Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stocks Continue to Slump on Low Volume

As expected, stocks are trading in dawdling fashion due to a dearth of economic reports and almost no news of note. This kind of slowness should continue for another two weeks at least, through the 4th of July weekend, before second quarter corporate earnings reports begin trickling to the market.

Until that time, there's little to get excited about, presenting a wide window of opportunity for investors to shift positions, take profits or get out of the way. We've seen some of this activity already expressed in the prior 9 or 10 sessions and are looking forward to more of the same. There simply isn't any catalyst working in either direction.

To say that the trading range was tight would be overstatement. The Dow covered a mere 84 points from top to bottom today; the S&P moved less than 10 points up and down through the session.

The NAR reported an uptick in existing home sales, to an annual rate of 4.77 million units in May. While the number was better than April's revised 4.66 million, it wasn't as good as the expectation number of 4.82. Overall, it was a real yawner for the market, signifying less than nothing.

Kroger (KR) reported increased profits on lower sales, citing more people eating at home for the profit uptick and lower prices for gas for the declining sales from the same period a year ago. That kind of data should influence Darden Restaurants (DRI), which reports tomorrow. The owners of Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other popular chains has been beating expectations for the past two quarters, contradicting generally-accepted trends. Tomorrow's report could be telling, one way or the other.

Dow 8,322.91, -16.10 (0.19%)
NASDAQ 1,764.92, -1.27 (0.07%)
S&P 500 895.10, +2.06 (0.23%)
NYSE Composite 5,759.49, +34.42 (0.60%)

Declining issues beat back advancers once more, 3496-2905. For the eighth consecutive session, new lows surpassed new highs, 70-21. Also, the gap between the two was the largest since the index reverted to its 21-month-old form after a brief period (6 sessions) with new highs on top. As the volume and velocity of trading slows to a crawl, sentiment seems to be expanding toward the negative at an accelerating rate. In this period, no news may turn out to be bad news.

NYSE Volume 1,209,363,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,171,108,000

Crude oil for August delivery (first day of the new contract) gained $1.74, to $69.24, while most other commodities posted marginal gains. Gold finished $3.30 higher, at $924.30; silver added 14 cents, to $13.85. While the prices of both gold and silver are quite a bit lower than, say, two weeks ago, they may not present the buying opportunity some see. If deflation continues to persist, all commodities will suffer, even the best-performing ones. Traditionally a hedge against inflation, gold, in particular, could find itself lower by as much as 20% in coming months.

Here's an excellent article on the relationship between the US dollar and stocks and commodities by Simon Maierhofer. The author supports my long-standing contention that deflation will persist as the dominant theme. I predict that prices will be down, the business condition tough, for more than two more years before inflation rears that ugly head again. Once more, the "experts" are completely in the dark as to the nature of price inflation or deflation. Despite the creation of trillions of dollars "out of thin air" now being vaporized in malinvestments, final demand is still slack and will continue to be so until economic conditions are rebalanced, and that's not going to happen for some time.

1 comment:

Phil said...

My money is on investors getting out of the way.