Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stocks Mostly Down, But Internals Point Positive

While the Dow shaved a little off yesterday's gains, the NASDAQ gained again while the S&P was virtually unchanged.

With the indices hanging in limbo, somewhere short of their recent highs, but far from the lows of January and March, investors are searching once again for direction.

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Some of that came from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who said that recent turmoil in credit and financial markets has subsided of late. However, beyond that and Hewlett-Packard's planned acquisition of EDS for $12.6 billion, there was little in the way of positive news.

First quarter home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), fell by the steepest percentage (-7.7%) since such figures began to be recorded... in 1982.

April retail sales fell 0.2% - the second straight monthly decline - though most of the loss was attributed to weakness in auto sales. Of course, the price of crude oil and gas contributed to the distress, with oil hitting another new high on the NY Mercantile Exchange, ending up $1.57 at $125.80. Gas hit another record as well, with the average US price at the pump rising to $3.73 per gallon.

Dow 12,832.18 -44.13; NASDAQ 2,495.12 +6.63; S&P 500 1,403.04 -0.54; NYSE Composite 9,410.46 -7.51

The metals lost ground, with gold off $15.30, to $869.60, while silver shed 40 cents to close at $16.83 per ounce.

Advancing issues squeaked out a win over decliners, 3166-2819. New highs took the lead over new lows, by a surprisingly healthy amount, 200-170. Once again, these indicators are signaling little more than a market in distress about which way to go next. There is some overhead resistance, though it could hardly be called strong. On the downside, there is little support in the indices immediate trading ranges.

NYSE Volume 1,207,764,00
NASDAQ Volume 1,878,101,000

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