Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Broad-Based Buying in the Face of High Oil

The markets opened sharply lower Tuesday, then spent the day rallying, finally finishing in positive territory. There was no notable catalyst for the gains, but not much to derail confidence, unless you're one of those ancient thinkers believing that the core of the US economy - the American middle class - is being buffeted by all manner of downdrafts, from high food and fuel prices to tighter credit standards to a tenuous employment situation.

Whatever the US economy does, Wall Street continues to react as if nothing important is occurring. It could be election-year buying, confidence in multi-nationals or just plain old vanilla irrational exuberance. Whatever it is, it kept stocks in positive territory for another day.

Dow 13,020.83 +51.29; NASDAQ 2,483.31 +19.19; S&P 500 1,418.26 +10.77; NYSE Composite 9,510.98 +72.88

The price of oil continued to climb, to another record close of $121.84, up $1.87 on the day. Gold gained $3.60 to 877.70. Silver was higher by 3 cents, to $16.86.

Advancing issues beat back decliners, 3722-2554. There were 177 new lows to 174 new highs.

If it seems as though everybody is waiting for something to give the market direction, it is because everybody is. Either the Yahoo-Microsoft saga must be resolved, the mortgage mess should bring some more news - good or bad - or maybe everyone was watching Cisco (CSCO) and Disney (DIS) to report 1st quarter results after the close.

Cisco came through by beating analyst estimates with returns of 29 cents per share, though lower than last year's 30 cents per share for the comparable period.

Disney reported a 22% gain over the first quarter of 2007, at 58 cents per share.

Reasons to buy, perhaps, but how much?

NYSE Volume 3,844,561,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,097,138,375

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