Monday, August 25, 2008

Investors Still Not Buying

As we wend our way toward falling leaves and cooler weather, Wall Street seems to have taken the lead with a cold attitude toward stocks and falling prices all around.

Monday began in a somber way. On the lightest volume session of the year, most of the activity involved selling, indiscriminate selling, as all sectors were down more than 1%, led, of course, by the battered financial stocks.

Though there was little in the way of actual news, the mood was as dour as it has been throughout the 1+ year since the initial shock waves of the subprime malaise.

Dow 11,386.25 -241.81; NASDAQ 2,365.59 -49.12; S&P 500 1,266.84 -25.36; NYSE Composite 8,229.03 -144.52

The headline numbers matched the internals. Declining issues overwhelmed advancers, 4959-1394. There were 212 new lows to just 63 new highs. The numbers are so low because there have been more new lows than new highs every day for nearly a year now and those losing stocks are already bottomed out.

With markets overall down roughly 20% from a year ago, a huge number of new lows - in the 500-800 range - would be symptomatic of a more catastrophic downturn.

As it is, stocks are already so battered and beaten, investors so burned, that a good deal of money has already exited US markets, seeking gains on foreign exchanges or in other investment vehicles.

Commodities didn't fare much better. Oil gained 52 cents, to $115.11, though that price was largely a rebounding bounce following Friday's $6+ loss. Gold diminished by $7.80, to $825.70. Silver fell 11 cents to $13.48.

With summer winding down, one would expect low volume, but today's massive loss is troubling. The markets simply do not have any life, any measurable bounce. There is almost a certainty that stocks - in the near term, at least - are going to continue heading lower.

Hang on to your cash. Bank failures and other financial cataclysms are on the way.

NYSE Volume 865,190,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,454,557,000

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