Friday, November 30, 2007

Stocks Finish Week Higher on Bernanke Blather

Wall Street has become Disneyland.

Despite economic reports that generally signal a continued downturn through the 4th quarter and into 2008 - Personal Income was up just 0.2% while consumer spending increased by the same amount, but the core PCE deflator was also up 0.2%, with the year-over-year increase at 1.9%, within the Fed's "comfort zone."

Despite numbers begging to be interpreted as benign, the words "alert" and "flexible", when uttered yesterday by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, somehow signaled to investors that the Fed would cut rates again at their December 11 meeting.

Like I said, Disneyland. When you wish upon a star...

Dow 13,371.72 +59.99; NASDAQ 2,660.96 -7.17; S&P 500 1,481.14 +11.42; NYSE Composite 9,856.84 +83.27

Additionally, Construction Spending fell 0.8% in October, adding more impetus to the already dismal housing picture and indicating that economic woes are spreading into the commercial sector.

Advancing issues led decliners, 4054-2373, but new lows continued to hold sway over new highs, 239-172, though the gap has narrowed considerably over the past four sessions.

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Crude fell below the $90 mark, dropping $2.30 to $88.31. Precious metals continued to retreat from recent highs. Gold was down $13.20 to $789.10, while silver declined 28 cents to end the week at $14.17. The drops in commodities are beginning to make sense against the backdrop of a inadequately-growing US economy.

Slower growth, or even recession, here, is going to crimp demand for all raw materials. Forget inflation. We're staring straight at Japan-style deflation.

So, that makes stocks go up? The Dow registered a gain of 628 points over the past four sessions, mostly on speculation that the Fed would lower interest rates to avert a recession. And that, dear reader, is why they call trading equities "speculative." Sometimes, everybody's wrong. And this time, it sure looks like they are.

Pass the fairy dust, Tinkerbell. I'm ready for another ride on the Magic Mountain.

NYSE Volume 4,335,490,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,571,377,500

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