Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dow, S&P Fall for Sixth Straight Session

As opposed to Wednesday's heavy news flow, there was almost nothing - other than company-specific earnings reports - by which to move markets on Thursday.

Inexplicably, even after initial unemployment claims came in at a nice, round, 350,000, a number that was the lowest in four years (as dubiously reported - but confirmed - by CNBC), stocks started the day at their lows, but proceeded to gain in fits and starts throughout the session, but ended dead in the water, the Dow and S&P posting their sixth consecutive days of losses.

What sufficed as information today was sparse, though yesterday's barrage of news was likely analyzed, scrutinized, digested, regurgitated and eventually ignored by the day-trading animaal spirits normally at the forefront of speculation.

It was a true buy the dip day, with plungers taking their best shots at stocks in the heart of what appears to be a rocky earnings season.

Expectations have been lowered to a point at which most companies can make their numbers for the second quarter, even though they'll be looking at sequential declines in many cases, so, that portends ill going through the next two to three weeks.

In the odd circumstance that one would be so carefree and risk-insensitive to take a dive into Wall Street's waters at this juncture, tight stops on the downside of any trade would be advisable as companies and analysts are set to unleash a rash of downgrades to individual companies and the general economy, covering the next six months.

With the presidential election less than four months ahead, congress will be even more dead-handed than usual, with no meaningful legislation - though lots and lots of posturing and posing - on the calendar. With crises and scandals popping up seemingly every other day, this is not an environment for the feint of heart, even though a good percentage of Americans have their retirements wound into the fabric of this unruly market through pensions or 401k plans.

The close of the week should prove challenging, as the day will be led off by none other than JP Morgan Chase (JPM), which releases its second quarter earnings report prior to the opening bell. At issue is not only the size of the loss from the "London Whale" trade, but whether or not golden boy, Jamie Dimon will have some of his ludicrous bonus clawed back. It should make for interesting theater, if nothing else.

Of particular note to technicians are the continuing beat by declining issues in the A-D line, and the slow but sure rise of new 52-week lows, which neared parity today and actually favored the new lows on the NASDAQ, 68-50. If the market is trending, it is surely making a case for heading south.

Dow 12,573.27, -31.26 (0.25%)
NASDAQ 2,866.19, -21.79 (0.75%)
S&P 500 1,334.76, -6.69 (0.50%)
NYSE Composite 7,638.72, -46.65 (0.61%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,689,227,375
NYSE Volume 3,636,806,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2139-3403
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 153-130
WTI crude oil: 86.08, +0.27
Gold: 1,565.30, -10.40
Silver: 27.16, +0.14

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