Monday, August 8, 2016

Stocks Flat As Dog Days Drag

Considering the huge push Hillary Clinton got from the pollsters and media over the past week, it's a wonder the stock market wasn't off to the races come Monday morning.

Instead, stocks were marginally higher at the opening bell, but spent most of the session in the red. Since stocks are trading at or near all-time highs on the major averages, perhaps this wait-and-see action was the best approach.

Volatility was very low, with stocks trading in very tight ranges. The outlier was oil, as WTI crude ramped up more than a dollar, to $42.87, though this mini-bounce is not likely to be taken seriously or signal another run-up to $50 per barrel or higher. Oil's global glut is real and serious. Only a highly structured and skeptical futures market is keeping crude from collapsing to below $30 per barrel. For now, drivers are getting the benefit of lower gas prices, a condition which used to be associated with a burgeoning economy.

Oddly enough, because of excess debt in the system, stagnation with low inflation is about the best this economy can do. For the most part, individuals are doing better than they have the past few years, but high taxes and the rising cost of healthcare have put the brakes on personal spending.

Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,529.29, -14.24 (-0.08%)

5,213.14, -7.98 (-0.15%)

S&P 500
2,180.89, -1.98 (-0.09%)

NYSE Composite
10,788.01, 5.14 (0.05%)

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