Tuesday, October 14, 2008

After Record Day, Some Give-Back

Following a day in which stocks rose by record amounts, Tuesday witnessed some profit-taking and a small sense of calm.

Stocks fell generally, but not by large amounts. The return to declines was, in a way, expected, and acceptable, as the Treasury announced it will purchase up to $250 billion in equity stakes of banks, including shares of Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and others.

Other government central banks around the world have already made similar investments in banks, to the tune of over $500 billion thus far.

While nobody is saying that the credit crisis is over, most analysts are in agreement that the worst may be behind us. What is still unclear, however, is how the credit freeze and subsequent government activity will affect the general economy. Consensus is clear that a worldwide recession is on the horizon - or already begun.

Dow 9,310.99 -76.62; NASDAQ 1,779.01 -65.24; S&P 500 998.01 -5.34; NYSE Composite 6,380.5298 -20.43

Market internals were mixed, but tended more toward normal than they have in the past three weeks. Declining issues edged out advancers, 3462-3049. New lows outstripped new highs, 291-74, though the number of new highs was the best showing since the last week of September.

Volume was heavy, a good sign that more investors feel confident trading in US equity markets.

NYSE Volume 1,877,556,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,936,985,000

Commodities continued to trade in mixed fashion though the tinge of deflation remains on the periphery. Oil futures lost another $2.73, with crude closing below $80 for the second time in three days, at $78.95. Gold lost $3.00, to $839.50, though silver gained 27 cents to $11.06. Silver has been buffeted about wildly of late and may be somewhat oversold.

A number of companies reported earnings during the day. Tech bellwether Intel (INTC) beat forecasts but issued some gloomy guidance. Beverage-maker PepsiCo (PEP) missed analyst estimates by 2 cents and announced planned layoffs of 3300 employees.
Dow component Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) reported a 30% rise in 3rd quarter profits over the same period of 2007. The company reported earnings of 1.17 per share, against analyst expectations of 1.11.

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