Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dead Market, Catalyst Needed

Editor's Note: apologies for the tardiness of this post (thanks again, Time Warner). Fortunately, there was very little from Wall Street upon which to report.

This is going to be brief.

Stocks hugged the flat line in the aftermath of Wednesday's start of the month failed rally. This general lackluster tone of trading has permeated the US markets for the past few weeks and shows no sign of abating soon, perhaps having something to do with the Fed's Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP, three years running) or the fact that congress can't seem to even try to do anything about the moribund economic conditions.

If these conditions persist, with stocks at or near recent and historic highs, a pullback or correction of between 5-15% should ensue in short order. The first clue will come from tomorrow's non-farm payroll data, fast on the heels of today's initial unemployment claims of 367,000 and the Challenger Job Cuts data which printed at +38.9% (not good).

The volatility index (^VIX) fall below 18 today, so either stocks are going to remain largely range-bound or volatility will spike on some unseen or forgotten problems. One thing upon which there is wide consensus: stocks are getting a little pricey.

Oh, yeah, gold and silver continue to rock. And oil keeps coming down. Bonus!

Dow 12,705.41, -11.05 (0.09%)
NASDAQ 2,859.68, +11.41 (0.40%)
S&P 500 1,325.54, +1.45 (0.11%)
NYSE Composite 7,945.43, +13.98 (0.18%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,921,179,875
NYSE Volume 4,120,919,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3267-2290
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 371-24 (still extreme)
WTI crude oil: 96.36, -1.25
Gold: 1,759.30, +9.80
Silver: 34.18, +0.37

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