Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Double Dose of Reality for Wall Street; S&P at 27-Month Low

Stocks rose briefly Tuesday morning, but a pair of economic reports on Pending Home Sales and Wholesale Trade and Inventories sent traders running for the sell buttons.

Word from the housing industry was as dreary as ever. The National Association of Realtors' (NAR) index for pending sales of existing homes dropped 3.2% to 86.5 from 89.4 in June.

At the same time that report hit the street - 10:00 am EDT - the wholesale trade numbers showed a marked increase in inventory levels and a slowing of sales in July.

The double-whammy hit Wall Street like a ton of bricks as the NASDAQ dropped below its July bottom and the S&P broke down to a new 2008 low and closed the session at its lowest level since June 2006.

Dow 11,230.73 -280.01; NASDAQ 2,209.81 -59.95; S&P 500 1,224.51 -43.28; NYSE Composite 7,871.15 -297.47

While the Dow held onto a mere 10 points gained from Monday, the losses in the other indices were severe, especially in the NASDAQ and NYSE Composite. The NASDAQ, which was up nearly 14 points on Monday, lost more than 4 times that on Tuesday, dropping almost 60 points. The NYSE Composite lost more than double what it had gained in the previous session. Those two indices constitute the broadest gauges, covering over 6000 individual stocks between them.

Market internals verified that the selling was indeed broad-based and rampant. Gainers were overwhelmed by more than 5-1 by declining issues, with the losers ahead by a score of 5303-1006. New lows continued to swell as new highs retreated. New lows led, 574-103.

The only safe haven was in bonds, which gained slightly, while commodities were blasted lower once more. Crude oil continued its precipitous decline, losing $3.08, to $103.26. Gold shed another $10.50, shattering the psychologically-important $800 barrier, closing in New York at $792.00 per ounce. Silver slid below $12.00, losing 35 cents, to $11.92.

With seemingly nothing but more bad news heading to Wall Street, there seems to be nothing more than investor resolve to keep markets from an all-out rout. Volume has not returned following the Labor Day recess, igniting fears that many market participants have already left for more guarded environs. The past two days' volume have been mirror images, and have been in the moderate range.

Prices, wages and the value of all assets are all now encountering the beginning of a deflationary spiral which will lead to more misery months ahead.

NYSE Volume 1,639,261,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,614,386,000

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