Friday, April 12, 2013

Gold, Silver Smashed; JP Morgan, Wells Fargo Beat, Sell Off

More questions than answers in the jumbled mess of trading today.

Stocks opened down rather sharply and stayed in the red the balance of the session, but, as usual, the bulls came back in the late stages to push the Dow from a 74-point loss to almost unchanged.

Both JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and Wells-Fargo (WFC) posted positive first quarter results prior to the opening bell, but were sold off in the regular session.

Aside from the usual hijinks in stocks, the real story was in commodities, where gold and silver were battered, sending them to two-year lows.

The questions surrounding the gold trade are thus:
Did Goldman Sachs - which lowered their forecasts just days ago on gold - have anything to do with it or have advance knowledge? (Probably.)

Was the forced selling of gold from the Cyprus central bank the cause or an effect?

Understandable that gold was rocked down, but silver fell even more, by percentage. Why?

The best news of the day came from the oil pits, where crude traded just above $90 for a time today and closed down more than 2%. A cursory glance at oil prices over the past year show the downtrend fully in place. Consequently, gas at the pump is down 36 cents from a year ago, on average, and should drop even more in coming weeks with today's drop.

The commodities, along with the string of recent misses in US economic data (today, retail sales were a stinker), may be telling the market something which it does not wish to hear, setting up a correction that is long overdue. Leading that concept is the huge imbalance in the advance-decline line, given the smallish losses.

Of course, that's just the kind of thinking that leads to losses in this liquidity-fed environment, but, then again, how long can this bull run without a break and without breaking down? The current bull market is just over 48 months, and the general length of bull markets is somewhere between 44 and 62 weeks. Time may be running short, or , is this time different?

The word from the Fed is simple. Stay long. Stay strong.

Ah, conventional wisdom is so... simple.

Dow 14,865.06, -0.08 (0.00%)
NASDAQ 3,294.95, -5.21 (0.16%)
S&P 500 1,588.85, -4.52 (0.28%)
NYSE Composite 9,188.11, -45.91 (0.50%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,459,983,750
NYSE Volume 3,534,229,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2478-3940
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 260-53
WTI crude oil: 91.29, -2.22
Gold: 1,501.40, -63.50
Silver: 26.33, -1.366

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