Monday, May 21, 2007

Shift From Blue Chips to Tech Starting?

Monday saw unusual movement in the various major indices. While the Dow was slightly lower, the S&P and NYSE up marginally, the NASDAQ powered ahead 20 points. As Friday was options expiration day for May, we can expect to see more of a realistic trading pattern for at least the next three weeks. Earnings for the first quarter are largely behind us, so the markets should move on M&A activity and economic reports.

Additionally, the price of oil and motor fuel should play significant roles in any movement over the next month. US motorists have just about had it with the managed price escalation by Big Oil. Unfortunately, there's little the US consumer can do about it. Nearly everybody in America owns a car out of necessity, except where public transportation is functional, like New York, Washington D.C. or Chicago.

Even in the grand metropolises, public transportation is either incomplete or only a portion of the total people-moving mechanism. Americans are overall tied to their cars and there's no easy solution. Therefore, gas prices are at a point right now that they are eating into disposable income in some classes. In the lower classes, high fuel costs are eating into necessities like food and health, and in some cases, savings.

Dow 13,542.88 -13.65; NASDAQ 2,578.79 +20.34; S&P 500 1,525.10 +2.35; NYSE Composite 9,897.46 +3.72

Keeping with the theme, light crude on the NYMERC shot up another $1.33 on Monday to settle at $66.27, the highest it's been in months. With summer driving season ahead and the American oil companies firmly in control of the pricing, the government, and soon, our wallets, don't expect any relief through the Memorial Day weekend at least. We're being gouged but good, and between our brain-dead (and oil rich) President and the supine Congress, the American public is on its own here. It's either fish or cut bait, or, more appropriately, drive or ride a bike.

Advancing issues held sway over decliners by a 5-3 margin (2-1 on the NASDAQ), and you wouldn't know it just from the headline numbers, but there were an impressive 540 new highs and just 71 new lows. For what looked on the surface like a dull day, there was plenty of movement out of the blue chips on the Dow and into mid-cap tech stocks. Whether this trend holds up over the short and long-term remains to be seen, though this kind of cyclical rotation is normal in bull markets. Sellers are taking profits and re-investing in what they may view as undervalued sectors. Tech is still rebounding from 2000, though it's been growing exceptionally, especially in the internet and computing space.

Gold was up $1.80 and silver gained 13 cents. Both of the precious metals have been depressed for over a year now - not so precious.

Update on Marvel Enterprises (MVL): Well, like I said in my original post on Marvel, the price decline after a stellar earnings report was more options-related and short term profit-taking than anything else. The stock dropped to a low of 25.50 on Friday, the options expiration date for May. Marvel finally closed at 26.25 as the week ended. On Monday, investors could not get enough of the Spidey-stock, boosting it 2.10 (8%) to a finish at 28.35. Volume was 4 times normal. The die has been cast. This one's a keeper in a big way. I re-reinterate my buy recommendation and price target of 38-42.

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