Friday, July 1, 2011

What a Week for Stocks; Metals, Not So Much

Once word that the Greek government was going to pass the severe austerity measures on its people, so as to get another $17 billion in loans from the EU/IMF, stock traders were treated to a rare "all green" week of trading, as though risk had been taken entirely out of the equation.

Even the end of QE2 and the regime of free money for primary dealers didn't slow down the express train to the upside in equities. It was truly one of the best weeks ever for US markets in terms of gains, logging in five straight days of positive returns.

Here's how they fared.

S&P 5001,268.451,339.67+71.22
NYSE COMP7,974.728,425.46450.74

On Friday, after closing out the second quarter with very positive vibes, stocks continued to rally on the first day of July and the third quarter with the best performance of the entire week, in hopes that there will not be many more natural disasters - such as Fukushima, Midwest tornadoes or Northwest floods - and that the messy situation in Greece is at least solved for now.

Apparently, there is little worry over when and whether congress will reach a deal on the debt ceiling, now that legislators have put off their usual Independence Day week-long recess, to supposedly work towards some kind of compromise on the matter.

Today's results:

Dow 12,582.77, +168.43 (1.36%)
NASDAQ 2,816.03, +42.51 (1.53%)
S&P 500 1,339.67, +19.03 (1.44%)
NYSE Composite 8,425.46, +106.36 (1.28%)

Advancing issues had their way, beating decliners, 5104-1468. NASDAQ new highs: 148; new lows: 26; NYSE New highs 168; New lows: 4. Combined: 316 new highs, 30 new lows. Volume was even softer than what has normally been a lightly-traded market, leading some to conclude (perhaps rightfully so) that the movements of stocks in the age of whirring computers and unsolvable algorithms are highly manipulated by the big brokerages.

NASDAQ Volume 1,604,401,500
NYSE Volume 3,721,877,750

While stocks were soaring along, commodities - with the notable exception of oil - took it hard. Crude oil futures declined 48 cents, to $94.94, after gaining most of the week. Gold finished at its worst level in six weeks, down $20.20, to $1,482.60, and silver was pounded down once more, losing $1.13, to $33.70, a loss of more than 3%.

By the way, just in case someone comes along and tries to tell you that oil is priced so high because we're running out of it, you do have the right to punch that person in the nose or kick in the groin, as appropriate. The worldwide collusion in the price of oil and gasoline to consumers has been going on for some time (a long time) and the "peak oil" theory is about as useful as science as an ace bandage is to a torn ACL.

In a word, it is "bunk." For more information, see and read the work of F. William Engdahl.

Seriously, do you really believe that those "fossil fuels" - coal, natural gas and oil - come from the remains of dinosaurs? Considering the amount that's been dug, mined, stripped, pumped and drilled out of the earth the past 200 years alone would lead one to believe that the Jurasic period was a shoulder-to-shoulder affair.

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