Monday, June 20, 2011

Seriously, a Rebound? No Volume, and Slim Gains

It's almost summer, so stocks and the people who trade them aren't going to take much of anything too seriously. It's a good thing that the American culture is as laid-back as it is, because if people watched their money, markets and politicians with reasoned discipline, we'd all be in the soup - or soup lines.

Being that the weather's more suited for surfing than high finance, Wall Street put on its best summery smile today and boosted stocks for no particular reason other than there wasn't any disturbing economic news from Greece, or Washington, or anywhere else for that matter.

It's these kinds of days that Wall Street could use a steady diet of to produce what will be called a "summer rally" despite the Fed cutting off funds via the end of QE2, and Greece more likely than not to default. Whatever Greece decides to do about their fiscal and monetary condition, it will have far-reaching effects, mostly on European banks, but surely some spill-over will do damage on American shores. Everyone's in for a piece of the action, and haircuts for the bond-holders seems to be the likely outcome, though the EU and IMF ministers would much rather lay it all on the backs of the Greek people, through austerity, budget cuts and a wrecked economy.

However, since nobody took any decisive action today, it was safe to make a few bets in the cavernous casino that is Wall Street. Besides, after six losing weeks, the markets were set up for a technical bounce, in other words, more suckers got taken today.

Dow 12,080.38, +76.02 (0.63%)
NASDAQ 2,629.66, +13.18 (0.50%)
S&P 500 1,278.36, +6.86 (0.54%)
NYSE Composite 8,032.22, +32.11 (0.40%)

While the gains weren't much to speak of, neither was the breadth. Winners beat losers, 3991-2443, roughly a 5:3 margin. NASDAQ showed that there was still a good deal of selling going on as only 29 stocks made new highs, but 104 hit new lows. ON the NYSE, 32 new highs and 53 new lows, so the combined total was another winner for the new lows, the 12th straight of that variety, with 61 new highs and 157 new lows.

Since volume was non-existent, one would be correct in believing that the correction was just taking a breather. Nothing goes in straight lines, so count this as one of the few good days in a continuum of downers.

NASDAQ Volume 1,612,915,750
NYSE Volume 3,371,598,000

Crude oil continues to demonstrate weakness, up only 25 cents on the day, to $93.26. Some of the crude decline is beginning to show up at the pump. AAA reports the national average at $3.65 for a gallon of unleaded regular, with the lowest to be found in Tennessee, at $3.45/gallon.

Gold gained $1.40, to $1541.40, while silver was up 14 cents, to $36.04.

All in all, it was a dull session, which is probably the way it should be. Wild swings are for gamblers and home run hitters. A dose of slowness - like the way markets were back in the 50s and 60s - might not be such a bad thing.

Ah, summer. Ya gotta love it. Almost makes one fell like taking the car out for a spin. Well, maybe.

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