Monday, July 13, 2009

Financials Fun or Another Sucker Rally?

With 2nd quarter earnings about to begin rolling out tomorrow, Monday's movement in the markets was something to ponder befor possibly jumping into the breach. Leading the way were financials, the very same banks that caused huge financial failures less than a year ago.

Are the banks fully rejuvenated? Can they be trusted as guardians of important capital - for mortgages, college, retirement, etc. - or have investors forgotten so soon how cavalier these same bankers were with other people's money. Sadly, I am of the camp that says they cannot be trusted. Every time financial stocks lead rallies, I see the same fraudulent faces, the same lying CEOs, none of whom have been rightfully indicted, prosecuted and jailed for their various crimes: collusion, delusion, evasion and deceit.

After falling for four straight weeks, maybe the market was prime for gains, but one must bear in mind where we are in the greater cycle. Stocks are just coming off highs, and, with the economy still struggling, one has to question the wisdom of jumping in at this particular juncture. Maybe for short term profits, this is the right move, but longer term, stocks could easily become cheaper in months ahead. If this is a short term timing rally and an in-and-out play, which is predominantly what our markets have become, this may be worthwhile, but waiting until the first few days' worth of earnings results come to the fore seems to be a more prudent position.

In any case, stocks were brought higher by the banks, which lifted every sector by at least 1%.

Dow 8,331.68, +185.16 (2.27%)
NASDAQ 1,793.21, +37.18 (2.12%)
S&P 500 901.05, +21.92 (2.49%)
NYSE Composite 5,761.37, +133.85 (2.38%)

The movement was broad based, with advancing issues beating out decliners, 4980-1400. New lows, however, maintained their edge over new highs, 79-40. Volume was nothing about which to get excited, another indication that not all hands are on board with this move. Weak volume has been an consistent feature marking the end of the rally and the beginning of the correction four weeks ago.

NYSE Volume 1,189,460,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,921,335,000

Commodities were all over the map. Those in the energy-related sector followed oil's downward draft of 20 cents, closing at $59.69. The metals were all up, with gold higher by $10.00, to $922.50, and silver up 14 cents, to $12.79. Livestock and foodstuffs finished in mixed fashion.

Banks will be in focus the rest of this week as a number of big names announce earnings. Goldman Sachs, a particularly important bellwether, reports tomorrow.

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