Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stocks Higher on FedEx Miss. Yes, That Is Correct

In the current environment, market participants will rationalize anything bad into something good.

A case in point was the big miss of expectations by FedEx (FDX) on their fiscal second quarter results. Consensus estimates of 1.31 per share was greeted this morning - prior to the opening bell - with an announcement of 1.16 per share. The company also narrowly missed on revenue, but that was not the issue.

Normally, a miss like this (-12%) would send a stock price reeling, but in today's POMO-led, funny-money, can't-go-down-before-options-expire pirate market, FedEx actually opened lower, hitting what were to be the absolute lows of the day within minutes, but then exploded to the upside. Within fifteen of the opening bell, FedEx was trading up by more than 1.5 points and finished the day with a gain of 1.83.

Now, the rationalization is that the miss was caused by onerous things like employee compensation, and the company restated full-year projections much higher to offset the blow, but, the fact that everybody trading in the stock was pleased is without doubt part of a rigged system that cannot be trusted. Logic has been thrown out the window repeatedly, yet keeps finding its way back in, only to be tossed away again and again. This one is egregious to the extreme.

So, stocks shrugged off the bad news and went with their gut, incidentally tied to cashing out huge on options expiration tomorrow and then calling it quits for the year - all conveniently planned in advance.

Dow 11,499.25, +41.78 (0.36%)
NASDAQ 2,637.31, +20.09 (0.77%)
S&P 500 1,242.87, +7.64 (0.62%)
NYSE Composite 7,840.24, +41.46 (0.53%)

Advancing issues reversed the prior two days of embarrassment, drubbing decliners, 4406-2105. NASDAQ New Highs: 172; Lows: 24; NYSE New Highs: 118; Lows: 25. This puts two days of Hindenberg Omen calculus (appearance and confirmation) to rest for now, though the next 40 days remain in focus. Volume was sloppily low again, as usual, even more so, considering the closeness to options expiration (tomorrow).

NASDAQ Volume 1,750,373,125
NYSE Volume 4,863,573,500

Commodities oddly took it on the chin, with oil continuing a slow death march, down another 92 cents, to $87.70, though still well above average for 2010. However, since it is the holidays and people aren't driving all over the place to buy gifts they don't need for people they don't like, the oil barons have to make money somehow, don't they? So, they've done what every hard-knuckled oil baron would do in distressing times, bump the price up a notch or two. Watch how it comes down in January, like clockwork.

Precious metals were hammered down mercilessly for the better part of the day, but recovered as the stock market headed for the close (no coincidence there). Gold is currently down $9.90, at $1369.50, and silver was beaten until just after noon, now trading at $28.88, a gain of 8 cents.

Friday is a quadruple witching day, though the focus will be on stocks, buttressing the bonuses of wall Street's elite traders. After that, anybody's guess, but the market sure looks rich now, since it looked rich three months, six months and nine months ago as well.

One after-hours note: The Federal Reserve, as part of the Dodd-Frank legislation, proposed slashing interbank fees (fees charged to retailers on debit card transactions) from the current average of 44 cents (they charge 1.2 - 1/5% currently) to a structure which caps fees at 12 cents per transaction. The proposal is embraced by consumers and retailers, though Visa and Mastercard shares were smacked down on the news. What a shame!

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