Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dull Summer Session May mark End of Rally

With the passing of the Tuesday session, it appears that the recent rally in stocks has pretty much run its course. More than 75% of the S&P 500 companies having already reported, there are fewer opportunities for quick scores on earnings rises and investors are now looking seriously forward to Friday's initial estimate of 2nd quarter GDP due to be released prior to the opening bell.

Now that the European credit crisis has been put down for at least a nap, the market has been able to focus on earnings for much of the past two weeks, and the results are obvious. All of the major indices have experienced significant bounces since the start of the month, with gains in the range of 7-9% overall.

In particular, the Dow is up a whopping 850 points since its interim bottom on July 2nd (9686.48), though it is still some distance from the most recent high of 11,250 in late April. While the major averages have all found comfort zones above their respective 200-day moving averages, chartists will note that criss-crossing the 50 and 200-day MAs are not uncommon circumstances, especially in periods of economic uncertainty, like the current markets conditions.

Thus, it's unsurprising that many analysts are taking a rather dim view of the currently-stalling rally, seeing it as transitory and temporary. After all, markets became severely oversold by the end of June, and perceptually, stocks were cheap, even if they remain well above traditional norms.

Projections for what the government will report 2nd quarter GDP as are all in the range of 2.3 to 3.5% annualized growth, which would be a slowdown for the second straight quarter, and therefore, not helpful in alleviating stresses over a return to recession. With just about anyone who matters already resolved on slower growth for the remainder of 2010, it's difficult to imagine stocks breaking to new highs any time soon. The rational bet is for the major averages to continue trading in the same ranges that have prevailed since last October, though risk is skewed to the downside quite prominently.

Dow 10,537.69, +12.26 (0.12%)
NASDAQ 2,288.25, -8.18 (0.36%)
S&P 500 1,113.84, -1.17 (0.10%)
NYSE Composite 7,044.99, -1.01 (0.01%)

Declining issues held sway over advancers, 3618-2812, but new highs ramped far ahead of new lows, 401-63. Volume was slim.

NASDAQ Volume 1,940,649,125
NYSE Volume 5,330,884,000

Part of the reason for Tuesday's lackluster performance can be tied to consumer confidence, which fell again in July, to 50.4, from an upwardly revised 54.3 in June. The dour outlook by consumers is keeping a lid on prices and profits.

Commodities seemed to have been struck with liquidity issues on the day. Crude oil for September delivery fell $1.48, to $77.50, but continue to be range-bound, between $70 and $80 per barrel.

Gold was zapped lower by $25.00, to $1,158.00, it's lowest price in three months. In concert, silver dropped 57 cents, to $17.62.

Companies reporting strong earnings included DuPont (DD) and Cummins (CMI), both of which beat earnings and revenue forecasts.

The prolonged slump in residential housing and employment continue to weigh on the minds of consumers and investors alike.

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