Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Non-stop Rally Continues As Financials Lead

Editor's Note: Apologies for the brevity and lateness of today's missive. Technical issues required a call to the hated internet service provider, Time Warner, whose tech specialists could not solve the problem, though after an hour on the phone with said tech specialists, intrepid publisher, Fearless Rick, solved the problems all by himself, proving there's something to be said for resourcefulness and self-sufficiency.

Either there's something in the drinking water at the lower end of Manhattan or, from what the stock markets are telling us, there's no reason not to be fully invested in US stocks, as they continue to rise virtually every day since the last weeks of December.

Putting aside the issues of Greece and the rest of Europe, the fact that most of the largest US banks were insolvent just a few years ago and probably still are today, the huge number of unemployed persons in the US, the 84% disapproval rating of the US congress and various other issues, US stocks apparently look like the buys of the century to the people buying them.

Consider that beginning with December 19, 2011, the Dow Jones Industrials, in the span of 19 trading sessions, has risen an incredible 812 points, or, an average of nearly 43 points per session. In the same period, the S&P has added 102 points while the NASDAQ popped for 246 points, a gain of about 9%, which would be a great return for an ordinary year, but an absolutely insane rise in the span of just one month.

What strikes one as odd is that these outsize gains began on the Monday following options expiration in December, just as we approach January options expiration. While it might be simply serendipitous, the flow of money into options has been outstanding over the past few months, and that fact alone might help explain at least a portion of the insane gains of the past four weeks.

It could also be that Wall Street traders aren't overly concerned about the issues outlined above, or are at least somewhat oblivious to them. Then again, most of ordinary Americans hold stocks in mutual funds or retirement plans, so, to them, the stock market is more spectator sport than participant-guided.

Could it be that fears of the imminent demise of the Euro are overblown, or is Wall Street purposely blowing smoke up the collective behinds of the American public?

Whatever the case, some small fortunes - and perhaps a couple of big ones - have been made in just the past month. Carry on, because the next thing you'll know is that the unemployment rate will drop like a rock off a bridge, Iran will suddenly give up on its plans to develop a nuclear arsenal and unicorns will spit gold nuggets.

Dow 12,578.95, +96.88 (0.78%)
NASDAQ 2,769.71, +41.63 (1.53%)
S&P 500 1,308.04, +14.37 (1.11%)
NYSE Composite 7,766.95, +96.48 (1.26%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,035,416,625
NYSE Volume 4,096,162,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4400-1251
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 207-31
WTI crude oil: 100.59, -0.12
Gold: 1,659.90, +4.30
Silver: 30.54, +0.41

No comments: