Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dow Pops 10,000

I am actually exhausted from playing today's breakout rally. I've been up since 4:00 am, so great was my anticipation of the day the Dow finally popped 10,000. Here's what you need to know:

The last time the Dow crossed and closed above 10000 was on December 11, 2003. By January 26, 2004, it had topped out at 10,702, finally peaking in October, 2007 above 14,000.

Prior to that, the Dow's first cross of 10,000 was March 26 of 1999, during the heat of the dot-com boom. After testing the level for 5 trading days, the index finally climbed above the mark on April 7. On January 16, 2000, it peaked at 11722.98.

The people telling you that Dow 10,000 is insignificant and that it has crossed over that point 26 times are misleading you, whether on purpose or through partial ignorance. Every time the Dow has pierced the 10,000 mark to the upside in the midst of a rally, it has continued higher, significantly.

Today's move was interesting in that it came with options expiration just 2 days away. This kept a lid on stocks through most of the session, frustrating all but the most savvy investors, who knew that option positions were being flipped with every uptick short of 10,000. By 3:00, the lid came off as players sat back, counted their profits and held overnight. Some of the biggest options payoffs come on the final days of trading, though recently, Wednesdays have been the most active. Nobody wants to be caught in an upside down position with no way out, so holding until the final expiration is only for the best or the worst options traders.

Noting that, Thursday and Friday may be a little light, but Monday, when new positions are being staked out, should be explosive. There are more earnings due out over the course of the next three weeks, with the next two the busiest. Knowing which stocks to play will be essential to profits.

Dow 10,015.86, +144.80 (1.47%)
NASDAQ 2,172.23, +32.34 (1.51%)
S&P 500 1,092.02, +18.83 (1.75%)
NYSE Composite 7,182.38, +150.51 (2.14%)

Today really was all about the Dow Jones Industrials, but only 25 of the 30 stocks were gainers. Home Depot (HD), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ) and Wal-Mart (WMT) were the only losers and their losses were light. There will always be laggards, but as long as there are leaders, the Dow Index is still relevant.

On the day, simple indicators expressed exactly what kind of session it was: BULLISH! Advancers clobbered declining issues, 4887-1640 (3-1). New highs were all over the place, 921 of them, the most in over two years. There were 94 new lows. Volume was average, which means that those still out of the market have not yet found the courage to get in the game. They have missed the most significant rally of a generation, but the best part is that they don't know it's not over yet. There are still plenty of success stories to be told in this rally. When the outside money comes in, it will just add fuel to the already overheated fire and probably cause a correction as profits are taken with enthusiasm. Market tops always occur when the late money or stupid money gets involved and this is no different.

NYSE Volume 6,248,702,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,383,078,250

Talk has been rampant about predictions for the end of the year. Dow 10,700 and 11,150 and S&P 1200 have been popular numbers thrown out by experienced, professional traders. Those sound like reasonable targets. All of the major indices made new 2009 and multi-month highs.

Commodities took a back seat to stocks. Oil gained $1.03, to $75.18. Gold fell 30 cents, to $1,064.70. Silver was up 7 cents, to $17.91. They were a side show, but still tradable on pullbacks.

The rally was led by a troika of grand news. Intel posted exceptional 3rd quarter numbers and even better guidance. JP Morgan Chase blew the lid off, beat the 52 cents the street was expecting by 30 cents. 82 cents per share! Then, at 8:30 am, retail sales showed improvement when the cash for clunkers was stripped out. Finally, consumer demand has emerged. Just n time for Christmas.

There are more companies reporting tomorrow, notable Goldman Sachs (GS) and Google (GOOG). They are both expected to have blockbuster results.

The importance of Dow 10,000 cannot be underestimated. everyone who works on Wall Street feels better tonight than they did this morning. All investors who are in the market are probably a little more at ease. We, after all are human, and the number is an emotional one. It just plain makes us feel good about the economy. Everyone on the planet can relate to the big, round number, especially following the events of the past year.

There are more gains ahead.

Happy trading!

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