After a week of ups and downs, it's probably appropriate the Friday ended with a bifurcated market: the Dow and NYSE down and the S&P and NASDAQ up.
It makes little sense to the casual observer, though the condition becomes more understandable if one is an insider, playing long and short, hedging positions, trading momentum and running super-fast computers in the 2011 version of "timing the market."
For the rest of us, forget it. Stocks have become nearly impossible to trade with any success unless one is truly gifted or just dumb lucky.
The White House and congress still haven't decided what to do about raising the debt ceiling. The Republicans' ploy of passing their ridiculous Cut, Cap and Balance bill in the House is a desperate and dangerous maneuver, costing more time as the ratings agencies and the rest of the civilized planet look on with alternate views of shock, horror and amusement. The continued stalemate virtually assures that the United States will receive a number of ratings downgrades no matter what happens from here on out.
By comparison, Europe appears far worse, though they have more than enough gall and arrogance to keep the media and the ratings agencies in check for the time being. With all of the Mediterranean nations in some sort of trouble or already having been bailed out, the European Union seems to be held together by duct tape and crewing gum.
There was nearly nothing worth reporting about this week, as the Ponzi schemers made it through another week without anybody receiving a subpoena or getting caught cheating. Score another one for the rich guys.
Dow 12,681.16, -43.25 (0.34%)
NASDAQ 2,858.83, +24.40 (0.86%)
S&P 500 1,345.02, +1.22 (0.09%)
NYSE Composite 8,408.20, -3.25 (0.04%)
Advancing issues narrowly beat decliners, 3293-3194. The NASDAQ showed 79 new highs and 23 new lows, while the NYSE registered 102 new highs and 24 new lows. The combined total of 181 new highs and 47 new lows is about par for the course in an upward-sloping market. Volume, however, dipped back into apathetic mid-summer malaise.
NASDAQ Volume 1,674,379,250
NYSE Volume 3,538,032,250
The commodity markets gave both good and bad news. Oil was up another 74 cents, to $99.87, which is bad news for everybody except oil company executives and Arab sheiks. The precious metals bore most of the good news, with gold up $14.50, to $1,601.50, and silver higher by $1.17, to $40.12. Silver appears ready to head into orbit, now that the new Hong Kong silver futures vehicle is offering some variation in pricing.
As the US economy becomes more and more bad theater, expect gold and silver to grind higher, with most of the explosive moves in silver, which is still underpriced at a 40-1 gold-silver ratio. The long-term trend is 16-1.
Today, House Republican "leader" John Boehner walked out of debt ceiling negotiations with the president, saying the two sides, "couldn't connect." No kidding, John, when you won't even allow for closing tax loopholes on millionaires and billionaires when we're suffering the worst depression of all time.
Boehner, and the rest of the "Tea Party" Nancies ought to be ashamed of what they're doing to the country. When the collapse comes, they should be handed the great bulk of the blame. President Obama has tried to deal with them, but it has become a losing battle.
God save us.