Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Wall Street Snoozer

Wall Street pretty much mailed this one in today, as there was no significant follow-up to yesterday's machine-driven rally. No surprise there, as all positions are squared up by the computers, with no place to go forward without positive economic news.

Stocks started lower and ended higher, with marginal gains, completely ignoring the three economic reports, which, in a less-controlled, more robust environment would have sent the Dow reeling to a 200-point decline, though in today's completely schizophrenic environment, data doesn't matter, especially if it's not good.

The Case-Shiller Home Index fell another 4.52% on a year-on-year basis, but marked the third straight month of increasing prices, with a 1.1% increase from May to June. The Index, which is cited by most economists but is greatly flawed and dated, does not factor into account many foreclosure and short sales.

Pending home sales fell by 1.3% in June, another lagging indicator, and the expectation is for further declines in July and August, which will be reported near the end of September and October, just in time to inform everybody of what they;ll already know by then, that the US economy is in serious decline. In the meantime, wall Street uses the flawed, late data to bolster its own "recovery" theme and keep stock prices high.

Something from which nobody can hide, however, was the government's own reading on consumer confidence which dove to 44.5, from 59.2 in July, its lowest level since April, 2009, which was pretty much at the end of the financial collapse of 2008.

Consumers aren't happy, but Wall Street continues to plug along, pushing the same corporations that laid off millions and haven't hired many back.

Dow 11,559.95, +20.70 (0.18%)
NASDAQ 2,576.11, +14.00 (0.55%)
S&P 500 1,212.92, +2.84 (0.23%)
NYSE Composite 7,464.00, +13.70 (0.18%)

Advancing issues beat losing ones, 3896-2581. There were 26 new highs on the NASDAQ, with 22 new lows. On the NYSE, new highs topped new lows, 41-4, putting the combined total at a moderately positive, 67-26, in favor of new highs. Volume was light.

NASDAQ Volume 1,846,172,625
NYSE Volume 4,543,808,500

Without any reason other than there's a big driving weekend coming up with Labor Day, oil galloped ahead $1.63, to $88.90 at the close. Gas prices have been reported as rising by about a nickel nationally, this, of course, prior to them coming down much at all when oil futures were hovering just above $80/barrel.

Countering the excesses of the oil cartel, gold gained $46.50, to $1835.00, erasing much of the losses from the previous six sessions and more or less thumbing its nose at the backers of debt-backed money. Silver managed to gain 43 cents, to $41.31 the ounce.

Advice for today: Buy a good, used bike. Many available, good exercise and the cost of fuel is zero.

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