Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Good, Bad and Ugly: Stocks Soar, Oil Up 10%, McCain Thinks He's a Winner

As Americans went to the polls in record numbers on this Election Day 2008, investors on Wall Street sent the Dow Jones Industrials to a 4-week high. Who knows why? Economic news isn't that good (in fact, it's all been bad lately), corporate earnings have been spotty, Circuit City is closing 155 stores and oil popped big time on Saudi production cuts.

Today's rally is probably a canard, or, at best, an indication that big money thinks any kind of change in Washington will be a good one. The heavy money's on a big Obama win, and with that, sweeping Democrats into a very strong majority in both houses of the congress.

In any case, Wall Street seemed a different place than it had been the past two months. Of course, we're down about 15% since the beginning of September and a bunch more from this time last year.

Dow 9,625.28 +305.45; NASDAQ 1,780.12 +53.79; S&P 500 1,005.75 +39.45; NYSE Composite 6,345.09 +290.11

Advancers led decliners, 4621-1773, while the gap between new lows and new highs remained in favor of the bottom feeders, 144-20. Volume was considerable, considering the focus on elections rather than money for a day, though most of the action was on the NASDAQ, bringing up a rather curious circumstance: Are investors looking more to small caps and technology rather than blue chip stocks in a potential Obama administration?

NYSE Volume 1,308,074,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,333,323,000

Oil jumped $6.62, to $70.53, on OPEC production cuts, though the figure is probably not sustainable despite the coming holidays and colder weather. Demand is slack, and output cuts aren't going to change the dynamic of conservation and penny-pinching at the pump. Gold was up $30.50, to $757.30, and silver gained 38 cents, to $10.13, reversing the predominant trend. The gains in the metals is another curiosity. Are gold-bugs preparing for trouble, like a long night of vote-counting, possible violence over rigged results, or are we reading into the figures too much?

We will know, soon, hopefully within hours. For election stories, check out our Live Blogging of the Election.

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