayers of many who feared what such a provocation would lead to were thus answered,and Patriot Day was marked relatively peacefully.The only exception was a contentious demonstration in New York against a proposed Islamic center to be built near Ground Zero.
In golf Saturday,American Ryan Moore wrested the lead of the BMW Championship,and fellow American Michelle Wie,20,took control of the leaderboard at the LPGA's NW Arkansas Championship.At both tournaments,the American flag was used to mark the holes in observance of Patriot Day.
In baseball,the N.Y. Mets edged the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 at Citi Field in New York.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Ruffled Remembrance

On the eve of 9-11,patterns change.The memories flood back in.This year,there's a backdrop of stupidity,a possible provocation that could burden our service members with even more danger.The prayer must be that it doesn't take place.
At Cog Hill,just outside of Chicago,American Matt Kuchar shares the lead of the BMW Championship with Korean Charley Wi at six under par.Australian Marc Leishman is third at -5.In the LPGA,Morgan Pressel heads the leaderboard at the NW Arkansas Championship,shooting a 66 for -5.In baseball,Baltimore was over Detroit 6-3 at Comerica Park.
Skip the money numbers.It was made modestly in the market this week.The futures say that will continue on Monday.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hurricane Earl Leaves Off

Hurricane Earl was moving Northeast at 23 mph tonight,not impressing many people very much.It's really little more than a few inches of rain and some gales-at worst.Unfortunately,a number of other tropical systems are forming off West Africa,so the next few weeks could be replete with worries for the East and Gulf coasts.The Labor Day weekend is proceeding pretty normally,although Amtrak train service was cancelled between New York and Boston and the White Sox/Red Sox baseball matchup was canceled in Boston.
The second leg of the PGA Tour Playoffs,the Deutcshe Bank Championship,began in Norton,Massachusetts as scheduled,though Hurricane Earl poured on the afternoon starters.Australian Jason Day and American Zach Johnson shared the first round lead,shooting -8 63s.Eight players were tied for second at -7 64.Tiger Woods was well back with his +1 72.Phil Mickelson did slightly better with his two under par.
The market was substantially up this week,with the Dow gaining 2.9,the S&P 3.8 and the NASDAQ 3.7%.There will be little economic data next week for the market to react to,but a lot of traders will be back from vacation,perhaps lending more volume to any reactions to developments that may occur in mergers and acquisitions,politics or other news.Stock futures continued the optimism this evening,all rising between one and two percent.Bond futures also gained.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mickelson Out,Woods Survives

Phil Mickelson,the number two golfer in the world,missed the cut Friday at The Barclays,the first leg of the PGA Tour Playoffs,at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus,New Jersey.Mickelson shot a poor 74 for a +4,his second missed cut of the season.Tiger Woods,ranked number one,shot a slightly better 73,but relied on Thursday's score of 65 to make the cut with a -4.Australian Jason Day,22,leads the tournament at -8,while Americans Vaughn Taylor and Kevin Streelman are second at -7.At the LPGA'S Canadian Open in Winnipeg,Manitoba,American Michelle Wie tops the leaderboard,shooting a 69 for a -10.
In baseball,the St.Louis Cardinals handed the Washington Nationals a 4-2 loss at Nationals Park,with Albert Pujols launching a solo home run,his 401st career homer.The market staged a ridiculous rally,based on thin air such as a GDP revision for Q2 of 1.6 instead of the 1.3 estimated revision-as if 0.3 is going to help the economy significantly.Such an irrational move is very suspect,to say the least.Stocks were still down modestly for the week,with the Dow and S&P stepping back 0.6,and the NASDAQ falling 1.2.Stock futures continued the surge this evening,and bond futures gained altitude as well-another reason for caution.

Friday, August 20, 2010

PGA Playoffs Just Ahead

The Wyndham Championship in Greensboro,North Carolina is the last chance for many golfers to qualify for the PGA Playoffs for the FedEx Cup,which begin next Thursday in Paramus,New Jersey.India's Arjun Atwal cannot qualify because a lack of sufficient earnings caused him to lose his PGA card,but he nonetheless shares the lead at the Wyndham with American Brandt Snedeker at -12.Lucus Glover,John Rollins and Kevin Streelman are next at -11.To qualify for the Playoffs,they must rank 125 or better in points from designated tournaments and be PGA members.
The Phiadelphia Phillies bested the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia tonight,winning a pitcher's duel 1-0.It was the 101st consecutive sellout crowd at Citizens.Despite a season pockmarked with injuries,the Phillies persist in contention for a playoff spot,especially as a wild card candidate.
The market fell short this week,ending up in the red for the year so far.Poor manufacturing data from the Mid-Atlantic region and a surprise uptick in jobless claims discouraged stock investors and pumped up the bond trade.Results were mixed in the futures market this evening,with the S&P futures down 1.00 and the Dow futures at -33.0,while the NASDAQ futures scored 5.50 and bonds also rose.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tiger Woods Rights Ship

On one of the world's most difficult golf courses,Tiger Woods is beginning to show consistency again.For the second day,he finished at one under par at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin,where the year's last Major,the PGA Championship,is being played this weekend.Despite missing the fairway repeatedly in his twilight-shortened effort,which he will resume early tomorrow morning before going on to the third round provided he makes the +1 cut,Woods steadfastly chipped his way back from the roughs.That was a far cry from his lackadaisical performance at the Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio last weekend.There is definitely more focus in his game so far this tournament.
Another winner of multiple championships,including the PGA also at Whistling Straits in 2004,Vijay Singh of Fiji,thrilled the fans with an eagle shot into the 6th hole,closing his own shortened round at -2.Americans Matt Kuchar and Nick Watney topped the leaderboard at -8 and -7 respectively with their completed second rounds,which they had begun earlier in the day than Woods and Singh.
The New York Mets were grazing the Philadelphia Phillies 1-0 in the seventh inning at Citi Field in Queens.
For the week,the market was moderately down,and the futures continued the trend this evening with single digit losses.Retail sales came in at a disappointing +0.2 ex-autos,and weekly jobless claims rose sharply,crimping the market's ambitions for this week.Next week,housing starts and earnings reports from Lowe's and Home Depot figure prominently in the economic calendar.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Recovery In Name

Technically,the economy is recovering.Both the service and manufacturing sectors are growing,according to the Institute for Supply Management's authoritative surveys.Jobs are being created,and fewer jobs are being lost,the Labor Department's employment report shows.These trends are generally so weak,however,they are unable to help the mass of suffering Americans to any appreciable extent.It is really a stalemate,but a stalemate isn't enough to stop deterioration in quality of life for many,nor an underlying threat to the recovery itself in the form of more delinquent mortgages and lesser tax revenues.The stock market was up for the week by less than two points,and volume remains light because there is an appropriate current of suspicion regarding the economy.
Tiger Woods isn't a factor in the tournament he has owned for years,the Bridgestone Invitational at the Firestone Country Club in Akron,Ohio,with his four over par performance.South African Retief Goosen,a two time winner of the U.S. Open,led the field at -7,while Americans Phil Mickelson and Justin Leonard were close behind with a -6.World number three Lee Westwood of Great Britain withdrew from the tournament with an injured leg.In major league baseball,the Blue Jays slipped by the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 in Toronto.
Stock futures were mixed this evening,with the Dow down 22.0,the NASDAQ up 1.50 and the S&P lower by 4.00,while bonds also fell.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Inventory Trade Lifts Earnings

The majority of listed firms are reporting good results for Q2,but consumers remain cautious,holding back the final demand which ultimately creates jobs.As the inventory trade and government stimulus wind down,it will be harder to post such results in the second half,which doesn't bode well for the market,in the view of many.Gross Domestic Product rose a faint 2.4% for Q2,way down from Q1's revised 3.7%.
The market closed flat on the week,but rose around 7% for July-the best monthly gain in a year.Volume remained light,however,and the 10 year bond's yield was less than 3%,indicating an uncertainty underlying the good cheer on the surface.
There was little good cheer to greet new acquisition pitcher Roy Oswalt at Nationals Park as Washington creamed Philadelphia 8-1,ending the Phillies' eight-game winning streak.At the Greenbrier Classic PGA Tour event a few hours away in West Virginia,Jeff Overton topped the leaderboard,shooting a second round 62 for a -14.Boo Weekley was second at -10,while last week's Canadian Open champion Carl Petterson of Sweden was still in contention,having scored a second round 64 for a -5.
Stock futures looked optimistically to next week,with the S&P up 1.30,the Dow gaining 8.0,and the NASDAQ booking a 5.0 gain.Bond futures declined.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Industrials Power Rally

A number of industrial firms reported successful Q2s,spurring the market to a rally this week.United Technologies,Honeywell,Caterpillar and Ford all beat Wall Street estimates,reassuring investors that business is still possible in the post-Lehman world.Microsoft,Coca-Cola and UPS also beat the Street.
In baseball,Philadelphia was beating Colorado 5-0 before the 85th consecutive sellout crowd in Philly,and Baltimore brushed past Minnesota 3-2.An obscure American golfer,Brent Delahoussaye,28,led the Canadian Open in Otobicoke,Ontario,along with compatriot Steve Wheatcroft,at 9 under par.The top Canadian on the Order of Merit of the Canadian Tour,Adam Hadwin,22,shot a 66 for a -6.The PGA Tour moves to West Virginia next week for the Greenbrier Classic.Update:American Dean Wilson and South African Tim Clark surged to the top of the leaderboard with a 10 under par.
Strong storms shook the New York City area tonight,with tornado warnings blanketing the metro environs.Morris County,New Jersey reported downed trees and wires,and circulation was detected by radar,but no tornadoes were seen.
The S&P futures were continuing the rally this evening,up 12.90,while the Dow futures rose another 119.0 and the NASDAQ clocked a +21.0,with bond futures also gaining.
United Technologies(UTX),Honeywell(HON),Caterpillar(CAT),Ford(F),Microsoft(MSFT),Coca-Cola(KO),United Parcel Service(UPS)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Market Disappointed,Oosthuizen Pleased

The market recorded a weekly loss,disappointed by a string of poor data on consumers and manufacturing,as well as revenue misses by leading companies.Google,General Electric,Citigroup and Bank of America discouraged investors with their sales and outlooks.Confidence is low as we enter the heart of earnings season,with 12 Dow components and 122 S&P firms reporting next week.The Dow dropped 1.0 this week,while the NASDAQ fell 0.8 and the S&P slipped 1.2.The trading range is indeed keeping its grip on the faltering market.
Tiger Woods is still in the running at the Open Championship in St.Andrews,Scotland.He shot a 73 on Friday for a -4,tied for fifteenth.The field was led by Louis Oosthuizen(pronounced Westhizen),27,of South Africa,a protege of Ernie Els,who is ranked #54 in the world and 22nd on the European money list.Oosthuizen shot a 67 for a -12 on Friday.Fifty year-old Mark Calcavecchia also shot a 67 on Friday for a -7,putting the American in second place.
The prospect of all those earnings reports,as well as housing data,had the Dow futures falling off a cliff at -233.00 this evening,with the NASDAQ following suit at -47.25 along with the S&P at -27.30.Bond futures also retreated.BP investors were feeling relieved as the latest attempt to cap the oil spill looked very promising.
General Electric(GE),Citigroup(C),Bank of America(BAC),Google(GOOG)
Update:Louis Oosthuizen continued to lead by several strokes in the final round,with the U.K.'s Paul Casey in second,as of Sunday morning Eastern.Tiger Woods had dropped to thirty-first.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Correction Ends On Optimism

A wave of optimism lifted the market out of correction territory this week,fueled by bullish reports from Australia and Canada,as well as progress reported by retailers JC Penney,Macy's and others.Employment surged in Australia and Canada,while hot weather in the U.S. sent people into shopping malls,where they couldn't resist the bargains.This created hope that earnings season,which begins next week with Alcoa's report,would show stronger growth than had been feared.For the week,the Dow was up 5.3%,while the NASDAQ gained 5% and the S&P logged a 5.4% increase.
Golf fans are looking ahead to the British Open at St.Andrews' Old Course in Scotland,which begins next week.It is the third of the year's four Majors.St.Andrews is considered the home of modern golf and is a great favorite with the players.In baseball,the young Stephen Strasburg was pitching masterfully for the Washington Nationals tonight as they dominated San Francisco 8-1.He is showing he is no flash in the pan,justifying the high level of fan interest being generated by his talent.There's a real presence about him.Miami Heat basketball fans held a pep rally for the newly signed LeBron James and friends,broadcast live on ESPN.
The S&P futures were ascending 5.50 this evening,and bond futures rose as well.
JC Penney(JCP),Macy's(M)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Manufacturing Slows,Jobs Feeble

The manufacturing sector slowed worldwide recently,the latest data show.This was the one area of the economy that seemed a sure thing.The Institute for Supply Management charted a fall-off in activity,however,from 59.7 in May to 56.2 in June.It is still expanding if the number is above 50-just at a slower pace now.Factory orders fell 1.4% in another report,the largest drop since March of 2009.The question arises whether we are backing and filling or going over a cliff.We'll have to wait till at least next week to know,when earnings season gets underway.
The big report of the week,the unemployment figures from the Labor Department,were hardly reassuring.A loss of 125,000 jobs was recorded last month,while private industry created 83,000 positions.We need 150,000 a month to make a dent in unemployment.In consequence,the stock market clocked out with another weekly loss.The S&P fell 5.0,while the Dow stumbled 4.5 and the NASDAQ also slipped 5.0.The S&P futures registered a further decline of 7.5,and bond futures also gave up ground ahead of the Independence Day holiday.We are down 15% now from the market high of last April.The red returning to portfolios makes it feel like a lot more than 15%.
Boston Red Sox fans forgot about this as the Sox edged Baltimore 3-2 tonight behind 43-year old pitcher Tim Wakefield.In the AT&T National tournament at Aronimink in Newtown,Pennsylvania,Tiger Woods made the cut,shooting a mediocre 70,+3,and Justin Rose topped the leader board at the close of day two.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Quarter Winds Down Glumly

The market was in a glum mood this week,troubled by fears about housing,employment and the earnings season just around the bend in July.It was down for the fourth straight week,with the S&P losing another 3.5,while the Dow dropped 2.7 and the NASDAQ slipped 3.5 as well.Two poor home sales reports painted a bleak picture of the housing market,a linchpin of the economy,and KB Home reported a bigger than expected loss,with new orders plunging 23%.
The S&P held above its 200-day moving average,but if it drops below 1050,there could be energy in that downdraft.The potential for decay at that point is a big concern.The S&P is at a major technical crossroads.What comes out of the G20 summit in Toronto this weekend could push it over the edge-any sign of disunity among the world leaders,for instance.
As dusk fell in Omaha,South Carolina led Clemson 3-1 in the College World Series.In major league action,Philadelphia was drubbing Toronto 8-0 and Washington was topping Baltimore 6-3.
The S&P futures were up 4.2 this evening,and bond futures retreated.
KB Home(KBH)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Euro Powers Stocks

The market made modest gains this week,bolstered by a stable Euro as debt crisis fears receded.The S&P rose 2.5,while the Dow notched 2.8 and the NASDAQ garnered 1.1.The VIX volatility index closed down 23.7.The market has been moving in tandem with the Euro recently,and this week was no exception.With earnings season some weeks off,the market is event-driven,and the European debt crisis is the main event on traders' minds.The S&P futures signaled a cautious Monday opening with a drop of 1.50,and bond futures rose.
In golf,Graeme McDowell,a British golfer best known for his wins in Europe,led the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach on California's Monterrey Peninsula.Phil Mickelson had an outstanding second round,scoring six birdies for a -1,while McDowell was at -3.Mickelson shared second place with Dustin Johnson,Ryo Ishikawa and Ernie Els.Tiger Woods was buried in the field at +4.Several golfers said the remarkable ocean side scenery was a distraction.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mixed Data,Thin Volume

The stock market edged up on Friday in thin trading,hindered by contradictory economic reports.While retail sales fell unexpectedly,consumer sentiment rose.Consumers may optimistic,but apparently not enough to break open their wallets.The positive University of Michigan sentiment reading of 75.5 was below those of previous economic recoveries.
Early season campers in Arkansas were victims of tragic flash floods at riverside campgrounds.At least 20 were swept away to their deaths,including children,and many more are still missing.Rescuers were doing all they could,but didn't even know exactly how many they were looking for,since campground registers were lost to the floods.One child was saved when snagged by a friendly tree limb.
In baseball,Boston was clobbering Philadelphia 12-1 as the National League champion Phillies continue to struggle,having tumbled out of first place.The S&P futures were up 5.50,and bond futures retreated.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stocks Break Through Level

The S&P 500 broke through a key technical level on Friday,down 12.8% from its April high.Such a move indicates a prospect for further substantive declines.There's nothing technical holding stocks back from falling into bear territory now.It was the market's second biggest drop of the year,leaving it at its lowest point since February,spooked by Hungary's warning that it could well default on its debt and a lackluster employment report.Indeed,the report calls into question the economy's ability to stay out of a double dip recession,with private sector job growth coming in at a mere 41,000,far less than estimated and less than in previous months.Companies were simply just not hiring to any extent;instead,they increased hours worked by existing employees to cover any new orders.This will neither help the 15,000,000 jobless nor spur consumer spending,seen as critical to recovery.
The S&P futures were down 37.50 on Friday evening,and bond futures climbed.For the week,the S&P fell 2.3,while the Dow lost 2.0 and the NASDAQ slipped 1.7.
The baseball world will be watching Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg make his major league debut on Tuesday in the nation's capital.With a huge reputation for excellence preceding his arrival,anything less than a shutout will be a letdown for the jazzed D.C. sellout crowd.Seldom if ever has so much been expected of a rookie.Few cautionary voices are to be heard above the happy talk,voices who remember that the lower echelons of pro baseball are just not the same as the major leagues.There is a quantum leap that a rookie has to make,whether his name is Strasburg or not.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Headwinds Hinder Market

A number of headwinds both global and domestic conspired to keep the market in a trading range this week.In foreign news,Spain's credit rating was lowered a notch by Fitch,one of the three ratings agencies who played a controversial role in precipitating the financial crisis.Tensions between the two Koreas remained high over North Korea's sinking of a South Korean navy vessel,killing dozens of sailors.Domestically,the moratorium on deep-sea oil drilling threw earnings estimates of energy firms into question;the Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index missed estimates;and consumer spending came in unexpectedly flat.A market without buy and hold sentiment resulted from the swirl of events casting doubt on the recovery that had seemed so promising a few months ago.Twenty percent of retail investors say they are sitting in cash for at least the next three years,to the chagrin of brokerages.
Next week,the employment report will garner a lot of media attention,but overseas events could well eclipse it in the minds of worried investors.If a second credit freeze is really upon us,any gains in employment would have to be seen as suspect.They would be hard to sustain in the context of poor macro-economic conditions.Consequently,the S&P futures were down 12.60 this evening,while bond futures rose.
The Toronto Blue Jays held sway over the Baltimore Orioles with a 5-0 lead,while Philadelphia and Florida were tied 2-2.Phil Mickelson will attempt to achieve the number one ranking in professional golf this weekend,a designation that has so far eluded him.

Friday, May 21, 2010

S&P In Correction's Shadow

The S&P remains in correction mode this weekend,being down 10.6% from its April high.For the week,the index fell 4.2,while the Dow stumbled 4.0 and the NASDAQ crumbled 5.0.Yes,the Eurozone debt crisis was a fundamental concern;but it wasn't just Europe.Unemployment claims here rose sharply and unexpectedly,up 471,000.Two important manufacturing reports,the Philly Fed and the Empire State,showed a decline in new orders,and the index of Leading Economic Indicators was down as well.
In sum,the recovery went on vacation this week,leaving investors behind to contemplate a return to serious worry.The idea of a double dip recession had been receding this year to almost invisibility,but has a renewed credence now.Cash is looking more attractive than it has in some time as we grope our way through a new maze of uncertainty.Indeed,it seems the path of wisdom until the fear index settles back at least somewhat.
The futures are a mute equation.Both the equity and bond futures are up,indicating confusion about what lies ahead.Baseball is simpler.Baltimore led Washington tonight in inter league play,while Virginia was topping Miami in college ball.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Pond Is Small

A one-track market was linked to European affairs this week,with very choppy conditions prevailing.Even so,all the major indexes were up for the week,with the Dow garnering a 2.3 rise,and the NASDAQ climbing 3.6 as the S&P notched 2.2.All the major overseas markets rose as well.Until the Eurozone debt arrangements are actually implemented,the U.S. markets are unlikely to settle down.Triple digit swings may be expected to continue,regardless of positive economic data,such as today's retail sales report showing an increase for the seventh straight month.The days of Fortress America are long over.Today there are nothing but bridges to distant territories.
In college baseball,Miami was wishing it was distant from Georgia Tech tonight.The Yellow Jackets were pounding the Hurricanes 13-1 as a rain delay stopped the 6th inning.ESPN was already talking about college football,while the S&P futures headed down 21.50 and bond futures gained.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Reaping The Whirlwind

The financial crisis was back in force this week,casting doubt into the minds of investors.Those old days of 2008 seemed to have returned.Headlines were to be dreaded once again.The Eurozone debt problem generated huge slides in equity prices,raising the possibility that there may be another leg down in a seemingly endless time of economic peril.The S&P was off 6.39 for the week,while the Dow lost 5.71 and the NASDAQ tumbled 7.95.
A positive employment report was all but brushed aside in the climb up the wall of worry.To be sure,the Eurozone issue has been on the radar screen for several months.As a May 19 deadline for Greece approached,however,it came into unnervingly sharp focus,sending rioters into the streets of Athens.A summit of European leaders this weekend to address the problem could hold the market's fate in its hands.In response,the S&P futures were down 15.40 this evening.
The Florida Marlins were leading the Washington Nationals 4-2 in the highly competitive National League East,and golf fans awaited the Players Championship,where Tiger Woods will face Phil Mickelson in another chapter of his return saga.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Event Risk In Focus

With earnings season winding down,event risk has become the focus for traders now.Stocks closed at their lows of Friday's session,with financials losing big on concern over a criminal probe into Goldman Sachs' activities.Traders are worried that further negative information about the Wall Street titan will toughen new financial regulations even more.The other main concern is the Greek debt crisis,which has reached a critical juncture this weekend.If no bailout is reached by Sunday night,Friday's selling could resume on Monday.Greece needs to come up with cash for a May 19 debt payment.
Nonetheless,stocks closed up both for the week and the month.April is traditionally a strong month for equities,while the summer months are believed to yield weaker results,according to conventional wisdom.The S&P futures were down sharply this evening,losing 21.90,while bond futures rose.In golf,Tiger Woods was in danger of not making the cut in the PGA event at Quail Hollow,with relatively obscure players being on the leader board.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stocks Still Forging Ahead

For the eighth straight week,the stock market continued their upward momentum,unfazed by the Greek debt worries that resurfaced or impending financial regulatory reform.For the week,the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.7,while the NASDAQ rose 2.0 and the S&P climbed 2.1.A flurry of new home sales and ex-transport durable goods business lifted investors' spirits.They didn't seem concerned that there hasn't been a pullback in so long,things are starting to look toppy.We've been headed straight up for some time now,and the laws of physics will have to be reckoned with eventually-just not yet,in their opinion.
We all know about porn on the web.Peep show girls seem to pop out at you from every corner of social media.The cheapening of affection has never been so rampant-just another sign of the moral disarmament that is wearing civilization down,from Wall Street to the other side of the street-the Securities and Exchange Commission,it's regulator,where several high-ranking staffers are being disciplined for wasting taxpayer time on trivial viewing excursions.That was truly stupid.
The S&P futures were optimistic this evening,up 10.60,and bond futures were retreating,signaling a continuation of the week's gains on Monday morning.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fear Returns To Market

It's been a while since fear stalked the trading floor,but that is just what happened on this one-headline Friday.With the Securities and Exchange Commission filing civil charges against Goldman Sachs,the thought of the day was just who would be next.The financial stocks are so central today,so critical to the market's welfare,any threat to them calls into question the recent rally.All of the largest firms fell big time in a session that saw the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index jump 15.54.The financials lost 44 billion dollars in value on Friday,while Goldman alone dropped 10 billion.
Nonetheless,even though the cold breath of fear breathed down traders' necks again,the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a 0.2 gain for the week.The NASDAQ was up 1.1,but the S&P 500 stepped down 0.2 for the week.The futures gave little hope for the resumption of equities trading on Monday,with the S&P futures down 18.20and the Dow futures off a triple digit at -112,while Treasury futures rose in contrast.
Razorback fans were comforted as Arkansas took a 3-2 lead over the Georgia Bulldogs in college baseball,while some major league fans relaxed with Philadelphia leading Florida 5-1.
Technorati 3X9VTGKWAE5H

Friday, April 9, 2010

Golf Is Normal Again

The Masters is on,drawing viewers into its tranquil intensity,which is the genius of golf broadcasts.Tiger Woods is there,but he's taken up where he left off.The girl stories have faded into the background already.It's almost as if they happened to someone else in some other sport.They just don't seem to matter much anymore,unless you're the National Enquirer.
Wall Street has also been tranquil this week.The Dow rose 0.6,while the S&P moved up 1.4 and the NASDAQ led the field with a 2.1.It was the sixth straight week of moderately higher performance.It has become a near-perfect market.Today's volume was very light,though,at less than a billion shares.That is a flaw.The lack of conviction persists-a reminder that just over a year ago we had hit rock bottom,a fall for the ages.
It's hard to have conviction when there are still so many foreclosures and small businesses can't get the loans they need.Those headwinds may be breezes,but they're still there.
The S&P futures were up 8.9 early this evening.Treasury futures were up as well.Mets fans were freezing at Citi Field as the Mets led the Washington Nationals.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Manufacturing,Jobs Looking Better

The holiday-shortened trading week was capped off today by a positive employment report,with the private sector yielding more than 120,000 new jobs-the biggest gain since the recession began.Manufacturing reports contained strong data worldwide.Bonds were traded on Good Friday,with most Treasuries ending somewhat down,while stock futures reacted with an upswing,signaling a possibly good resumption of trading on Monday.
Christians were thinking of Jerusalem,a city of great and holy events commemorated at this time.They may have given some thought to finance,but their hearts were elsewhere today,in the midst of their faith that is rooted in the Middle East.Unfortunately,the Israeli-Palestinian conflict boiled over in Gaza,but Jerusalem itself wasn't in the bad news of the world.Pilgrims carried large wooden crosses in procession,retracing the last hours before Christ's crucifixion.The Western and Orthodox churches are celebrating Easter at the same time this year,unlike the usual divergence of calendars.
To all Christians,the happiest Easter to you and to yours.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Market Seems Relieved

Hopeful noises from Europe and the conclusion of the health care debate in Congress helped the market score a fourth consecutive weekly gain.The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1.0,while the NASDAQ pegged 0.9 and the S&P gained 0.6 for the week.It seems that the European Union has at least the semblance of a plan to deal with the Greek debt crisis and Congress has gone home for the Easter recess,having put the final touches on the new health insurance reform law.At the same time,the headwind of poor housing data kept the market in check,and volume was still on the light side.
Next week's big financial event happens on Good Friday,with the stock exchanges being closed,but business journalists busy with the employment report Friday morning.The trading week will have limited significance,given the crucial report waiting beyond its reach.It will be a week looking to the following week's reaction to the report.Nonetheless,the S&P futures were up 0.80 early this evening.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Journalists On Capitol Call

There is little rest for weary journalists this weekend.Instead of watching basketball,many of them are focused on the momentous health care bill struggling through Congress.It seems that momentum is moving in the bill's favor,with several holdouts pledging their support at this late hour in the process.It's one of the more complex pieces of legislation in the history of democracy,being over 2,000 pages long.It is an insurance reform package that is to be phased in over a number of years.While health insurers opposed it,the largest doctor's trade group,the American Medical Association,approved of it,along with the AARP seniors organization.Veteran broadcast journalist Dan Rather said he had never seen the country so polarized as it is today,which distinguishes our era from the mid-1960s,when President Lyndon Johnson got Medicare and Medicaid on the books.
Profits were taken on Wall Street today in advance of Sunday's vote on very light volume.For the week,the Dow was up 1.1,while the NASDAQ rose 6.75 and the S&P gained 9.1.The S&P futures were down 5.0 early this evening.Many traders may have been waiting to see just what happens in Congress,and how the early risers in Asia and Europe react to it beginning on Sunday evening,as they didn't buy many of the bargains available Friday afternoon.To this point,the rally has been strong,with higher highs and higher lows,as well as being broadly based.Many say a correction is needed now to keep it rolling on.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Consumer Mixed,Transports Up

It was a week of modest achievement,with muted gains for a toppy market.The S&P was up 1.0,while the Dow rose 0.6 and the NASDAQ climbed 1.8 for the week.Consumer assessments were mixed.Retail sales were good,but consumer sentiment fell.Next week could have some significant headlines,with a vote on health care looking increasingly likely by the end of the week,and the Federal Reserve announcing its interest rate decision and releasing an explanatory statement.Rates will be held steady,but the Fed's statement could always sway the market.
The price of gas is steadily making its way up.It is expected to crest 3.00 a gallon this summer,getting as high as 3.50.That means higher prices for many goods and services.The transport stocks were strong this week,but more expensive fuel would take a toll on them eventually.With interest in basketball heating up,perhaps few will notice energy costs in the near term.
The S&P futures were up 0.70 early this evening.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Euphoria Grips Limited Trading

A sense of euphoria got hold of the stock market on Friday when the unemployment report was better than expected.Economists had thought the snowstorms that battered much of the country in late February would have taken a toll on labor figures.When that didn't happen,a relief rally occurred,sending the S&P 500 Index up 3.1% for the week.The labor market was essentially flat,with unemployment staying at 9.7% for February.
Although the S&P surged on Friday,volume was paltry,coming in at less than a billion shares,which throws the staying power of the rally into question.The status quo job numbers hardly seem to justify today's Irish jig.As CNBC's Rick Santelli remarked,the bar for good news in employment is pretty darned low.In order for the economy to grow significantly,much more than holding the jobless line will be required.Nothing that happened this week lessened the credibility of the new normal hypothesis of slow growth and high unemployment for an extended period.
The S&P futures were nonetheless strong this evening,rising 14.20.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Nordic Combined Bests Market

The market ended the week with fractional gains,and volume for the month was light-down 8.3% from January's.It is a market without conviction,waiting to see what Washington and Brussels will do about the issues of the day,and concerned about discouraged consumers and weak housing numbers.The S&P futures were up slightly this evening,but next week's performance will hinge on the employment report for February.
The U.S. Nordic Combined skiers had plenty of conviction,however,moving into the uncharted territory of Olympic medals.Bill Demong took the gold in the large hill competition,while Team U.S.A. won silver in the team event and Johnny Spillane earned three silver medals in the three contests.The Americans have ended European domination of the Nordic Combined,which has to be one of the more satisfying achievements at the Vancouver Olympics for U.S. fans.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bode Miller Medals Again

Bode Miller,the U.S. skier who washed out at the Torino games four years ago,won a silver medal in the Super G event at Whistler,B.C. today.Miller had previously won the bronze in the Downhill race at these games.Gold in the Super G went to Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal,and American Andrew Weibrecht took the bronze.Svindal described it as an awesome day.Unless you live in the mountains,there's no way you can be a skier without your family helping you out,Svindal said.His mother died when he was little,but his father has been at his side since then.It was good to have him there today,jumping up and down when Aksel crossed the finish line a victor.
As for Miller,he thought his two-year old daughter was with him in spirit.He wasn't sure how she would have responded to all the drama of the race scene.She changed his life so much,surely the medals may be said to be hers also in a special way.The theme of the day seemed to be how important their families were to the skiers.The Olympics can remind us all of so many things.
The S&P futures mirrored the good skiing results,being up 0.60 early this evening.For the week,the S&P was up 33.66.The U.S. dollar is up about 4% for the year.Inflation remains very low,with the core Consumer Price Index dropping for the first time since 1982.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic Fever

Olympic fever is setting in as the Vancouver games get underway and it's a long weekend in the U.S.NFL football is over and the snow is piled high in many areas.Business seems a million miles from every one's minds except the games' sponsors such as Visa and Verizon.They are in their own competition:Visa with Mastercard and American Express;Verizon with AT&T.As long as AT&T is allied with Apple,which is for the foreseeable future,it's in a very strong position.It doesn't have to worry too much about Verizon.Visa used to slam American Express all the time.It will be interesting to see what their line is for these games.As a processing company,it doesn't have the economic sensitivity of an American Express,which has to worry about defaulting consumers.
Greece was the first team to enter BC Place,the opening ceremony venue.Its own debt problems have dominated financial headlines this week,and will probably do so next week as well.Its European neighbors haven't yet finalized an aid package,so the market will still have that uncertainty to contemplate.In the meantime,let's all have a low-stress weekend.We'll cross the icy bridge when we come to it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Debt Crisis From Europe

The S&P was down 0.7 for the week,making for a total loss of 4.2 with last week.Until the Europe situation resolves,its hard to see any real progress being made.There is an atmosphere of crisis,whether or not the economics of European debt really impact the U.S. or not.That doesn't matter.There's a perception that it might.It might even be a harbinger for the American economy.Investor's Business Daily says the market is in a correction.Many other analysts thought the first half of 2010 could be the roughest part.With some good internals in today's employment report and a promising ISM manufacturing survey,it would indeed seem we are in a correction,not another leg down.There is enough strength in the numbers to suggest we aren't going back down to the lows of last March.There probably won't be another Lehman weekend.All we have to handle this weekend is a lot of snow on the car in the Mid-Atlantic region.That's achievable.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Market Mirrors Frigid Weather

The stock market was as icy this week as the weather on the east coast and elsewhere.The S&P closed down 3.7% for the month,making it the worst month since last February.If the "January barometer" theory holds true this year,we're in trouble.It was the third straight down January.Tech and commodity stocks led the weakness,being sold into strength.Big cap tech rolled over as the dollar index rose 0.63%-the highest reading since last July.The inverse relationship between the dollar and stocks was in full force this week.It has characterized so much of recent months' market activity.The dollar is being seen as a haven in the face of global uncertainty regarding everything from the economies of southern Europe,to China's clampdown on lending,to anti-Wall Street rhetoric in Washington.Conversely,traders are booking profits from the stocks that have recovered so well to this point.They want to lock in their success while they can.The week froze out retail investors yet again.The S&P futures gave little comfort about next week,being down more than eight points tonight.

Friday, January 22, 2010

An Echo of March

The market gave an echo of the bad times of last March this week,the worst weekly decline since that bottom.It had been foreseen for months.No market can keep ascending without pause or correction.Yet that is just what people have been expecting of earnings.When their hyper-expectations weren't met this week,they sold off.Other problems were the fear of Paul Volcker-inspired regulatory reform,which is odd,since the former chairman of the Federal Reserve is widely admired on Wall Street.It must be admiration from a distance.China contributed to the decline as well,ordering banks to stop lending so much,which threatens to create bubbles.Corrections occur when a tipping point is reached.All the worries that had been hidden reach a critical mass and come tumbling out together.In the end,it's a helpful development.Only when reality is admitted to can a market resume its upward trajectory.There are things out there that can hurt us,and now we are conscious of them,we can resume our financial journey through earnings season.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Profit-Taking Today

Friday was a day for booking profits as investors expressed doubts about the economic situation.Reports suggesting consumer weakness raised the level of uncertainty about the course of 2010-enough to make taking profits a prudent measure at this time.Even Intel,with its sterling achievements in Q4,was skimmed for cream.JP Morgan Chase reported loan losses,and CEO Jamie Dimon expressed uncertainty about the economy in the conference call following its quarterly report.A disappointing reading by the University of Michigan on consumer sentiment further agitated the markets,raising the volatility level,although stocks did close off their lows for the session.The prospect of a three day weekend in the U.S. left traders eager to safeguard their portfolios with a buffer of cash in the face of a questionable opening on Tuesday morning and a cascade of further earnings reports next week,icluding one from Citigroup.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Market On Right Foot

The S&P futures were trading up this evening,putting an optimistic sheen on the outlook for Monday morning.It was a mildly positive move for the stock market in the first trading week of the new year.Historically,that has been a good sign for the whole year.Although the employment report for December was a minor setback,the three-month performance is encouraging,showing an upward trend line.No one expected the recovery to be anything but bumpy.That is why the stock market wasn't crestfallen today.Alcoa begins earnings season on Monday in the traditional way,by being the first of the big companies to report on its Q4 results.Given the brisk economic activity in the emerging markets,it may well be a good mark for the materials giant.Market participants can enter their weekend with some degree of confidence in the early part of next week.Many of them will watch the NFL playoffs with a bit less worry than they experienced last year at this time.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Red Eye Reflections

This is the red eye flight.You've been watching bowl games all day.Now you're watching the PC screen before you turn in.You may also be watching the markets,looking into the future as best you can.One certainty is that earnings season is just around the bend.Q4 will be revealed for what it really was.Until this important reading on the economy comes in,it might be best to pause before your next trade.There could be disappointments,as Thursday's poor close to 2009 may have been hinting.Another certainty is that there is always a new opportunity in investing.If you miss one,don't get agitated.The next one is already on the horizon-and there's one after that as well.There's always cause for hope in the financial markets.No wonder so many have found a lifetime of fascination in them.