Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dow Gains 9th Straight Day to Another Record High

For the first time since November, 1996, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen for nine sessions in a row, the last seven of which made new record closing highs.

Not that it matters at all to ordinary investors (whatever that term means today), but the referenced date was during one of the market's greatest bull runs of all time and just prior to the famous "irrational exuberance" speech then-chairman Alan Greenspan gave just a month later, warning that the markets were overheating.

The chances of current chairman Ben Bernanke saying something similar are essentially nil. There's a better chance that Mr. Bernanke would fan, rather than cool, the flames of capitalism in coming months. It's simply not in the cards for the Fed to change course any time soon.

Today's gains were slim, with a range and volume that were slimmer by comparison. The Dow traded in a 50-point span from top to bottom, and volume, which has been non-existent throughout the current rally, was decidedly dull.

For all the talk of recovery and new highs, this leg of the rally has been noticeably dull and unappreciated.

But, that's where we are, QE, ZIRP and all the jolly talk aside.

The main catalyst for today's gains was a surprising jump in consumer spending for February, up 1.1%, far ahead of projections and the best reading in five months.

But, judging by the tepid response, this rally seems to be nearly out of gas. Not to worry, however, as any setback in stocks will almost immediately be washed away by some new rally, likely due to massive injections of liquidity by the Federal Reserve.

While the current prices of stocks and levels of the major indices may be irrational, there's little exuberance to be found anywhere.

Dow 14,455.28, +5.22 (0.04%)
NASDAQ 3,245.12, +2.80 (0.09%)
S&P 500 1,554.52, +2.04 (0.13%)
NYSE Composite 9,057.00, +2.96 (0.03%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,552,400,375
NYSE Volume 3,327,864,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3538-2872
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 386-31
WTI crude oil: 92.52, -0.02
Gold: 1,588.40, -3.30
Silver: 28.96, -0.213

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