Thursday, July 1, 2010

ISM Data, Home Sales Rattle Markets: Deflation Clearly Evident

The relentless slide in the markets continued on Thursday as the series of data releases evidencing poor economic performance across the entire global swath of markets added even more dour numbers.

Prior to the opening bell, the government-affiliated PMI for China fell to 52.1 in June from 53.9 in May and 55.7 in April, and the HSBC China Manufacturing PMI fell to 50.4 in June from 52.7 in May. HSBC reports their figure the lowest in a year, even though readings over 50 do indicate expansion.

First time unemployment claims came in at 472,000, a rise above the prior week's revised reading of 459,000 new claimants.

Once markets were open for trading, matters turned even worse when the US ISM Index dropped to 52.6 in June from 59.7 in May and pending home sales registered a 30% decline month-over-month.

Revealing in the ISM data was the 20.5% decline in prices. Overall, production slipped 5.2% and new orders were off 7.2%.

Much of the decline in housing starts was credited to the end of the government's tax credit on home purchases in April, but the 30% decline was more than twice what was expected, sending the index to an all-time low of 77.6 from a reading of 110.9 in April. The index is also is 15.9% below the May 2009 figure.

Stocks plunged when that disastrous duo came off the news wires, with the Dow quickly plummeting to its intra-day low of 9,621.89, with other indices following the path lower.

Markets tore through all levels of support, but regained composure midday and closed with relatively minor losses.

But serious technical damage had been done this day, as in days past. Concern over the shaky health of the US economy continued to dog investors at every turn and tomorrow's release of non-farms payroll from June hasn't offered much hope, though many are wondering whether or not the market is seriously oversold and the impact of the employment data already factored into prices.

More than likely, that is not the case, but rather the market was guided by insiders on the short side of many trades, covering today and re-instituting positions in anticipation of a tepid report before the beginning of Friday's trade. while that may seem cynical to some, it's how the market has been running for some time. It's a big boy's game and small investors do not stand a chance.

Unless, by some miracle of accounting, the government shows 50,000 or more private sector jobs created over the month just past, the markets are on course for one of their worst weeks in quite some time.

Dow 9,732.53, -41.49 (0.42%)
NASDAQ 2,101.36, -7.88 (0.37%)
S&P 500 1,027.37, -3.34 (0.32%)
NYSE Composite 6,462.03, -7.62 (0.12%)

Giving more credence to the bearish camp, decliners outstripped advancers by an unhealthy margin, 4052-2496, and new lows ramped past new highs, 439-101, the third straight day in which the lows have buried the highs and the largest margin of the three. Volume was also very heavy, the best showing of the week.

NASDAQ Volume 2,678,066,750
NYSE Volume 7,533,900,500

Today's sudden decline caused liquidation and winding down of many trades, particularly in the highly-hedged commodity arena. Oil saw its worst price decline in at least three months, losing $2.68, to $72.95. Gold was completely devastated, dropping $39.00, to $1,206.30 and even further - below $1200 - after the NY close. Silver also disappointed, dropping 91 cents (4.88%), to $17.76. Prices for the precious metals fell to levels not seen in over a month.

Continued weakness in global markets continue to stir fears of widening deflationary trends, particularly worrisome to those who carry heavy debt burdens, such as almost all government entities, hedge funds, banks and other financial institutions.

Global deflation, begun in earnest in August 2007, continues to gain momentum and shake existing financial infrastruture.

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