Thursday, October 16, 2008

Down and Up Wall Street

The roller coaster ride continues.

US stock indices evened things out on Thursday, heading higher after a huge Monday rally and two dizzying days of losses, but not before scaring the bejezus out of investors.

The Dow was up over 100 points early on, but then sunk to a loss of nearly 400 points, touching the lows of the day just after 11:00 am at 8197.67. At that point, some reasonably good news on the CPI (unchanged for September), corporate earnings and a continuing decline in the price of oil contributed to spirited buying enthusiasm, picking up stocks of all varieties - especially airlines and banks.

The Dow finished with a nice gain of over 400 points. Other major US indices sported similar upswings. Foreign markets in Europe and Asia were mostly lower on the day, reflecting the protracted volatility around the globe.

Dow 8,979.26 +401.35; NASDAQ 1,717.71 +89.38; S&P 500 946.43 +38.59; NYSE Composite 5,970.90 Up 210.94

Market internals were all over the map, just like the indices themselves. Advancing issues beat out losers, 4160-2244. New lows ranked up to 965 against only 51 new highs. Volume was impressive, at the highest levels of the week.

NYSE Volume 1,997,849,000
NASDAQ Volume 3,372,358,000

Commodities were once again showing the stresses of deflation. Oil fell $4.62, to $70.26, a price less than half of what it was just three months ago when crude hit an all-time high. Gold slipped $34.50, to $804.50 and silver fell 55 cents to $9.64, the first time silver has ended below $10.00 since August, 2007.

With general agreement that the entire planet is headed for recession, commodities are the first to show signs of strain. This is a continuing trend that should eventually spill over into finished products of all kinds, just in time for Christmas, though post-holiday sales should offer even better bargains.

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