Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wild Wall Street Ride

Stocks zigzagged their way to positive closes on the major indices Tuesday, thanks to a late day "miracle" rally, largely credited to a spike in the price of oil and subsequent gains by ExxonMobil (XOM), which finished higher by 3.71 points at 87.82.

What's interesting and almost laughable about that explanation is that higher oil prices are not good for most stocks, only oil stocks, so why did the NASDAQ erase a 34-point decline and close up 3.43? Surely the tech-laden NASDAQ is largely insensitive to oil prices.

The absolute, no-doubt-about-it truth of the matter is that the Plunge Protection Team (PPT) was busy keeping the markets from collapsing again. As it was, the Dow, which was up as much as 150 points early on, lost all of that and was down over 100 points between 2:00 and 3:00 pm. When the PPT got to work on pumping the various market futures, the Dow rose from -80 to +80 in a matter of roughly 20 minutes. All other indices saw similar gains.

Supposedly, these infusions of buying by the Fed, Treasury, and their agents - the brokerages - are good for the market. That might be true if you are ignorant and holding stocks currently, but anyone with a working brain has long since left the market or is short the market. Short-sellers need honest markets, too, and these markets are anything but honest.

Dow 13,010.14 +51.70; NASDAQ 2,596.81 +3.43; S&P 500 1,439.70 +6.43; NYSE Composite 9,575.29 Up 77.96

As usual, proof that the "rally" was a phony as our president lies in the advance/decline line.Declining issues outpaced advancers 3471-2946. New lows cracked the century mark at 1028, as compared to a paltry 92 new highs. Sure the market was up. Inflation, $100/barrel oil, a corrupt federal administration and a credit crisis as severe as any one since the Great Depression naturally sends investors out seeking overpriced stocks with buy orders in both hands. Sure.

The whole rigged racket is droll, so obvious, so blatant and so ignorant that it is often difficult to write about it. I personally want to throw up my hands in disgust whenever I see these absurd price gains across the entire market. Veterans of the exchanges must have gotten used to the abuse by now though mostly they remain silent. After all, their jobs are at stake.

Oil was up $3.39 to close at $98.03. Gold was higher by $13.40 to $791.40. Silver gained 35 cents to close at $14.51.

Thank God Wednesday is a short session. The trading action is highly suspect and I need a break.

NYSE Volume 4,806,186,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,641,784,250