Friday, September 12, 2008

A Day Better Taken Off

Stocks vacillated around the flat line on most major indices on Friday, as investors, apparently worn out from the volatile sessions earlier in the week, settled down, sat back and waited for Hurricane Ike.

Moving presidential politics to a back seat, the category 3 hurricane is headed to the heart of the Houston refinery complex, where most oil form the Gulf is turned into gasoline or other fuels.

Owing to the storm's presence, as the winds gained in intensity off Galveston, gas prices went up as oil prices went down.

In other economic news, retail sales fell in August, but the real news was the 0.9% decline in wholesale prices for the month, yet another indication of drying up demand and a global slowdown.

Also troubling was the Treasury Department's reluctance to bail out ailing Lehman Brothers (LEH, 3.78, -0.44). The formerly-high-flying investment bank is on its last legs and still searching for a rescue.

Dow 11,421.99 -11.72; NASDAQ 2,261.27 +3.05; S&P 500 1,251.69 +2.64; NYSE Composite 8,091.84 +80.59

In very thin trading, advancing issues edged decliners, 3302-2965. New lows continued to dominate new highs, 365-61.

Commodities reversed fortunes, for a day, at least, though the overall trend is still down. Oil ended higher by 32 cents, closing at $101.25 on the NY Mercantile Exchange. Gold gained $19, to $764.50. Silver rebounded 24 cents to $10.80.

It was a day better spent pondering the meaning of life or sipping mai tais by the pool. Life on Wall Street will get back to its normal dizzying pace on Monday. Well, maybe. The Fed meets on Tuesday, so it's likely nothing much may occur until then, when, in all likelihood, the FOMC will do... nothing.

NYSE Volume 1,250,822,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,989,322,000

No comments: