Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dull and Duller

The markets spent another day rolling over and hitting the snooze button in advance of the deluge of 1st quarter earnings reports due out beginning next week.

Adding to the market's slumbering condition is the general observation that it's currently overbought and hovering near recent highs though news flows continue to accentuate the negative.

Dow 12,576.44 -35.99; NASDAQ -16.07; S&P 500 1,365.54 -7.00; NYSE Composite 9,150.63 -4.09

Today's trading was somewhat of a turn, however, as all the major indices ended in the red for the first time since last Tuesday's general punch up. Declining issues held sway for a change over advancers, 3604-2613, and new lows regained the advantage over new highs, 112-75.

As noted here earlier this week, it was expected that new highs would not long outstrip new lows, and today the results point toward further deterioration. Any upward momentum is being met with massive resistance at various levels, and capitulation could occur at any moment, depending upon the severity of the news cycle. With earnings reports on the horizon, investors are showing extreme trepidation.

Alcoa (AA) officially kicked off earnings season, checking in with a quarter of .44 per share, four cents below expectations. The stock was left unpunished, losing only 0.26 to 37.18. More selling is likely as the week progresses and investors decide that there is no safe sector, not even in the relative stability of materials.

Thursday is likely the day of reckoning for the markets as retailers report March same-store sales. Until then, the paucity of news or economic reports is keeping traders on the sidelines and out of harm's way.

NYSE Volume 3,606,652,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,681,638,750

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