Friday, May 23, 2008

Stocks Finish Week Badly

The only catalyst needed to send stocks into a pre-holiday funk was word that existing home sales fell for the 8th time in the last nine months. Right from the opening bell, investors were selling and getting out of town.

Market lows came early on - prior to noon - and stocks drifted in a negative range all session long. And while the housing news was widely expected, it served as just another reminder that the US economy has a long way to go towards recovery.

e Dow 12,479.63 -145.99; NASDAQ 2,444.67 -19.91; S&P 500 1,375.93 -18.42; NYSE Composite 9,315.78 -117.57

Declining issues outpaced advancers by the widest margin of the week, 4335-1742. New lows opened a huge gap over new highs, 212-65, the widest in weeks.

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Even though volume was very light - typical of a pre-holiday get-away - the hangover effects of a horrible end to the week will certainly spill over into the final week of May and into June, a period normally highlighted by sluggish trade and nitpicking over corporate details.

Many investors find that May-August are best spent on the beach or the vacation home and a rally this summer would certainly be something of a lark.

Crude oil regained $1.38 to close out the week at $132.19, while gold advanced $7.50 to $925.80 and silver edged 27 cents higher to $18.29.

All told, the Dow lost 3.5% for the week with other major indices following suit.

Remember our fallen heroes this weekend. It is because of them that we enjoy our freedoms.

NYSE Volume 1,105,550,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,727,578,000

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