Friday, January 22, 2010

Dude, Where's My Money?

Stock investors suddenly found themselves in head-scratching mode once again, as the stock market finished up with a fickle Friday, sending the Dow down another 216 points, with other major indices in line with those losses. It was the worst overall week since the first week of March 2009, when the stock market was bottoming out.

So, is this the beginning of the "double-dip" that skeptics of the recovery have been warning about since June?

Count on it, and here's why: First, stocks had risen by an unprecedented amount - more then 50% in the major indices - over the past nine months, making stocks pricey, even in the best of times. Second, the government's threats to stamp further regulations on the banks has spread fear far and wide. Third, the re-confirmation of Ben Bernanke as Fed Chairman is less than two weeks away and there's growing concern that he will not have the votes due almost entirely to politics. Fourth, Unemployment is still extremely high and government stimulus hasn't done a thing to create new jobs, nor have the publicly-traded corporations.

There are a multitude of reasons to sell stocks, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the big money has already jumped the shark. And, by the way, I'm betting that bottom dollar, down there in your pocket, is looking pretty good right about now.

Dow 10,172.98, -216.90 (2.09%)
NASDAQ 2,205.29, -60.41 (2.67%)
S&P 500 1,091.76, -24.72 (2.21%)
NYSE Composite 7,030.61, -143.85 (2.01%)

Declining issues led advancers, 5116-1480. There were 160 new highs, the lowest number in months, and 67 new lows. Volume was strong for the second straight day, a sure sign that money in stocks is running scared. A bear is loose and is not likely to be sated until stocks drop another 8-10%, short term.

NYSE Volume 7,244,262,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,838,065,000

Commodities were also not spared. Oil was down again, for the fifth straight day, losing $1.54, to $74.54. Gold fell $11.80, to $1,092.00. Silver, which earlier this week was approaching 15-month highs, was down another 58 cents, to $16.94, a drop of more than 10% from the earlier-in-the-week highs.

If you were holding cash, cash and only cash, you had a banner week in relation to everyone else. If you were putting that cash to work in your own business, you're now taking victory laps. Money in your pocket can turn into more money in your pocket through smart purchases, small investments in your own business and strategic use.

Keep it up.

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