Monday, July 25, 2011

No Debt Ceiling Deal for Now; Markets Jittery

Just in case anyone was keeping score, the United States of America - the world's largest creditor, by far - will begin defaulting on its debts on August 2, 2011. That is a date just eight days away and Wall Street seems to not be enjoying the drama one bit.

It's odd, considering how many of the professional politicians in DC have been hired, bought and paid for by the elite banking and corporate interests of Wall Street. Have the patsy politicians found a new sugar daddy? Are they just "acting out?" No matter the case, there's no deal on raising the debt ceiling, though there are competing scenarios and bills floating around the nation's capitol.

Other than the usual market noise about earnings reports, there was little else to report from the global financial capitol, except that they were all waiting on some clarity from Washington.

Thus, a day which started badly and in the middle was looking good, ended badly, as stocks fell in the final hour of trading. So long as the clown show in Washington continues, putting the finances of the entire world in a cross between jeopardy and limbo, expect more of these kinds of days in stocks. Wash, rinse, repeat until the weekend.

Dow 12,592.80, -88.36 (0.70%)
NASDAQ 2,842.80, -16.03 (0.56%)
S&P 500 1,337.43, -7.59 (0.56%)
NYSE Composite 8,357.57, -50.63 (0.60%)

Losers dominated winners, with 1474 stocks up ad 5133 down. On the NASDAQ, there were 41 new highs and 26 new lows. Over at the NYSE, a similar scenario, with 58 new highs and 38 new lows. The combined total of 99 new highs and 64 new lows suggests a very soft market, struggling to justify value. Volume was at an even slower pace than normal, which is uncomfortable, to say the least, and downright discouraging, in a real sense.

NASDAQ Volume 1,585,768,125
NYSE Volume 3,560,761,250

With the dollar up strongly against the Euro, oil took a bit of a breather, losing 67 cents to finish the day at $99.20. With all of the uncertainty in global finance, gold investors are stocking up, sending the yellow metal to a record close of $1,612.20, up $11.20 on the day. Silver did not fare quite as well, but still managed a healthy gain of 24 cents, at $40.36 per ounce.

Thirty-two NFL player reps ratified a new labor agreement which will be presented to players for final approval, ending the 132-day lockout and settling one of the more thorny issues of the summer. Now, if congress could only act like responsible adults and do what the NFL and its owners and players have done...

UPDATE: After the closing bell, Netflix (NFLX) beat earnings estimates but came up short on total revenues, sending the stock down more than 8% in after-hours trading.

A new nominee has emerged for Analyst Moron of the Month as Randall Dishmon, portfolio manager for the Oppenheimer Global Value fund, explains why its time to get bullish on Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC).

Dishmon, who desperately needs a new barber, says BofA is "wildly misunderstood" and that Citigroup is "one of the best, if not the best internatonal banking franchise ever assembled."

Among other Dishmon recommendations are Google (GOOG) - now that it's gone up 140 points in the past month - and Diagio (DEO), on the assumption that China and India want to imbibe regularly on their premium liquor brands. Diagio has nearly doubled in the past 18 months.

Maybe, just maybe, Dishmon should lay off the Diaigio booze and stick to plain old hookers and coke.

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