Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oil Surpasses $91/Barrel; Otherwise, a Whole Lotta Nothing

The major story today was in commodities, since equities were witness to the slowest trading day of the year. Oil spiked above $91/barrel as gold and silver slid, though not by much. A slew of mostly inconclusive economic data failed to move markets as traders peeled away for an early start to the holidays. US equity markets are closed on December 24.

Dow 11,573.49, +14.00 (0.12%)
NASDAQ 2,665.60, -5.88 (0.22%)
S&P 500 1,256.77, -2.07 (0.16%)
NYSE Composite 7,925.36, -6.40 (0.08%)

Decliners beat gainers, 3464-2990. The NASDAQ saw 127 new highs and 14 new lows. There were 146 new highs on the NYSE, to just 11 new lows.

NASDAQ Volume 1,272,585,375.00
NYSE Volume 2,831,742,000

February crude oil futures on the NYMEX spiked $1.03, to $91.51, just in time to raise gas prices on one of the busiest travel weekends of the winter. Gold fell $6.90, to $1,380.50, while silver shed 6 cents, to $29.33. If anything, the precious metals are screaming "buy, buy, buy" at the tops of their lungs. Gold, silver, platinum and palladium have stalled out at elevated levels and are consolidating.

In addition to oil over $90/barrel a death stroke for any kind of economic recovery, the precious metals once more appear to be in a very sweet spot, within percentage points of recent highs, and in the case of gold, an all-time high. They could explode to the upside without any advance notice from their current plateaus. If oil remains persistently above $90 per barrel, watch the PMs advance quickly.

That's all there is. Stocks are a fool's game and fools and their money are soon parted, as the old saw suggests. Gold, silver, arable land, collectibles and rarities and tools of trades are the only safe investments (yes, and canned foods).

Merry Christmas!

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