Friday, July 29, 2011

Don Fails To Satisfy Texas

The residents of south Texas had seen Tropical Storm Don as the hope of their drought-stricken lives;at least initially,it was nothing of the sort.By the time Don reached the Gulf coast,it had been downgraded to a tropical depression.Don seemed to be too weak to significantly penetrate the dry air mass that has been parked there.Scattered showers brought less than an inch of rain to some Texas locations,but the rainfall deficit is on the order of 17 inches.
It is the worst drought in the recorded history of Texas.Agricultural losses from it will inevitably hit consumers in the pocketbook with headline inflation.
Wall Street was disappointed in a Congress that failed to deliver an end to the sovereign debt crisis.In consequence,it had the worst week of the year.The Dow dropped 4.24,and the S&P lost 3.92 as the NASDAQ followed them down 3.58.A dry GDP report didn't help.The nation's economy grew at a worse than expected 1.3% in Q2.That's not enough to create jobs.
The Jefferies/Reuters CRB commodities index fell 0.8 on Friday.Oil was down to 95.70 a barrel,but gold notched a record 1621.20 an ounce in the uncertain economic environment.
The Washington Nationals couldn't create victory,losing their sixth in a row to the New York Mets 8-5 at Nationals Park.The Mets' Jason Bay went 2-4 with a run and RBI to his credit.Reliever Jason Isringhausen,38,successfully closed the game out for the Mets,with whom he started his long major league career in 1995.
Next week sees the release of the critical July employment report.The S&P futures weren't looking forward to it,losing a further 8.40.The longer maturity bond index futures rose.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Canadian Open Dry and Tough

An unforgiving course and its dry greens kept scores high at the RBC Canadian Open in Vancouver.At the end of the second round,Americans Michael Thompson and Chad Campbell shared the lead at -4.Canadians Adam Hadwin and David Hearn shared fifth place with a number of other golfers at -2.
At the LPGA Evian Masters on the French shore of Lake Geneva,Japan's Miki Saiki topped the leader board with a nine under par through the second round.Americans Stacy Lewis,Paula Creamer and Kristie Kerr were close behind,with Lewis at eight under,and Creamer and Kerr at seven under par,respectively.
While the golfers seemed to be in relatively cool surroundings,the Mid-Atlantic region was gravely hot.At Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia,the rules were relaxed so fans could bring bottled water to the baseball game.Even in Toronto,on Thursday the dome of Rogers Centre was closed against the 100F heat.
Stocks were not hot for the week,but did score modest gains.The broadly based S&P 500 index was up 2.19 on some strong earnings reports from Microsoft and McDonald's,among others,as well as apparent progress in European debt talks.The Reuters/Jefferies CRB commodities index climbed 2.66 on the week.
Next week,a plethora of earnings will be logged in by Ford Motor,3M,US Steel and Exxon Mobil,to name a handful of the 300 companies slated to report.There will also be a lot of data to react to from the housing sector,as well as consumer sentiment,GDP and durable goods reports.
The S&P futures were down 1.50 Friday evening,while oil,gold and bond index futures rose.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Watson Aces Sixth Hole,Stocks Down on Week

Tom Watson,one of golf's leading lights at 71 years old,showed a flash of old brilliance in second round play at The Open Championship Friday.Watson hit a hole in one at the sixth,the fifteenth ace of his career and his second at a major.He also aced at the 1980 U.S. Open.Watson finished the round at an even 70,four strokes off the lead.Phil Mickelson was three strokes behind at one under par.
Fellow American Lucas Glover and Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke shared the lead at four under par.The tournament is being held at the Royal St.George's Golf Club in Sandwich,England.
The stock market did not score an ace this week,suffering modest declines on the endless debt concern as well as unemployment hangover from last Friday and a weak Empire State manufacturing report,coupled with poor consumer confidence.The Dow fell 1.4,while the NASDAQ lost 2.5 and the S&P slipped 2.1.The Jefferies-Reuters CRB commodities index edged up 0.5.
Next week features data on existing home sales,housing starts and Mid-Atlantic manufacturing,the Philly Fed report.The S&P futures were up 8.20 Friday evening,and bond index futures also rose.Oil futures were up 1.55 at 97.24 a barrel,and gold futures rose 0.80 to 1590.10 an ounce.
Update:Darren Clarke,who will turn 43 next month,took sole possession of the lead in Saturday's third round of The Open Championship,shooting a 69 five under par.Young Americans Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler were second and third on the leader board,respectively.Clarke only missed a few greens in the challenging weather conditions,and was the only player to make birdie on the first hole.
The crowd favorite,Clarke had previously won at Majorca,Spain on the European tour this season.Phil Mickelson was at even par Saturday,five shots back of the lead in seventh place.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pueblo Faces Wind as Rockies Win

Pueblo County,Colorado braved fierce winds and quarter-sized hail as thunderstorms rocked the Front Range this evening.At 6:52 pm,a gust of 78 mph was recorded,and a semi truck was knocked over on its side 5 miles east of Pueblo.
Meanwhile,the Colorado Rockies were playing ball back east in Washington.They bested the Washington Nationals 3-2 as closer Houston Street blanked the Nats,striking out two in the ninth inning.The Rockies have won four straight games against the Nats,and the last 15 out of 18 contests with the Nats.
The stock market faced the winds of a poor employment report on Friday.Nonetheless,it managed a slight gain on the week,with the Dow up 0.59,the NASDAQ adding 1.55,and the S&P improving by the hair of 0.31,supported by strong manufacturing data from the Institute for Supply Management.June was the 23rd consecutive month of expansion in the sector,with new orders and production up modestly and employment rising a strong 1.7%.
Next week will see the start of earnings season as companies report their Q2 results.Alcoa reports on Monday,while JP Morgan Chase goes on Thursday along with Google.Citigroup checks in on Friday,and the Empire State manufacturing report will also be released at that time.
The futures were still affected by nerves Friday evening,as the S&P dropped 9.90.Oil futures also fell,losing 2.46,while gold and bond index futures hiked upward.
Alcoa(AA),Citigroup(C),Google(GOOG),JP Morgan Chase(JPM)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jays Lose,But Canadian Powers Nats Win

The Toronto Blue Jays could not deliver a victory to fans on Canada Day,losing 7-6 as the Philidelphia Phillies came from behind to win Friday afternoon in Toronto.Canadian Matt Stairs,however,celebrated his homeland's birthday with a walk-off base hit,earning a 2-1 win for his team,the Washington Nationals,over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park Friday evening.
Reliever Chris Resop had shut the Nats down with his fastballs in the eighth inning,but the veteran Stairs came through in the bottom of the ninth with his second RBI in a Nationals uniform.It was a nice hit,Stairs said;it was a good feeling.
Traders were having a good feeling on Friday as well,with all three major averages logging a successful week at the closing bell.The Dow rose 5.4 on the week,and the NASDAQ gained 6.2,while the broadly-based S&P added 5.6.The Jefferies-Reuters CRB Index showed a commodities loss of 0.4.
The S&P futures continued the rally,up 19.30,while bond index futures declined.
The holiday-shortened next week will test the rally with several data points,including the ISM service sector reading;factory orders;chain store sales;and the crucial employment report on Friday.