Thursday, March 1, 2012

Metals, Stocks Rebound; Oil Continues Relentless Rise

After a one-day hiatus from the usual upward trend, stocks, and especially gold and silver rebounded in the midst of the liquidity-fueled rally, though the move in the metals - especially silver - was stronger than the one in equities.

Keeping the lid on stocks somewhat throughout the session were lingering fears of an oil price shock, as WTI crude rose again, mostly on nothing but idle speculation over the situation in Iran, which is largely unfounded and without credibility as the closure of the Strait of Hormuz by the Iranians would be tantamount to economic suicide since they also use the strait to ship their oil produce.

Nonetheless, oil was up almost $2.00 on floor trading and wholesale gas prices rose by another nine cents, a cost which will almost all be passed along to the (un)happy motorists.

The national average for unleaded regular stood at $3.78/gallon according to AAA, with the highest price on the mainland being found in California ($4.33) and the lowest in Wyoming, at $3.17. The states of Oregon, Washington, New York and Illinois are closing in on the $4.00 mark, despite national consumption having dropped to historic low levels over the past six months.

Also putting a damper on investor enthusiasm was today's big miss on the ISM Index, which came in at 52.4 for February, after a reading of 54.1 in January and expectations for 54.7, though that was tempered with another solid reading on initial unemployment claims, which again came in at 351K. Last week's 351K was revised upward to 353K.

Even though gold didn't even come close to recovering the losses from Wednesday, it is still above its trend line and the price of silver moved back above what everyone believes to be key support/resistance at $35.50.

With little on the calendar for Friday, traders will be looking for any kind of catalyst. Perhaps our friends across the pond in Europe will provide some theatrics. They've been eerily quiet for almost two full days... seems like an eternity.

Dow 12,980.30, +28.23 (0.22%)
NASDAQ 2,988.97, +22.08 (0.74%)
S&P 500 1,374.09, +8.41 (0.62%)
NYSE Composite 8,175.20, +61.95 (0.76%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,887,835,875
NYSE Volume 3,910,319,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3532-2096
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 244-30
WTI crude oil: 108.84, +1.77
Gold: 1,722.20, +10.90
Silver: 35.66, +1.02

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