Thursday, May 3, 2007

More Gains as Rally Extends; S&P Tops 1,500

The run continued on Thursday, despite some very disappointing news from General Motors (GM), the markets were buoyed by a positive Labor Dept. productivity report which showed an uptick of 1.7%, nearly a full percentage point higher than the consensus estimate.

With the S&P 500 breaking an important psychological mark, that particular index is poised for a breakout. The all-time high is within hailing distance, a mere 25 points higher and when that is breached, the floodgates will be open. The S&P will join the Dow in uncharted territory and the gains should continue for a good period of time.

Dow 13,241.38 +29.50; NASDAQ 2,565.46 +7.62; S&P 500 1,502.39 +6.47; NYSE Composite 9,753.94 +35.94

It's important not to get married to stocks during this phase, as sectors and industry groups will rotate, though the overwhelming drivers continue to be tech, innovation and globalization. Companies that can leverage their advantage in these areas will emerge as winners and appreciate in spurts. This may become very much a traders' market, with quick turnaround trades the key to making money.

Buy and hold strategists need not be dissuaded by this, as the long-term viability of many leading companies should remain intact throughout.

Even though today's market action was somewhat muted, it was still in keeping with the overall positive tone which has prevailed of late. Advancing issues outdid decliners by 17-14 margin. New highs stood solidly at 419 versus just 62 new lows. That number continues to amaze and indicate that the rally will continue unabated.

A 4th straight day of slippage in the price of oil added to the upbeat mood. Light, sweet crude for June delivery dipped 49 cents to $63.19.

The precious metals played contrarians for a day. Gold closed at $684.40, up $9.30, while silver was less of a player, gaining 18 cents to $13.51. These commodities have been playing this game for over a year now and are nowhere near their 2006 highs. After sizable run-ups in the first part of the decade, the metals have been lackluster performers since early 2006.

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