Friday, March 9, 2012

Greece OK for Now; NFP Prints at 233K; Trading Volume Pathetic

Two major news events largely determined the tenor of trade on US markets Friday.

The Greek restructuring plan went as the global banking cartel liked, with non-governmental lenders taking a 53.5% haircut on bad Greek bonds, while the troika's funding facilities remained intact.

Triggering the collective action clauses and a credit "event" according to the ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) in which affected parties will settle up on March 19. With just a little over $3 billion in Credit Default Swaps affected in the deal, the effect is little more than a rounding error in the international scheme of things, or roughly the amount Bank of America writes off in a typical quarter.

Prior to the open, the BLS offered another positive reading on unemployment, with the official rate staying unchanged at 8.3%, as the US economy created 233K jobs during February, strongly aided by a raft of temporary hires and the usual fudging by the Labor Department.

Like it or not, the impression is that the US continues to emerge from the depths of the Great Recession, as the calendar turned three years old on the current bull market in equities.

For the week, the major indices were little changed, and, despite all the hoopla, trading volume continued to be incredibly weak, especially on Friday, one of the lowest-volume days of the year, which has seen nothing but poor volume.

Market participants appear to be smug over the developments in Greece and Europe, which continues to avert crises on a regular basis, even though Greece is now in a depression, their latest quarter GDP showing a 7.5% decline.

But, hey, it's the weekend and college basketball is heading into its wild March Madness phase, so relax and enjoy seems to be the operative mindset, though commodity prices, especially in oil, gold and silver, tell a different story.

Dow 12,922.02, +14.08 (0.11%)
NASDAQ 2,988.34, +17.92 (0.60%)
S&P 500 1,370.87, +4.96 (0.36%)
NYSE Composite 8,102.13, +19.75 (0.24%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,553,531,125
NYSE Volume 3,527,470,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3837-1653
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 278-26
WTI crude oil: 107.38, +0.80
Gold: 1,711.50, +12.80
Silver: 34.21, +0.38

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