Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Stocks Rise on Vapors

Strange as it may seem, today's gains by the three most closely-watched indices - Dow, S&P, NASDAQ - were accompanied by a loss in the index with the widest representation, the NYSE Composite.

The drop was a small one, but it also pointed to the imbalance in the day's advance-decline line, which finished slightly in the red (see below), the point being that while stocks were up in a general sense and the headlines will scream that Dow and S&P reached new all-time closing highs, the truth is that breadth has deteriorated, as was the case on Monday, when the indices all dripped lower.

There wasn't much for the market to get excited about other than the unexpected boost in Medicare Advantage payouts, which will not be cut by the previously expected 2.2%, but will actually increase by 3.3%. That boosted shares of medical insurers, including United Health (UNH), which was the best performer on the Dow and accounted for much of the day's advance.

Wednesday will offer the first peek at employment when the ADP Private Payrolls report is issued prior to the opening bell. Expectations are that the economy created 197,000 new jobs in March.

Gold and silver were smashed lower, as pressures from Cyprus appear to be easing (out of sight, out of mind) and a sense of normalcy has returned - for now. At least there's only one David Stockman writing op-eds about how the rich are among the very few beneficiaries of the stock market rebound pointing out that the whole turnaround in stocks is due to massive, unconventional easing by the Federal Reserve.

Dow 14,662.01, +89.16 (0.61%)
NASDAQ 3,254.86, +15.69 (0.48%)
S&P 500 1,570.25, +8.08 (0.52%)
NYSE Composite 9,092.90, -14.86 (0.16%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,588,906,625
NYSE Volume 3,609,905,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3039-3378
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 412-53
WTI crude oil: 97.19, +0.12
Gold: 1,575.90, -25.00
Silver: 27.25, -0.696

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