Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Volatility and Violation

Stocks surged today on all major exchanges, despite generally dour economic news, including another poor reading on consumer confidence and a report on existing home sales which was also market-deflating.

Consumer confidence fell to 87.3, from 95.6 in October. Analysts were expecting a reading of 92.0. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed a 4.5% year-over-year decline for the 3rd quarter, adding more fuel to the sub-prime/housing/credit fire.

Stocks, which were buoyed at the open by news that CitiGroup (C) would receive a $7.5 billion injection of cash from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for a 4.9% stake in the troubled financial firm, fell quickly at 10:00 am when both the consumer confidence and home sales figures were released.

Dow 12,958.44 +215.00; NASDAQ 2,580.80 +39.81; S&P 500 1,428.23 +21.01; NYSE Composite 9,521.76 +132.26

But, in a day full of volatility and violation of key support and resistance levels at various times, stocks soared to intra-day highs before and after the noon hour, with the Dow leading the way - at one point up more than 240 points.

The afternoon witnessed a series of rapid sell-offs and rebounds, culminating in a mammoth 100-point spike with half an hour left in the trading day.

Despite the rise, stocks continue to be mired in a negative funk, though recently the markets have become extremely volatile. Stocks were up sharply on Friday, down hugely on Monday, only to be followed by Tuesday's massive upswing.

Inside the markets, advancers beat decliners, 3978-1421, though new highs were trounced again by new lows, 666-80. The bias continues explicitly to the downside.

Commodities contributed to some of the upside in stocks. Oil for January delivery lost $3.28 to $94.42 on the NY Merc. Gold lost $12.50 to close at $814.00, while silver fell 35 cents to 14.49.

While buyers were dancing through most of the day, Wednesday could bear witness to another dramatic turn around. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announce their own reading on existing home sales at 10:00 am and crude inventories - which have been next-to-impossible to predict recently - come out at 10:30 am.

While the news from the NAR is somewhat predictable, an unexpected decline in oil and gas reserves could trigger more price gains in crude and derail any chance of a continuation of today's rally.

Of course, considering today's wicked trading patterns, there's also the possibility of insiders working the markets to the upside, in their ongoing effort to prevent the inevitable meltdown.

The Abu Dhabi investment in CitiGroup serves as clear evidence that America is losing ground in the war on terror. While we have yet to suffer another attack, the original main target - financial companies - are now being bought by Arab nations, along with plenty of other American companies.

In the long run, it may be best to just sell out to foreigners - for now. When the investments go bust, American taxpayers and investors will be able to pick them up on the cheap.

NYSE Volume 4,273,844,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,220,407,250

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