Friday, June 25, 2010

Stocks Flat to End Rough Week; BP Crushed

US stocks could not rebound well from a week of fairly persistent selling pressure, finishing with a mixed session on Friday. Only the Dow closed lower on the day, but the other major indices were barely changed.

For the week, the Dow Jones Industrials lost 301 points, or about 3%. The NASDAQ shed 86 points and the S&P 500 was the worst hit, giving back 40 points, close to a 4% decline.

Persistent worries about the heath of the general economy, credit conditions and the overall global economy pushed all three indices, plus the NYSE Composite, back under their respective 200-day moving averages.

Dow 10,143.81, -8.99 (0.09%)
NASDAQ 2,223.48, +6.06 (0.27%)
S&P 500 1,076.76, +3.07 (0.29%)
NYSE Composite 6,763.93, +33.69 (0.50%)

Like stocks, internals were also mixed. Winners beat losers by a tally of 4593-1870, but new lows maintained their edge over new highs, 170-119. Volume was extraordinarily high, due to annual rebalancing of the Russell 2000.

NYSE Volume 7,031,487,500
NASDAQ Volume 3,283,513,000

Continuing to feel pressure, British Petroleum (BP) lost more value, closing at 27.02, a price not seen in the stock since 1993. Claims continue to mount, and there are concerns that the company will be forced to pay dearly for financing going forward, with credit default swaps inverted - costs to insure BPs financing for one year now costs more than insuring five years' debt on an annualized basis.

Commodities were worthwhile investments once more, with oil leading the way, thanks to fears of a tropical storm reaching the Gulf of Mexico within the next three to five days. Crude for August delivery rose $2.35, to $78.86.

Gold continued its ascent, gaining $10.30, to $1,255.80. Silver added 37 cents, to close the week at $19.10.

Stocks remained under pressure as the government third and final estimate of GDP growth came in lower than expected, at 2.7% (down from 3.0%), fueling renewed fears of either weak economic conditions going forward or the threat of a double dip, back into recession in 2011.

With the July 4th holiday beginning at the end of next week, traders will be focused on Friday's June non-farm payroll report, which is expected to show gains of 100,000 jobs, though just where those jobs might have been created remains a mystery. It's more likely that job growth will remain anemic through the summer and that stock market losses will accelerate.

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