Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On Tax Return Day, Wall Street Rocks Home a Winner

Apparently, the people (or machines) that trade on Wall Street have already done their taxes and owe nothing to the government, because a lot of cash went to work today, bidding up stocks closer to 3 1/2 year highs.

Although volume was light, that's become the new normal, so unless today's monster move was nothing more than bidding up prices in advance of options expiry, US businesses look to be in outstanding shape.

Earnings thus far for the first quarter have been better than expected for the most part, and, better yet, there haven't been any nasty developments or dissonant noise from Europe.

The questions surrounding recent moves in stocks are various and diverse. Are we extending the three-year-plus bull market or is this simply misplaced euphoria? Will fiscal policy of high deficits sink the economy or have the Fed's incessant money printing fostered a global boom? No matter which way one turns on those issues, one thing is clear: there's a magnificent absence of fear in the market right now.

The numbers speak for themselves:

Dow 13,115.54, +194.13 (1.50%)
NASDAQ 3,042.82, +54.42 (1.82%)
S&P 500 1,390.78, +21.21 (1.55%)
NYSE Composite 8,064.04, +114.47 (1.44%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,554,113,625
NYSE Volume 3,429,126,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4340-1306
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 158-41
WTI crude oil: 104.20, +1.27
Gold: 1,651.10, +1.40
Silver: 31.68, +0.01

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