Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another Nice NASDAQ Notion

Tech stocks are all the rage again, at least for today. The biggest gains were once again in the tech-heavy NASDAQ index, which was up better than a half percent on a day that the other indices barely budged.

Dow 13,521.34 +14.06; NASDAQ 2,572.06 +14.87; S&P 500 1,518.11 +2.38; NYSE Composite 9,892.49 +16.38

As mentioned here in previous posts, there are good reasons to like tech, especially internet or chip-related issues. Many businesses begun in the red-hot heyday of the 90's are now mature or maturing, solidifying their market positions and bringing down exceptional profits.

Tech fell somewhat out of favor after the dotcom bust of 2000 and it's yet to fully recover. The NASDAQ index is still only half way back from its all-time high, so there are undervalued companies with plenty of upside. Besides that, the blue chips are somewhat overbought and fund managers are looking to mid- and small-caps for more gains in the 2nd half of 2007.

The M&A hawks are also on the lookout for takeover or take private companies in tech. Many of the best have market caps of less than $30 billion. Tech takeovers could be de rigeur in the waning years of the 2000s decade.

Overall, advancing issues surpassed decliners by a nearly 2-1 margin on light volume. New highs checked in at 305, while there was nary a new low to be found - only 73 of them on the day.

The lack of volume was indicative of two matters: Summer and complacency. The nice weather is usually a harbinger of a prevailing slowdown in trading activity. There also was a paucity of economic and/or corporate news to digest, though the consumer confidence numbers released by the Conference Board were surprisingly upbeat and that set the tone for Tuesday.

And, shockingly, with the holiday driving done for now, the price of oil magically fell on the NY-MERC, as light, sweet crude dropped $1.90 to close at $63.30. Drivers should expect some - though not much - relief at the pump over the next three to four weeks. Of course, prices will go higher as the 4th of July holiday approaches due to (wink, wink) supply and demand, of course.

Gold and silver made modest gains but remain rangebound, depressed and somewhat overpriced.

It's a short work week, so expect the most volatility - if there is any at all - to occur on Wednesday and/or Thursday.

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