Monday, August 27, 2012

Despite Big Move By Apple, Stocks Have No Monday Lift

As has been the case for many weeks (as noted in Friday's posting), stocks could simply not find any meaningful reasons to move to higher ground, even in the wake of a big move by Apple after a federal jury awarded Apple $1 billion in its patent infringement case over rival Samsung.

Apple stock hit an all-time high of 680.87 in early trading, but drifted lower throughout the session.

Veteran tape-watchers (we're fairly certain there are a few left out there) must have dozed off from another in a seemingly-endless stream of low-volume, noiseless, motion-defying trading. All but the first and last hours saw any significant action. The trading range on the Dow amounted to less than 80 points from top to bottom, with stocks selling off in the final hour and closing near the lows of the session.

Of the major averages, only the NASDAQ finished in positive territory, though it was green by only three points. The Dow was the biggest percentage loser, off 0.25% on the day.

Otherwise, there was little to no interest in equities on first day of the final unofficial week of summer, prior to the three-day Labor Day holiday.

Traders may be asleep at the switch and/or holding positions until after the holiday and Ben Bernanke's speech to the assembled central bankers and key economists at Jackson Hole on Friday.

Many on Wall Street are expecting Bernanke to signal another round of quantitative easing (QE), as he did in his 2010 speech, though skeptics of that theory abound, citing politics (the elections are nearly just two months away) and the muddled and murky economic picture as reasons the chairman of the world's largest central bank will not offer specificity in his remarks.

Additionally, ECB president Mario Draghi will present at the symposium, though his record for signaling specific policy actions are spotty at best. Draghi, as well as most European politicians, seems always to be long on rhetoric and short on delivery of specifics.

Outside of some M&A activity and Apple's move higher, the week began with a dolorous thud and will likely end that way unless Bernanke can be convinced that the time for the Fed to act - once again - is now. The high degree of uncertainty and doubt in the markets and general economy will likely keep a lid on what have to be viewed as excessively overpriced stocks and accompanying indices.

Dow 13,124.67, -33.30 (0.25%)
NASDAQ 3,073.19, +3.40 (0.11%)
S&P 500 1,410.44, -0.69 (0.05%)
NYSE Composite 8,033.93, -13.94 (0.17%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,363,789,875
NYSE Volume 2,439,756,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2676-2833
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 162-45
WTI crude oil: 95.47, -0.68
Gold: 1,675.60, +2.70
Silver: 31.05, +0.43

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