Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stocks Finally Post Gains After 7-8 Days of Losses

Sooner or later there was going to be some kind of rally and today was it, even though it wasn't anything to write home about.

After the Dow had been down for eight straight sessions and the S&P down seven in a row, the early morning trade looked to be more of the same with the major indices dropping to session lows around 10:45 am EDT. The Dow was down more than 160 points, officially touching down at 11,700, when the turnaround began. The S&P was sporting losses of nearly 20 points before heading higher and closing at the highs of the day.

It's not as though anything had changed at all. Italy is on the brink of default, following in the footsteps of neighboring EU nations, Ireland, Portugal and Greece. European-based banks are supposedly frozen with terror having exceeded all prudent boundaries for lending to highly-indebted nations.

And, here in the US, no change will come to the current jobs or housing situation as the congress has already embarked on a month-long vacation, after, of course, taking a few victory laps for their last-minute daring-do on raising the debt ceiling and putting forth a measure that cuts somewhere between $20 and $25 billion from the budget in 2012, less than 1/10th of one per cent of the entire budget, or, quite literally, a drop in the budget bucket.

The only thing moving stocks today - besides the obvious influence of the PPT - was the extremely oversold condition of the markets. The Dow is down 828 points since just July 21, exactly 10 trading sessions. There's a very realistic chance that this was only a knee-jerk reaction rally, based entirely upon the notion that stocks are cheap relative to where they were trading two weeks ago.

Dow 11,896.44, -29.82 (0.25%)
NASDAQ 2,693.07, -23.83 (0.89%)
S&P 500 1,260.34, -6.29 (0.50%)
NYSE Composite 7,853.20, -21.22 (0.27%)

Advancing issues finally took the edge over losers, 3737-2897. The NASDAQ posted 28 new highs, against 204 new lows, while the NYSE had just 14 new highs and 275 new lows, blowing the combined total up to 42 new highs and 479 new lows. This high gap indicates that stocks are on the verge of a severe, long-term breakdown, despite today's small gains. Volume was strong, but the buying seemed to be out of desperation and directed at short-term profit rather than long-term investment.

NASDAQ Volume 2,637,190,000
NYSE Volume 6,487,507,000

Two pieces of jobs-related data showed that the jobs market is still in quite the dodgy condition. The firm of Challenger, Gray and Christmas released their monthly survey of planned layoffs, which showed employers announcing 66,414 planned job cuts in July, up 60.3 percent from 41,432 in June. Meanwhile, the ADP monthly private payroll survey surged to 114,000 added jobs in July, a positive sign for Friday's non-farm payroll numbers from the BLS.

Commodities continued along their bifurcated path, with oil down $1.86, to $91.93, while gold surged to another record at $1,666.30, up a whopping $21.80 on the day. Silver rose $1.67, a gain of more than 4%, to $41.76, the highest close since May.

All of this sets up for an exciting end to the week. Thursday's initial unemployment claims will show the way on Thursday, while the non-farm payroll report - expected to show a gain of 100,000 jobs for July - should set the tone on Friday.

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