Monday, February 9, 2009

Markets Flatline Awaiting Stimulus

Stocks traded in narrow ranges on the major indices Monday as investors awaited congressional delegations to reconcile differences in the Senate and House versions of the massive $800 billion government stimulus bill.

While Washington fiddles, Wall Street diddles, indeed. The Dow barely surpassed a 100-point full-session range. The S&P 500 never moved more than 7-points off of no change, finishing with a minimal gain of 1.29, joining the NYSE on the upside, while the Dow and NASDAQ ended lower.

Dow 8,270.95, -9.64 (0.12%)
NASDAQ 1,591.56, -0.15 (0.01%)
S&P 500 869.89, +1.29 (0.15%)
NYSE Composite 5,479.86, +4.58 (0.08%)

The imperfect storm included a lack of corporate reports, scarce economic news and a delay in the highly-anticipated "TARP II" bailout plan for major financial firms.

Lethargic conditions resulted in a severe lack of volume and volatility. Maybe everybody just needed a break from the steady salvo of bad news, inquisition and recrimination. Word is out that the global economy is quitting, the question is over haw bad it will become and whether any government plan can stem the tide of defaults, layoffs and deflation.

On the day, advancing and declining issues were virtually split, with advancers ahead, 3279-3221. New lows continued to outnumber new highs, 115-19. The volume figures, as mentioned, were rather anemic.

NYSE Volume 1,257,726,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,912,234,000

The major tracking commodities deflated as crude oil closed near its session lows at $39.56 per barrel, down 61 cents. Gold fell $21.50, to $892.80, with silver slipping 23 cents, ending at $12.83 the ounce in New York.

There was so little to report on today, even I am at a loss for words.

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