Monday, October 12, 2009

Dow, S-P, NYSE All Hit New 2009 Highs

On the day Americans celebrate the man who discovered our continent - Christopher Columbus - investors were discovering new 2009 highs on three of the four major indices. The Dow Jones Industrials, S&P 500 and NYSE Composite all closed at highs of the year, with the Dow eclipsing an intra-day high with the new mark now 9931.82, just 69 points shy of the enormously psychological 10,000 mark.

Stocks were up sharply in the opening hour, but weakened into the afternoon, and sold off sharply between 2:00 and 2:30 pm, sending the Dow and NASDAQ into negative territory. The Dow recovered to close modestly positive, but the NASDAQ, surprisingly weak on the session, finished fractionally lower. It was the only major index to close in the red. The sudden drop on the indices, though very sharp, was probably due to options expiration this week, as a major trader likely closed a large number of positions. The general market didn't seem to make much of it, as all of the indices recovered nicely with strong buying into the close.

Interestingly, the Dow Jones Transports sported solid gains on the day. The transports have been something of a laggard in recent sessions, but showed remarkable strength into the close, led by Ryder Systems (R) nearly 10% one-day move.

The act that the Transportation Index also closed at a new 2009 high is a bullish signal, inferring that rail and truck transport - the things that move goods across the nation and to the ports - are showing signs of recovery. Those issues are at the bottom of the economy, with shipping of energy - coal, natural gas, oil - and goods of all manner on the rise.

Dow 9,885.80, +20.86 (0.21%)
NASDAQ 2,139.14, -0.14 (0.01%)
S&P 500 1,076.18, +4.69 (0.44%)
NYSE Composite 7,051.16, +35.62 (0.51%)

Market internals were positive, in line with the headline numbers. Advancing issues beat decliners, 3386-3002, though there were quite a few more losers than gainers on the NASDAQ. There were 731 new highs to 67 new lows, a bullish sign. The new high-new low indicator has been the most reliable metric for market movement, though there is some fear that stocks may be getting to an overbought condition as earnings begin rolling out. Companies will have to show top-line growth this quarter in order to keep pace with their high valuations.

Volume was low due to the observance of Columbus Day.

NYSE Volume 4,169,401,250
NASDAQ Volume 1,758,818,250

Commodities were a big story on the day. Oil sipped past the $73.00 mark, gaining $1.50, to close at $73.27. Gold caught a bid higher, by $8.90, to finish at $1,057.50. Silver also gained 13 cents, to $17.82. The resumption of the rally in the precious metals seems to have been re-ignited by oil's gains.

The only notable earnings-related news was from Black & Decker, which pre-announced better-than-expected results. Market direction for Tuesday may be guided by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which is supposed to released 3rd quarter earnings prior to the bell. There will be some anticipation concerning Intel (INTC), which reports after the close.

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