Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Who Bought This Dip?

About the best that could be said about today's general market decline is that it could have been worse. Stocks were slammed right out of the opening bell, and quickly fell to their worst levels of the day. By around 11:00 am EDT, the Dow had slumped 180 points from the previous close, the NASDAQ was down 38, the S&P off by 20 and the Composite down a whopping 126 points.

Naturally, some traders smelled the unmistakable aroma of easy money, so the buying started in earnest, with the major averages getting back close to half of the losses by day's end.

Still, anyone buying this particular dip - which incidentally, began from a peak early in the morning on Tuesday - might not be in the chips any time soon, as the market of late has not shown a great propensity for quickly and quietly erasing losses from previous downfalls.

Despite yesterday's advance, stocks left half of the gains from early in the day off the table, vanished, so the decline on the Dow, from the top of 15,521.49 to today's close, is nearly 220 points, or, about 1 1/2 percent.

That surely isn't anything to write home about, but it is significant in a short, end-of-month week heading into the summer doldrums, so to speak. It's difficult to make a case for buying so close to a market all-time peak, but money has to go somewhere, it is said, though many outside the world of Wall Street are beginning to find better places for the dough than in stocks. Bonds have slumped as well, pushing up yields, the 10-year note hitting 2.16% yesterday before settling down at 2.11% today.

Other places people have been putting money are into homes, either as new purchases or renovations, classic and not-so-classic cars (everybody needs reliable transportation), arable land, small business machinery, art, collectibles, rarities, gold, silver and other hard assets.

If stocks continue to display weakness (or even if they continue to sprint back and forth and increase volatility) and the Fed continues twiddling and tweaking and cajoling the markets with jabberwocky talk about easing or tapering or slowing their bond purchases, people can and will look beyond the NYSE and the NASDAQ for better, tangible assets with intrinsic or functional value.

People may be wearying of the constant barrage of "suggestions" from the Fed, analysts, broker-dealers and other hucksters of equities and make the move to something that they can actually touch, feel and literally appreciate. Sometimes - and this may be one of those times - it's better to keep what money you have than to risk it in what appears to be a very risky environment.

Today's action was rather uniform, with all the major averages falling about the same percentage amount on better-than-average volume. If this looks like an orderly retreat, those who bought the dip midday might be wondering what happens when the market becomes a bit more disorderly.

Dow 15,302.80, -106.59 (0.69%)
Nasdaq 3,467.52, -21.37 (0.61%)
S&P 500 1,648.36, -11.70 (0.70%)
NYSE Composite 9,422.49 71.68(0.75%)
NYSE Volume 3,969,497,750
Nasdaq Volume 1,754,239,625
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1627-4849 (1:3)
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 172-151 (narrowing of the gap)
WTI crude oil: 93.13, -1.88
Gold: 1,391.30, +12.40
Silver: 22.45, +0.26

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