Friday, November 21, 2008

Geithner Appointment Boosts Stocks in Final Hour

I used to call this kind of activity "proof" of the existence of the PPT (Plunge Protection Team), though such wild trading swings have become so commonplace that one has to question exactly what is going on.

There seems to be such a high level of concentrated insider trading on Wall Street that major moves - both up and down - have to be viewed with a large dose of skepticism.

Surely, stocks are down in a major way from a year ago, but the evidence that there is a global recession in progress has yet to manifest itself in major ways. Maybe that is only my perception, and to a large degree it must be, though there are some indications that the economic downturn is still affecting only peripherally.

Most people still have jobs and are not in any immediate jeopardy of losing them. Gas prices are much lower than just months ago, and half what they were a year ago. The only visible signs of any crisis are evident only on Wall Street and in Washington, D.C. The tail is wagging the dog.

Today's final hour boost was credited to a news leak of President-Elect Barack Obama's imminent appointment of Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Anonymous sources were credited by various news outlets, also mentioning that Lawrence Summers would become a senior advisor and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson would be appointed Commerce Secretary on Monday, November 24.

Dow 8,046.42 +494.13 (6.54%); NASDAQ 1,384.35 +68.23 (5.18%); S&P 500 800.03 +47.59 (6.32%); NYSE Composite 4,959.79 +308.58 (6.63%)

The day's trade generally vacillated along the break-even line until the 3:00 hour, and at that point began a wicked ascent which wiped away the losses incurred on Thursday on the Dow. Significant advances were made on the other major indices. Advancing issues surpassed declining ones, 4157-2514. New lows overwhelmed new highs 2575-46. Nearly 40% off all listed securities on the NASDAQ and NYSE fell to fresh lows today on significant volume.

NYSE Volume 2,372,786,000
NASDAQ Volume 3,128,916,000

Commodities all gained. Oil was higher by 51 cents, to $49.93. Gold was up a massive $43.10, to $791.80. Silver advanced 46 cents, to $9.51.

The average investor has to be confused with recent market volatility, and with good cause. It is unprecedented.

Have we seen the bottom? Who knows?

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