Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day Slowdown

Yesterday, I posited that stocks would trade sideways for the foreseeable future. What I failed to point out is that they have been doing so for the past two weeks.

Over the last nine trading sessions, the Dow has vacillated between 7800 and 8100, a fairly tight range. Today's trading took place between 7870 and 8000, excepting the final 10 minutes of trading. In fact, all of the gains on the Dow were accounted for in the final hour.

Dow 8,029.62, +109.44 (1.38%)
NASDAQ 1,626.80, +1.08 (0.07%)
S&P 500 852.06, +10.56 (1.25%)
NYSE Composite 5,384.97, +83.47 (1.57%)

It was an uneventful session, as advancing issues outnumbered decliners, 4305-2131. New lows outpaced new highs, 69-18. Volume was moderate, with a surge of trading into the close.

NYSE Volume 1,480,115,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,067,344,000

Commodity trading was equally sluggish, with oil falling 16 cents, to $49.25; gold higher by $1.50, to $893.50; and silver up 4 cents to $12.80.

As Americans officially met the deadline for filing taxes from 2008, the markets took a needed breather.

Capacity Utilization for March fell to 69.3%, from 70.3% in February. Likewise, Industrial Production was off 1.5% in March, rebuking the numerous predictions and proclamations that the worst of the recession was behind us. It appears that the economy is still sinking, as the Fed's Beige Book - released at 2:00 pm today - also suggested.

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