Friday, January 29, 2010

Despite Solid GDP, Stocks Slide Again

As goes January, so goes the year...

If that old adage - the basis for the January Barometer, correct 90% of the time - rings true in 2010, we're in for a very tough year in the stock market, so, like I've been repeating over and over, CASH will be king, CASH is king, and CASH almost always has been and will be king. Even the perceived safety of commodities is no safe haven. We've seen them behave in volatile manners, and, for the past two weeks, steadily decline in price. Gold, silver, oil, all returned lower this week.

As for stocks, nothing, it seems, can break them out of their current funk, not even the robust 4th quarter 2009 GDP numbers released this morning. The advance reading came in at +5.7%, about in the middle of expectations, but, transposed against the horrible figures of 2008, it really didn't help investors' confidence very much. Following a spirited morning rally, stocks soon went back to their favorite posture of late, and sold off into the close.

The Dow dropped another 100 points for the week, with the other averages following suit. For the month, stocks were losers. Though they began with steady gains, economic realities and price pressure took over in the final two weeks of the month.

Dow 10,079.80, -40.66 (0.40%)
NASDAQ 2,149.15, -29.85 (1.37%)
S&P 500 1,075.16, -9.37 (0.86%)
NYSE Composite 6,890.53, -66.46 (0.96%)

Declining issues overwhelmed advancers once again, 4465-2021, with new highs and new lows continuing to converge. The highs held sway, but barely, 120-80. The market, and the high-low indicator, continue to appear ready to roll over. Volume was moderate.

NYSE Volume 5,431,270,500
NASDAQ Volume 2,685,607,500

Deflating prices continue to show up in the commodity markets. Oil finally sold off substantially, down $1.00, to $72.89, it's lowest price in over a month. Last year at this time, oil was trading for less than $60, and, considering the economic climate pervading the globe, there's no good reason other than naked speculation for crude to be at these elevated levels.

Gold drifted down $1.60, to $1,083.20, though silver finally managed a gain of 6 cents, to finish the week at $16.27. Less than two weeks ago, silver appeared headed for $19.00. Some people surely were burned badly by over-estimating the appeal of both gold and silver.

US dollars continued their 6-week rebound, strengthening against a basket of currencies, but mostly solid against the Yen, Pound and Euro. Cash, cash, cash. You've either got it or you don't.

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