Thursday, January 30, 2014

3.2% Fourth Quarter GDP Sparks Relief Rally

Nothing really changed since Wednesday. The Fed is still going to purchase $65 billion in treasuries and mortgage-backed securities in February, $20 billion less than they did in December and in each month of 2013.

As a result, emerging markets are still struggling with reduced liquidity and runs on their various currencies.

We learned, prior to the opening bell, that fourth quarter GDP increased by 3.2%, slightly less than expected, and that 19,000 more people signed up for unemployment benefits last week, pushing the total to 348,000, the highest in about a month.

The unemployment number was widely disregarded and blamed - like everything else these days - on the weather, as the market saw plenty of alpha in a buy-the-dip mentality in what has been a down January and a choppy week of scary trading.

How the markets recover the losses incurred over the past three weeks is the big question, especially with the Fed stomping on the QE brakes. Earnings season has been nothing to get excited about, especially when, after the bell, Google and Amazon reported some very mixed results.

Google (GOOG) missed on the bottom line but beat on revenues, posting profits of just $12.01 per share on expectations of $12.26,reporting actual sales of $16.86 billion on forecasts for $16.75 billion. Shares of the giant search and technology company. Despite the miss, shares were traing about four percent higher in the after hours.

Amazon (AMZN) reported earnings of 51 cents per share, short of estimates of 69 cents, a big swing and a miss. Revenues were just short of estimates - up 20% from a year ago - at $25.59 billion when analysts were seeking $26.08 billion. Shares of the shopping megalith were down between four and eight percent in after-hours trading.

With January concluding tomorrow, it's a slam-dunk that the month will end lower, setting expectations for the full year back to "reasonable" levels. The current churn is that the "January Barometer" is not all that reliable for predicting full-year results. Of course, were stocks higher at this juncture, the barometer would be hailed as the most accurate of all investing tools and stock jockeys would be adjusting their year-end estimates towards the moon.

And, with stocks juiced, straight off the opening bell, what better time could there have been to slam gold and silver lower, as they were, unjustifiably. Still, from the perspective of gold and silver holders and buyers, the precious metals, even with higher premiums everywhere, are considered bargains at current prices.

Such is the world in a contrived environment controlled by issuance of play money to the world's elite. Fundamentals being what they are, however, reality may make a comeback in the weeks and months ahead.

DOW 15,848.61, +109.82 (+0.70%)
NASDAQ 4,123.13, +71.69 (+1.77%)
S&P 1,794.19, +19.99 (+1.13%)
10-Yr Note 100.46, +0.27 (+0.27%) Yield: 2.70%
NASDAQ Volume 1.94 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.54 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4329-1390
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 156-67
WTI crude oil: 98.23, +0.87
Gold: 1,242.20, -20.00
Silver: 19.13, -0.426
Corn: 434.00, +6/00

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