Showing posts with label AMZN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AMZN. Show all posts

Friday, October 25, 2019

Amazon Misses, Gold, Silver Bid

Even more sloshing around as the week progresses. The Dow traded in a range of just 217 points, ramping back and forth across the unchanged line.

All other indices saw gains, although they were slight. The NASDAQ topped the list with nearly a one percent rise.

Within an hour of the opening bell Friday, Amazon (AMZN) reported eps of 4.23 per share versus an expected $4.59, a miss of 7.8%. This follows poor thrid quarter reports from Caterpillar (CAT), 3M (MMM), and Texas Instruments (TXN), on Thursday.

Gold and silver are being well bid, with silver gaining over 2.5% above $18 per ounce for the first time in over a month.

At the Close, Thursday, October 24, 2019:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,805.53, -28.42 (-0.11%)
NASDAQ: 8,185.80, +66.00 (+0.81%)
S&P 500: 3,010.29,, +5.77 (+0.19%)
NYSE Composite: 13,118.91, +4.52 (+0.03%)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Seas of Red Ink; Global Collapse In Asset Pricing Underway; US Markets In Denial

Was Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), or Microsoft (MSFT) ever worth a trillion dollars?

All were, for a while, supposedly worth that high until the market considered the madness of such lofty valuations. Then, they were probably not.

A little quickie math is appropriate. For a company to be worth a trillion dollars, in rough terms, it would have to make a profit of $143 off every person on the planet (we're using 7 billion as an estimate) in a calendar year. Figuring a 15-year capitalization period, it's possible.

However, with the global median individual annual income at about $3000, it's unlikely. And for three companies to be worth that would mean every person on the planet, including babies and the elderly in nursing homes or hospices, would have to spend enough so that combined, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft would net a profit of $429. So, for three companies to have that kind of valuation simultaneously is something right out of science fiction, because these people would have to spend about $2000 (figuring a rough profit margin of 20%) on products from just those three companies. Were this to happen, a third of the planet would die off because they spent most of their money on smartphones, software and trinkets from Amazon (with much lower profit margins, BYW), instead of food.

And what about all the other companies on the planet? From the corner store to multi-national corporations like General Motors, Nestle, Samsung, etc.? How much money do they extract from every person in the world with these three biggies crowding out everybody else? It simply doesn't add up.

That's why asset prices are collapsing. Companies, or rather, the stock prices representing shares of these companies are not worth what they're selling for, the big money knows it, and they're selling their shares to people less informed or desperate to make their investments pay off in the global rat race.

Let's face facts. US Stocks have more than tripled in value over the past 10 years. That doesn't make any sense. Were Americans suddenly three times as wealthy as they were 10 years ago? No. No. And Hell No.

Today, as stock prices tumbled around the world, US markets barely suffered a scraped knee and a paper cut. The NIKKEI was down 459 points, or, 2.12%. Japan's economy shrank by 2.5% in the third quarter.

Stock markets in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, India, China, Indonesia, South Korea, Germany, France, England, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Canada were all down between one and two-and-a-half percent, again, after weeks of declines. Many of these indices are in correction. Germany, South Korea, China, Japan, and others are in bear markets, down more than 20%. That's just a sampling. But the US carries on, though the Dow is less than 325 points away from correction territory. All the other US indices are in correction, down more than 10%.

Dow Industrials were down more than 500 points in the morning, but finished, magically (same as last Thursday) well off the lows, in fact, with a small gain. Magic! Denial! HFT Algorithms! Programmed Trading! Central Bank Intervention! It's only temporary.

US stocks have performed better than the rest of the world, so far, but they are trending in the same direction - lower. Brokers and dealers on Wall Street are living in a La-la Land that would put Hollywood to shame. Many in the financial sphere are in deep denial. They don't believe the US economy can contract, that stocks can be re-priced lower, down 20, 30 or 40 percent or more. It has happened in the past, many times, and it will happen again. It is happening right now.

But, but, but, we can't have a stock market crash during the Christmas season, can we? Maybe stocks will not exactly crash this month, but the performance has been - on a day-to-day basis - underwhelming. Winter is coming (Dec. 20).

According to Dow Theory, the Dow Jones Transportation Index confirmed the primary trend change - from bullish to bearish - that the Dow Jones Industrial Average signaled on November 23. That's the second time this year Dow Theory confirmed a primary trend change. The last was through March (Industrials signaled) and April (Transports confirmed), but stocks bounced back quickly through the spring and summer. By autumn, the bloom was off the rose, however, and the false rally began to unwind, and it continues to unwind.

And, with that, today's musical selection, "Turn, Turn, Turn," released October 1, 1965, written by Pete Seeger, performed by the Byrds.

Dow Jones Industrial Average December Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
12/3/18 25,826.43 +287.97 +287.97
12/4/18 25,027.07 -799.36 -511.39
12/6/18 24,947.67 -79.40 -590.79
12/7/18 24,388.95 -558.72 -1149.51
12/10/18 24,423.26 +34.31 -1115.20

At the Close, Monday, December 10, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,423.26, +34.31 (+0.14%)
NASDAQ: 7,020.52, +51.27 (+0.74%)
S&P 500: 2,637.72, +4.64 (+0.18%)
NYSE Composite: 11,889.29, -52.64 (-0.44%)

Monday, November 19, 2018

Another Blue Monday As Stocks Slammed Hard All Day; Techs Lead Losers


This is becoming serious. Last week, when stock traders had a day off for observance of Veterans Day, the week opened with a 600-point loss. Today, the start of a new week, sees stocks tank to the tune of nearly 400 points.

It's not just the start of the week that's been bad of late, it's a recurring trend for the Dow and NASDAQ to slide by triple digits over the course of one session. The down days are beginning to add up, suggesting that something bigger is on the immediate horizon, and it's happening at a time which is usually a good one for stocks. November and December are among the better months for stock gains, though that doesn't look to be the case this season (Is it too early to say "Happy Holidays?").

Most of the selling on Monday came early. Shortly after noon in New York, the Dow had already shed more than 60 points. For the remainder of the session the blue chip index bounced around in a 100-point range, as some tepid buying emerged, though there was not wide enough commitment to keep stocks from near the lows of the day.

Faring even worse was the NASDAQ, which lost more than 100 points for the eighth time in the past seven weeks. In for particular harsh treatment are, and have been, tech stocks. It seems as though any company with a CEO under 40 or with any connection to computers or the internet has been targeted for extermination.

Here are some of the more notable Silicon Valley names on the Wall Street hit list:

  • Facebook: hit a high of 217 in July, closed today at 131.55.
  • Alphabet (Google): August 29: 1,249.30; Today: 1,020.00
  • Netflix: August 30: 370.98; Today: 270.60
  • Apple: September 4: 227.57; Today: 185.86
  • Nvidia: September 4: 283.70; Today: 144.70
  • Amazon: August 31: 2,012.71; Today: 1,512.29

These stocks were among the leaders during the long run-up from 2016 and prior. Now they are the loss-leaders. Amazon's peak is of interest because that was also the day the NASDAQ finished what looks like a pretty solid double top. It closed on August 29 at 8109.69 and on the 31st at 8109.54. It's been downhill since, the NASDAQ sporting a 13% decline since then.

Nobody knows exactly where this is all going, but, from recent market action, it looks to be headed to a not very nice place.

Dow Jones Industrial Average November Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
11/1/18 25,380.74 +264.98 +264.98
11/2/18 25,270.83 -109.91 +155.07
11/5/18 25,461.70 +190.87 +345.94
11/6/18 25,635.01 +173.31 +519.25
11/7/18 26,180.30 +545.29 +1064.54
11/8/18 26,191.22 +10.92 +1075.46
11/9/18 25,989.30 -201.92 +873.54
11/12/18 25,387.18 -602.12 +271.42
11/13/18 25,286.49 -100.69 +170.27
11/14/18 25,080.50 -205.99 -35.72
11/15/18 25,289.27 +208.77 +173.05
11/16/18 25,413.22 +123.95 +297.00
11/19/18 25,017.44 -395.78 -98.78

At the Close, Monday, November 19, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,017.44, -395.78 (-1.56%)
NASDAQ: 7,028.48, -219.40 (-3.03%)
S&P 500: 2,690.73, -45.54 (-1.66%)
NYSE Composite: 12,280.91, -119.37 (-0.96%)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Stocks Flatlined In Bifurcated Trading; Can Reform MAGA?

Maybe investing should be a little more like Wednesday's activity: boring. Slow. Uninteresting, aside from the continuance of the Dow-NASDAQ dichotomy.

Back in the mid-90s, with the advent of the internet and the CNBCs of the world, stock trading became more akin to fantasy sports than serious investing. Day-trading became the norm, volatility increased and the natural outcome was to favor professionals who had the tools, skills, and patience to ply the market with the requisite aptitude and attitude.

Today's algo-driven compression chamber that is called a "market" is a far cry from the staid and simple concepts of just a generation ago. Prior to the internet explosion of online brokerages and sophisticated strategies, buy and hold was the norm. Investment advisors - at least the honest ones not tied to commissions or performance - put people's money into solid companies with deep backgrounds, decades of dividend payments and reasonable price-earning ratios.

Investors today throw money at companies such as Tesla (TSLA), which hasn't made a dime in earnings. That nomenclature was also the trademark of the dotcom boom and bust., and other pie-in-the-sky, profitless, promising companies fell to the waysides in 2000 after being hyped non-stop on message boards and from boiler room operations such as those prominently featured in movies like "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Not to say that there aren't new-age companies that deserve the backing of the investing public, but it's a crowded space, and valuations on companies like Google (Alphabet, GOOG), Amazon (AMZN) and others are out in the stratosphere somewhere, reflecting future growth of mammoth proportions which may or may not come to fruition.

That's probably why the aforementioned Dow-NASDAQ see-saw exists. Investors in Dow stocks (30 blue chips) are quite a bit more circumspect and conservative than the punters and speculators on stocks covered by the NASDAQ. They're also more likely to hold - or even add to positions - during downturns rather than sell outright and go looking for the next momentum-chasing darling of the day.

In the past, rules and regulations on banking and investment houses kept speculation at reasonable levels. All of that changed with the internet, 24-hour financial news, and, most importantly, changes to the Glass-Steagall act under President Bill Clinton in 1999. Clinton signed into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed SOME of the provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act, most notably, those measures which kept the banking business separate from the investment business.

Certainly, the new requirements struck a blow for free markets as the original Glass-Steagall act of 1933 was a response to wide-open conditions which contributed to the Great Depression. But, Clinton's new liberalness may have been a step too far. Since the enactment of Gramm-Leach-Bliley, the US economy has suffered the dotcom crash, the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-09, and various distortions of Federal Reserve policies like ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policy) and QE (Quantitative Easing).

Now that the Fed seeks to unwind its bloated balance sheet and normalize interest rates, perhaps it's time to call out the real culprit of financial repression: widespread advantageous policies for the banking sector which crowd out and frustrate individual efforts. While a democratization of the investing world has occurred to some degree with crowd-sourcing, the regulations surrounding the nascent rise of small offerings continue to throttle companies and potential investors with needless rules and strictures.

In a true free market, there would be 1/10th the number of regulations in place today, and most of them would be foisted upon the high-profile trading houses of Wall Street, not the start-up companies that must wade through SEC regulations and countless pages of blue sky laws.

For America to be great again, maybe boring isn't the way to go, but unfair rules which favor the well-heeled over start-ups might need to be examined and revised.

In the meantime, despite the promise of crowd-sourcing and online trading, small investors will continue to be subject to unfair trading practices which puts the interests of Wall Street far ahead those of Main Street.

At the close, Wednesday, September 12, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,998.92, +27.86 (+0.11%)
NASDAQ: 7,954.23, -18.25 (-0.23%)
S&P 500: 2,888.92, +1.03 (+0.04%)
NYSE Composite: 12,990.10, +37.80 (+0.29%)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

FAANGs Whacked Again As Investors Pull Back From Tech Space

Netflix was murdered in trading on Wednesday as investors reacted to a report by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty that Apple plans to launch a competing video service though the company has to date made no announcement.

It was enough to take seriously, and money flowed out of Netflix (NFLX) to the tune of a 22.42-point decline, off a whopping 6.17% at the close. Apple's stock barely budged, but in fact was down 1.49 (-0.65%).

A day after topping $1 trillion in market cap, Amazon (AMZN) shed 44 points to close at 1994.82, a solid two-percent decline.

Alphabet (GOOG), parent of Google was lower by 10.82 (-0.88%), and Tesla lost nearly three percent, closing at 280.74, reaching its lowest closing point since May 25.

Facebook lost nearly four points to finish the day at 167.18, a four-month low.

All of this trading occurred while tech executives were brought before congress to testify in a wide-ranging probe of the unregulated social media space. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey faced congressional scrutiny before a select committee of senators and House representatives. It's political theater at its very best, with lawmakers preening and getting in good soundbites in the lead to the midterm elections in two months.

Wishing for nothing less than to regulate free speech on the internet, congress is unlikely to have much impact upon the operation of the social media behemoths. As private enterprises, these mammoth companies are free to do as they please, from banning users who upset their dilettante views to promoting largely socialist idealism.

While the hearings make for some useful political jabbing, the congress shows by its naive use of forums such as these that they are as much a part of the problem as the companies themselves. Since most politicians use social media platforms to promote their particular agendas, dragging big company executives to Capitol Hill is more red herring than serious hearings.

While congress browbeats, investors are keenly aware that some of these companies are seriously overvalued. Tesla, for instance, is down 100 points in less than a month's time, exceeding a 25% decline. Facebook is off 50 points since July 25 and is likewise trading under bear market conditions, down nearly 24% over the last six weeks.

With the current round of tech profit-taking having a serious effect on investor confidence in the space, the staid stocks of the Dow gained slightly on the day, barely moving the needle. Elsewhere, stocks were roiled worldwide, as emerging market conditions continue to deteriorate.

The September swoon is gathering momentum and a more severe decline may be dead ahead for US stocks despite a booming economy and low unemployment. The main problems are rising interest rates and fundamental overvaluation issues.

Dow Jones Industrial Average September Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
9/4/18 25,952.48 -12.34 -12.34
9/5/18 25,974.99 +22.51 +10.17

At the Close, Wednesday, September 5, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 25,974.99, +22.51 (+0.09%)
NASDAQ: 7,995.17, -96.07 (-1.19%)
S&P 500: 2,888.60, -8.12 (-0.28%)
NYSE Composite: 12,968.55, -1.31 (-0.01%)

Monday, June 25, 2018

Dow, NASDAQ Hammered As Investors Continue Flight, FAANGs Pounded; What a Mess!

How's this for a healthy economy?

Facebook (FB): 196.35, -5.39 (-2.67%)
Amazon (AMZN): 1,663.15, -52.52 (-3.06%)
Apple (AAPL): 182.17, -2.75 (-1.49%)
Netflix (NFLX): 384.48, -26.61 (-6.47%)
Google (Alphabet, GOOG): 1,124.81, -30.67 (-2.65%)

...and, for good measure,

Tesla (TSLA): 333.01, -0.62 (-0.19%)

Tesla gets special consideration because its demise will be swift, painful and awe-inspiring for a variety of reasons. First, the company is run by a person (Elon Musk) who is almost certainly bi-polar, meaning he's brilliant, but eventually a nut-case, like a Pee Wee Herman on steroids. Second, the company has mountains of debt which will not likely be serviced in an orderly manner. Third, the cars keep bursting into flames. Fourth, and possibly most important, the competition in the eVehicle category is fierce and will swallow up the upstart. Everybody from Porsche, to BMW, to Jaguar has invested heavily in battery powered vehicles and these companies have more expertise and money than little Tesla.

Telsa is one of those companies that is wildly overvalued and ripe for a fall. It was spared today because nobody has any nterest in selling it just yet. They're all along for the ride (pardon the pun). When the bugs start getting squashed on the windshield, so to speak, it will be epic. Tesla's EPS is a humorous (if you're not an investor) -13.97 per share. Yep, they're losing money on every car they sell, and they don't make it up on volume. This one's a definite long-term short.

As for the rest of the market, one can only assume that seasoned veterans of the investing business see what's ahead. Trade wars don't help, but they're certainly not the only cause. Stock buybacks will prove to be disastrous once the price drops become permanent (soon, within months or weeks). The FAANGs in particular have been responsible for up to 75% of the recent gains on the NASDAQ, and they're based on nothing more than herd behavior. The stocks were hot, everybody got in. When everybody tries to get out, days like today are the result. Expect more of them over the next 3-5 months.

Lest one needs reminding, the Dow confirmed bear market conditions on April 9, and that HAS NOT CHANGED. Nor will it. Stocks will continue to be out of favor for the foreseeable future. Selected, mostly-defensive stocks will fare better than the recent high-flyers, but most money managers who can are turning aggressively to cash because they see no way out of an end-of-cycle bust scenario.

The market decline, top to bottom, could take another 12 to 18 months, having begun in February of this year and we haven't even hit recession yet, which is likely to occur in the fourth quarter of this year or the Q1 2019, though a third quarter negative read is not yet off the table, though unlikely.

The initial panic phase caused by the February correction on the Dow was only the beginning. The Dow is closing in on a second correction at 23,954. It will have to fall below 21,292 to be officially called a bear market (-20%), but by then, it's probably too late for many, who will be forced to take the ride down to wherever it finally rests. Anybody paying attention has already been on alert and hopefully divesting with profits.

While the next market bear bottom will be substantially lower than where it is today, it is unlikely to be the end of the world, though to many, it will seem like it. The current phase is slower and more grinding, such as witnessed over the past two weeks. The Dow has only seen one close to the upside in the last 10 sessions, and this was the largest decline since May 29 (-391.64), though there have been more than enough triple-digit declines and gains in the interim and surely more to come.

Today's drop on the Dow wiped out all of June's gains and is within 140 points of flushing the gains from April (+50) and May (+252), which would make the second quarter a loser, just like the first, although, with nothing to backstop markets here, still be not equal than the losses experienced in the first quarter. There's only four more trading days left in the quarter and the scramble is underway to shed losers and find safe havens.

Good luck with that.

Next stop for the Dow, on the downside, is somewhere between 22,700 and 23,300. It should get a bounce of maybe 400-600 points from there, but the trend is surely to the downside for the near and long term.

The treasury yield curve flattened just a touch on the day, with two particularly interesting flavors. The 5s-10s spread is now a measly 12 basis points (2.75%, 2.87%). That's not much of a premium on the benchmark 10-year note over the five. Why wait an additional five years to get your money back at basically the same rate? The 10s-30s spread is only 16 bips (3.02%). That's flat. As a pancake. If the 5s-10s invert, all hell breaks loose, and it's not out of the question that it could happen, soon, possibly within weeks.

Anybody holding gold or silver should be selling if not altogether out by now. The PMs have been a poor choice since 2012, but the silver lining is that they will be even cheaper in coming months. The metals, through the magic of rampant manipulation by central banks, are mirroring stocks presently, and, as they did during the GFC of 2008-09, will be ripped lower on redemptions and hustles for cash, but will likely be the first to recover.

It's advisable to sell out of PMs now and buy them back at a lower price come later this year. Gold may hit $950, and silver $13.50 before any bounce.

Invest wisely. Drink Kambucha. Drive a Porsche.

Dow Jones Industrial Average June Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
6/1/18 24,635.21 +219.37 +219.37
6/4/18 24,813.69 +178.48 +397.85
6/5/18 24,799.98 -13.71 +384.14
6/6/18 25,146.39 +346.41 +730.55
6/7/18 25,241.41 +95.02 +825.57
6/8/18 25,316.53 +75.12 +900.69
6/11/18 25,322.31 +5.78 +906.47
6/12/18 25,320.73 -1.58 +904.89
6/13/18 25,201.20 -119.53 +785.36
6/14/18 25,175.31 -25.89 +759.47
6/15/18 25,090.48 -84.83 +674.64
6/18/18 24,987.47 -103.01 +571.63
6/19/18 24,700.21 -287.26 +284.37
6/20/18 24,657.80 -42.41 +241.96
6/21/18 24,461.70 -196.10 +45.86
6/22/18 24,580.89 +119.19 +165.05
6/25/18 24,252.80 -328.09 -163.04

At the Close, Monday, June 25, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,252.80, -328.09 (-1.33%)
NASDAQ: 7,532.01, -160.81 (-2.09%)
S&P 500: 2,717.07, -37.81 (-1.37%)
NYSE Composite: 12,481.60, -157.97 (-1.25%)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Stocks Split as Dow Flirts with 25,000 Mark

The Dow Industrials and the NYSE Composite ended the day lower on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ posted gains.

All of the moves were muted, amounting to nothing more than market noise, except for the frothy NASDAQ, which posted an all-time closing high at 7637.86, barely - by 0.59 points - topping the previous high from mid-May.

The soaring NASDAQ should remind veteran traders of the red-hot dot-com market of 1999 and early 2000, which ending in tatters, cascading lower in March of 2000 in one of the greatest stock market routs of all time.

It took the NASDAQ a full 13 years to regain those 2000 highs, with an additional collapse in 2007-09. If anybody is thinking that the NASDAQ is once again running full throttle on hope and hype, they're probably in the cautious camp that has seen this kind of market madness before.

The leading stocks of the NASDAQ are the usual suspect, overvalued companies - the FAANGS - and traders will be riding their valuations for as long as the good times roll. The obvious question is how long before these titans of technology roll over.

Nothing lasts forever, including stock manias based on companies that have recently come under fire for misdeeds and faulty business practices and products. Tesla (TSLA), Facebook (FB), Starbucks (SBUX), and Alphabet, parent of Google (GOOG) have each had bouts of bad publicity, though the fallout hasn't readily struck their valuations.

Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) are testing their upper ranges, adding some supposed value nearly every day. Apple is approaching a valuation of one trillion dollars, while Amazon is not far behind. Is any company worth a trillion dollars? That is a lot of money.

Meanwhile, the Dow continues to plow along just below 25,000, a figure it has achieved only one time since March 13. While 25,000 is still 1600 points below the all-time high on that index, it appears to be a psychological barrier that may prove difficult to surpass and maintain.

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
6/1/18 24,635.21 +219.37 +219.37
6/4/18 24,813.69 +178.48 +397.85
6/5/18 24,799.98 -13.71 +384.14

At the Close, Tuesday, June 5, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,799.98, -13.71 (-0.06%)
NASDAQ: 7,637.86, +31.40 (+0.41%)
S&P 500: 2,748.80, +1.93 (+0.07%)
NYSE Composite: 12,658.70, -15.21 (-0.12%)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

How To Deal With A Bully: Retailers Gang Up On Amazon

Wednesday, it was Macy's (M) reporting solid sales growth in the first quarter, fueling some interest in retail stocks overall.

Thursday morning, Wal-Mart is reporting 33% growth in online sales for the first quarter, proving that Americans will go where service and price are balanced, as the nation's largest retailer continues to roll out its innovative "ship-to-store" option and discounted shipping (free two-day delivery).

Amazon, the king of online retailing, may have succeeded in killing off and/or absorbing some smaller chain store retailers and accelerating the demise of dinosaurs like Sears, but they're certainly not going to mash down the biggest companies, such as Macy's, JC Penney, and Wal-Mart. While Seattle-based Amazon can build as many warehouses and fulfillment centers to facilitate faster, more efficient delivery, it is still hampered by its lack of bona fide retail locations, though its recent acquisition of Whole Foods will change that to varying degrees in different sectors and geographical locations.

Wal-Mart, which has a significant footprint in the retail food space, probably isn't worried about the emergence of Whole Foods poaching its customers, because Whole Foods is largely a near-luxury brand, selling organics and other higher-priced goods, while Wal-Mart customers are accustomed to low-priced, competitive products.

The recent resurgence of retail in the face of the Amazon effect should buoy some stocks and create an environment that will only become increasingly competitive, both online and in the real, brick-and-mortar world. As retailing evolves into 21st-century standards, don't expect first-mover Amazon to extend its gains, though its presence will certainly be dominant. Innovation by those playin catch-up with the newer technology should prove to level the playing field somewhat in coming years.

Macy's earnings beat managed to squeeze some upside out of stocks on Wednesday. Thursday's rise or fall will have much to do with Was-Mart's success story, though it may not provide enough of a catalyst to pull the entire market higher.

Dow Jones Industrial Average May Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
5/1/18 24,099.05 -64.10 -64.10
5/2/18 23,924.98 -174.07 -238.17
5/3/18 23,930.15 +5.17 -233.00
5/4/18 24,262.51 +332.36 +99.36
5/7/18 24,357.32 +94.81 +194.17
5/8/18 24,360.21 +2.89 +197.06
5/9/18 24,542.54 +182.33 +379.39
5/10/18 24,739.53 +196.99 +576.38
5/11/18 24,831.17 +91.64 +668.02
5/14/18 24,899.41 +68.24 +736.26
5/15/18 24,706.41 -193.00 +543.26
5/16/18 24,768.93 +62.52 +605.78

At the Close, Wednesday, May 16, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,768.93, +62.52 (+0.25%)
NASDAQ: 7,398.30, +46.67 (+0.63%)
S&P 500: 2,722.46, +11.01 (+0.41%)
NYSE Composite: 12,743.80, +39.17 (+0.31%)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Facebook Helps Wall Street Rally; Amazon Posts Monster 1Q Surprise After Close

Facebook's (FB) blowout earnings were enough to propel markets forward for the day, but after the bell Amazon (AMZN) made serious noise when it absolutely crushed expectations, earning, in the first quarter, $3.27 per share on $51 billion in revenues for the quarter. Analysts had expected $1.27 per share on revenues of $49.96 billion. In the same quarter last year, earnings were $1.48 per share on $35.7 billion in revenue. Amazon was trading more than six percent higher in after-hours trading.

It's plain to see that Jeff Bezos of Amazon has taken internet technology and employed it to maximum capitalization. Traditional brick and mortar retailers have been failing and falling faster than the price of used shoes.

Amazon's monster quarter, combined with Friday's first estimate of first quarter GDP should be enough good news for a significant upside to close out the week. The timing could not have been better for the pushers of stock certificates, because February and March were down months for the Dow and other averages, and a third straight month of losses might have opened the selling floodgates wide.

With just two trading days remaining for the month, it's a safe bet that April will end in the black on the Dow, holding off, if only temporarily, the eventual sell-off everybody knows is coming. The Dow continues to wallow roughly 2000 points below the all-time high from January 26 (26,616.71). Expect the rally that started yesterday to continue into May, for a week or two. It should be good for 1000 Dow points at the minimum before it's exhausted. Look for pivot points upon which to place short bets, play puts or sell call options.

Dow Jones Industrial Average April Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
4/2/18 23,644.19 -458.92 -458.92
4/3/18 24,033.36 +389.17 -69.75
4/4/18 24,264.30 +230.94 +161.19
4/5/18 24,505.22 +240.92 +402.11
4/6/18 23,932.76 -572.46 -170.35
4/9/18 23,979.10 +46.34 -134.01
4/10/18 24,407.86 +428.76 +294.66
4/11/18 24,189.45 -218.55 +76.11
4/12/18 24,483.05 +293.60 +369.71
4/13/18 24,360.14 -122.91 +247.80
4/16/18 24,573.04 +212.90 +460.70
4/17/18 24,786.63 +213.59 +674.29
4/18/18 24,748.07 -38.56 +635.73
4/19/18 24,664.89 -83.18 +552.55
4/20/18 24,462.94 -201.95 +350.60
4/23/18 24,448.69 -14.25 +336.35
4/24/18 24,024.13 -424.56 -88.21
4/25/18 24,083.83 +59.70 -28.51
4/26/18 24,322.34 +238.51 +210.00

At the Close, Thursday, April 26, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,322.34, +238.51 (+0.99%)
NASDAQ: 7,118.68, +114.94 (+1.64%)
S&P 500: 2,666.94, +27.54 (+1.04%)
NYSE Composite: 12,582.90, +65.04 (+0.52%)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

FAANGs, NASDAQ Under Assault as Investors Book Profits

Profit-taking in tech stocks continued on Monday as high-flying, high-p/e companies known affectionately as the FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) were subjected to relentless, high-volume selling.

For the record, here's how these tech darlings fared on Monday:
Facebook (FB) 171.47, -3.63 (-2.07%)
Apple (AAPL) 169.80, -1.25 (-0.73%)
Amazon (AMZN) 1,133.95, -28.40 (-2.44%)
Netflix (NFLX) 184.04, -2.78 (-1.49%)
Alphabet (Google, GOOG) 998.68, -11.49 (-1.14%)

General holders of these stocks are not yet alarmed over the losses which began a week ago, following the last-gasp ramping over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, because the companies have been among the best performers since January.

What is apparent is that investors are taking profits made in these stocks - none of which, other than Apple, offers dividends - and investing largely in Dow companies, all of which provide dividends to shareholders.

There's nothing unusual about what analysts typically call "sector rotation," except that the movement is quite pronounced. The S&P and Dow have outperformed the NASDAQ for six straight sessions.

With the markets less than two hours from the opening bell on Tuesday, futures are diverging wildly, with Dow futures up in the range of 130 points, while NASDAQ futures are falling by 90 points or greater.

At the Close, Monday, December 4, 2017:
Dow: 24,290.05, +58.46 (+0.24%)
NASDAQ: 6,775.37, -72.22 (-1.05%)
S&P 500: 2,639.44, -2.78 (-0.11%)
NYSE Composite: 12,634.89, +20.33 (+0.16%)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Dow Posts Best Week Of Year; NASDAQ Falls


In what was the best performance week of the year for the Dow (a nearly three percent gain), the NASDAQ lost more than one half percent.

The math is fairly simple. Outside of Apple (AAPL), which is a component of Dow 30 stock, the FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) all got beaten down.

Facebook (FB) lost 1.78%.
Netflix (NFLX) was down 0.41%.
Amazon (AMZN) fell 1.44%, and Google (GOOG) dropped 1.10%. Additionally, another of the high-fliers, Tesla (TSLA) shed 0.75%.

Those stocks make up a mammoth portion of the total volume on the NASDAQ, thus nullifying any gains by all other stocks on the index.

Fear not, however, holders of high P/E paper, because since the Senate tax legislation was cleared Saturday morning by a narrow margin, all is well in the land of the free. Monday morning futures are pointing to a moon shot open.

For the Week Ending December 1, 2017:
Dow: +673.60 (+2.86%)
NASDAQ: -41.57 (-0.60%)
S&P 500: +39.80 (+1.53%)
NYSE Composite: +192.63 (+1.55%)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

US Equites In Danger Zone After Very Volatile Week

The US economy isn't exactly on its back, but it also isn't growing by the phony 3+ percent the government reported in the past two quarters.

Speaking strictly from an economist's perspective, the US government GDP figures include grossly-inflated government spending and just about every spare dollar their statisticians can unearth from the mainland, Alaska and Hawaii.

GDP-watching is a Wall Street phenomena, serving the interests of the corporatists who need to return dividends or share growth to stockholders. Thus, it adds impetus to the argument that investing in US corporations is a good idea. That may or may not be true, depending largely upon which corporation is attracting the investing dollars.

Obviously, the FAANGs (Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Google (Alphabet, GOOG) have been the most attractive of the past six to eight years, while quite a few have faltered. Most of the stocks making gains since the GFC of 2007-09 have been the result of massive stock buybacks, a dubious distinction, as these high-fliers are the ones most prone to collapse in the case of a market rout.

They've diluted their shares and have deployed capital in one of the worst ways, buying back shares in order to boost EPS (earnings per share). Having fewer shares available while keeping profits at roughly the same level improves EPS, but it does not expand the business potential. Banks and financials are especially guilty in this regard. They're over-leveraged and will pay a price, but their executives and shareholders are happy little clams, for now.

When the share price falls, and dividends are slashed, the shareholders will be singing a different tune. The executives will be long gone because they've proven to care only about their own pockets and bonuses.

In any case, stocks ran through a very volatile week, punctuated by a massive dead-cat-bounce rally on Thursday which stanched some of the losses incurred since all-time highs the previous Tuesday.

There could be a waterfall effect developing, because confidence is waning. The holiday shopping season - which is demonstrably longer than last year's - should provide a boost, but the economy is lurching closer to two important events: the December Fed meeting and the expected rate hike, and another round of negotiations in congress over the debt ceiling limit, both mid-month.

Elsewhere, oil remains at elevated levels, above $55/barrel for WTI crude, gold and silver were bounced around but appear ready for a breakout (as they have too many times in the past four years, with nothing to show), bonds were flatter still.

At the Close, Friday, November 17, 2017:
Dow: 23,358.24, -100.12 (-0.43%)
NASDAQ 6,782.79, -10.50 (-0.15%)
S&P 500: 2,578.85, -6.79 (-0.26%)
NYSE Composite: 12,302.89, -0.39 (0.00%)

For the Week:
Dow: -63.97 (-0.27%)
NASDAQ: +31.85 (+0.47%)
S&P 500: -3.45 (-0.13%)
NYSE Composite: -19.71 (-0.16%)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Trouble In Wonderland; Amazon Drops On Disappointing 2Q Earnings

Nothing other than the usual dippity-doodle for these schizophrenic markets run almost entirely by computer algorithms as July draws to a close.

Apparently, all the new highs were just too much to handle, except in the case of the Dow, which is nearing orbital velocity, but all the other majors pulled back around midday.

The reasons for the collapse (the NASDAQ lost 130 points in roughly an hour and-a-half) were unclear, though the growing chorus of Wall Street analysts using words like bubble, overvalued, and crash may have something to do with it.

Also on the radar is tomorrow's first estimate (guess) of second quarter '17 GDP. The first quarter was nothing to scream about, at 1.6%, but there are plenty of prognosticators calling for upwards of 2.6% for the second quarter. Others remain skeptical, but the news will be released soon enough, prior to the opening bell on Friday.

After the close, Amazon released second quarter results, which were highly anticipated, but turned out to be a dud for investors.

Amazon (AMZN) reported Q2 net income of $197 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, down 77% from $857 million, or $1.78 in Q2 2016. This was on revenue of $37.955 billion, up 25% from the $30.4 billion a year ago, and above both the company's own expectations of $35.25-$37.75BN and consensus estimates of $37.18 billion. The company also reported operating margin of 1.7%, down from 2.8% last quarter and well below expectations.

Amazon was down two percent in after hours trading.

So why is everybody so skittish, or is it just the algos?

At the Close, 7/27/17:
Dow: 21,796.55, +85.54 (0.39%)
NASDAQ: 6,382.19, -40.56 (-0.63%)
S&P 500: 2,475.42, -2.41 (-0.10%)
NYSE Composite: 11,963.23, -1.68 (-0.01%)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Stocks Little Changed For Week With Tech Titans Continuing Leadership

Taken as a whole, the week on Wall Street was about as exciting as a Gheorghe Zamfir concert, without the music.

Stocks gyrated through very narrow ranges, extending a pattern that have prevailed - with only minor aberrations - since late March. In that span of time the major averages are roughly even on a daily and weekly basis, the major exception being the NASDAQ, which continues to climb without regard to fundamentals, driven largely on an odd combination of momentum, hope, faith, greed and a noticeable absence of fear, pricing out major tech companies, especially Alphabet (GOOG), parent of Google; Amazon (AMZN); Apple (AAPL); and Facebook (FB).

Those four companies have outperformed the broader market and carried the whole of Wall Street with it. In an investing environment largely devoid of critical analysis, these "no-brainers" of tech 2.0 or 3.0, or whatever moniker one wishes to place upon the rapid multiple expansion in this space, a few stocks make for giddy headlines.

The facts be damned; all of the investment money from funds and pension plans are routinely flowing into this small piece of the pie, crowding out smaller firms which operate without the largess of the Wall Street elite connected by the hip to the Federal Reserve.

It's a troubling scenario which bears watching closely as the bull market continues to run at its own pace. With the Fed and central bank cronies underwriting the entire market, there's a fakery here that is reminiscent of the tightly-held mainstream media.

Happy hunting!

At the Close, 5/12/17:
Dow: 20,896.61, -22.81 (-0.11%)
NASDAQ: 6,121.23, +5.27 (0.09%)
S&P 500: 2,390.90, -3.54 (-0.15%)
NYSE Composite: 11,547.05, -16.55 (-0.14%)

For the week:
Dow: -110.33 (-0.53%)
NASDAQ: +20.47 (0.34%)
S&P 500: -3.54 (-0.15%)
NYSE Composite: -68.54 (-0.59%)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Wall Street Stalling As DC Politicians Fight Over Nothing, Threaten Shutdown

The NASDAQ recorded another record close (6,048.94), but stocks struggled to remain positive Thursday as politicians in Washington continued to wrangle over funding the government and a potential vote on a replacement for Obamacare.

Democrats have called for a government shutdown if the Republicans bring a health care bill to the House floor before passing a continuing resolution for federal government funding.

This seems to be all that the politicos in Washington - and, apparently, the wizards of Wall Street - care about at present, though first quarter corporate earnings continue to be largely impressive.

Amazon (AMZN) and Alphabet, parent of Google (GOOG), released impressive first quarter results. Both stocks were up sharply on the day, but there was little luster elsewhere.

With gridlock having become the norm for the sacred cows of congress, investors need to begin looking beyond the sham that is government, which loses money all the time and is generally a burden to taxpayers rather than a benefit, for other catalysts to keep the eight-year bull market ramping along.

Nothing good is going to come out of Washington, DC, for the foreseeable future. Investors should turn a blind eye toward the nation's capitol and focus in on business, the true creator of capital.

At The Close, Thursday, April 27, 2017:
Dow: 20,981.33, +6.24 (0.03%)
NASDAQ: 6,048.94, +23.71 (0.39%)
S&P 500: 2,388.77, +1.32 (0.06%)
NYSE Composite: -11,578.52, -14.39 (-0.12%)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rally Falls Short in Final Hour; NASDAQ Still Down for the Week; Investors Not Biting on FANGs

Of the hardest hit stocks, many of them, including some of the tech all-stars, such as Facebook (FB), (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Alphabet (Google, GOOG), otherwise known as the FANGs have been mercilessly sold off since December, and, likely, for good reason.

Overall, their price-earnings ratios are stratospheric, they don't actually make anything, Amazon, in particular, rarely turns a profit, and they don't offer dividends, only appreciation in stock price as their sole saving grace.

Take away the increasing stock price and what have you got? Losses as far as the eye can see, and traders have recently shied and run away from these four horsemen of the internet.

The big winner today was Facebook, which gained nearly three percent, but is still down close to 10% overall. The others didn't fare quite so well. Amazon gained close to 2%, though it is still down over 12% since December 30. Netflix added back just 0.5%, and is down close to 20% since highs made the first week of December. Google, the best of the bunch, with regular profits and solid earnings quarter after quarter, gained 2% and is only down about 8% since after Christmas.

Fourth quarter earnings are coming due for the bunch of them, and market participants will be eager to note any difficulties experienced during the holiday period, though Amazon could surprise, as more and more people flocked to the web for holiday shopping in the past year.

Otherwise, it was a hopeful day on Wall Street, though the massive rally sparked by St. Louis Fed governor James Bullard's comments that the low price of oil was an impediment to the Fed's 2% inflation target, and thus, the Fed may "rethink" its interest rate hike policy for 2016.

While lower oil - and consequently gas - prices are good for everyone except possibly the oil companies and the Fed, Bullard's jawboning served to send the markets soaring on the day, wiping out much of Wednesday's steep losses.

However, the rally fell short in the final hour, as traders exhausted their buying optimism.

Not much should be made from today's trade. Stocks are still moribund and stuck well below all-time highs. The hope of making back the losses of the past two weeks is slim, and anyone thinking the indices will retrace all the way back to all-time highs made in May 2015 is whistling past the grave.

Unless earnings for the fourth quarter are utterly surprising to the upside, expect the pattern of wild swings to continue. Global markets are still in trouble, as is the worldwide currency crisis, reaching from Japan to China, Australia, Europe and even to Canada, where the looney has lost significantly to the dollar due to the downturn in the price of oil.

It's indeed unfortunate that so many keys of economics are locked to the price of oil, because, by most measures, the price is going to stay low or lower for an extended period of time, pushing all other prices down with it. At the apex of the deflationary spiral, oil, which powers more than just machines, pushes down prices for virtually all products, from manufactured to agricultural.

The rally today erased the loss for the week on the Dow, left the S&P virtually unchanged, and the NASDAQ with a 26-point loss. Friday will determine whether the week ends with a positive or negative tone.

The day's action:
S&P 500: 1,921.84, +31.56 (1.67%)
Dow: 16,379.05, +227.64 (1.41%)
NASDAQ: 4,615.00, +88.94 (1.97%)

Crude Oil 31.09 +2.00% Gold 1,077.20 -0.91% EUR/USD 1.0867 -0.14% 10-Yr Bond 2.0980 +1.55% Corn 358.25 +0.07% Copper 1.98 +1.12% Silver 13.85 -2.20% Natural Gas 2.14 -5.69% Russell 2000 1,025.67 +1.53% VIX 23.95 -5.04% BATS 1000 20,474.30 +1.64% GBP/USD 1.4412 -0.07% USD/JPY 118.0400 +0.34%

Thursday, January 30, 2014

3.2% Fourth Quarter GDP Sparks Relief Rally

Nothing really changed since Wednesday. The Fed is still going to purchase $65 billion in treasuries and mortgage-backed securities in February, $20 billion less than they did in December and in each month of 2013.

As a result, emerging markets are still struggling with reduced liquidity and runs on their various currencies.

We learned, prior to the opening bell, that fourth quarter GDP increased by 3.2%, slightly less than expected, and that 19,000 more people signed up for unemployment benefits last week, pushing the total to 348,000, the highest in about a month.

The unemployment number was widely disregarded and blamed - like everything else these days - on the weather, as the market saw plenty of alpha in a buy-the-dip mentality in what has been a down January and a choppy week of scary trading.

How the markets recover the losses incurred over the past three weeks is the big question, especially with the Fed stomping on the QE brakes. Earnings season has been nothing to get excited about, especially when, after the bell, Google and Amazon reported some very mixed results.

Google (GOOG) missed on the bottom line but beat on revenues, posting profits of just $12.01 per share on expectations of $12.26,reporting actual sales of $16.86 billion on forecasts for $16.75 billion. Shares of the giant search and technology company. Despite the miss, shares were traing about four percent higher in the after hours.

Amazon (AMZN) reported earnings of 51 cents per share, short of estimates of 69 cents, a big swing and a miss. Revenues were just short of estimates - up 20% from a year ago - at $25.59 billion when analysts were seeking $26.08 billion. Shares of the shopping megalith were down between four and eight percent in after-hours trading.

With January concluding tomorrow, it's a slam-dunk that the month will end lower, setting expectations for the full year back to "reasonable" levels. The current churn is that the "January Barometer" is not all that reliable for predicting full-year results. Of course, were stocks higher at this juncture, the barometer would be hailed as the most accurate of all investing tools and stock jockeys would be adjusting their year-end estimates towards the moon.

And, with stocks juiced, straight off the opening bell, what better time could there have been to slam gold and silver lower, as they were, unjustifiably. Still, from the perspective of gold and silver holders and buyers, the precious metals, even with higher premiums everywhere, are considered bargains at current prices.

Such is the world in a contrived environment controlled by issuance of play money to the world's elite. Fundamentals being what they are, however, reality may make a comeback in the weeks and months ahead.

DOW 15,848.61, +109.82 (+0.70%)
NASDAQ 4,123.13, +71.69 (+1.77%)
S&P 1,794.19, +19.99 (+1.13%)
10-Yr Note 100.46, +0.27 (+0.27%) Yield: 2.70%
NASDAQ Volume 1.94 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.54 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4329-1390
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 156-67
WTI crude oil: 98.23, +0.87
Gold: 1,242.20, -20.00
Silver: 19.13, -0.426
Corn: 434.00, +6/00

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stocks Gain After sluggish Start; Amazon Misses

Halfway through earnings season and the Dow has tacked on nearly 600 points since the end of June, so, we're on pace for July - if the trend remains in place - for a gain of over five percent in just this month.

Didn't somebody say, "Sell in May and go away."

In this market, they're dead wrong.

After the close, Amazon (AMZN) reported a two cent loss on expectations of a five cent gain. Revenue was a small miss, but guidance for the next quarter was very soft. The stock was bouncing around in after-hours trade, down as much as four percent.

This remains a very dull market, despite the outsize gains.

Dow 15,555.61, +13.37 (0.09%)
NASDAQ 3,605.19, +25.59 (0.71%)
S&P 500 1,690.25, +4.31 (0.26%)
NYSE Composite 9,635.04, +29.98 (0.31%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,036,177,125
NYSE Volume 3,541,185,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3927-2584
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 371-130
WTI crude oil: 105.49, +0.10
Gold: 1,328.80, +9.10
Silver: 20.15, +0.134

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dull Trading Session, But Apple, Amazon Ignite After-Hours Fireworks

The wall of worry the market climbed all summer is quickly turing into a slippery slope of dissatisfaction, mostly with corporate earnings, and, over the past few days, the accelerating pace of layoffs, something the market hasn't dealt with in any size since 2010.

Stocks opened gap up, quickly decelerated and spent the majority of the session hugging the flat line. Only in the final 15 minutes did all of the indices turn sharply positive, if gains of 0.30% or so can be called sharp, though considering the growing number of earnings misses, is probably the best that could be expected.

There was a definite expression of waiting and hoping in the sentiment today, with few traders staking out new positions in advance of earnings releases by tech giants Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (APPL), both due out after the bell.

Amazon reported just minutes after the close of markets, putting up some god-awful numbers, short on revenue at 13.81 billion when the street was looking for 13.92, and a 23 cent loss ex-items on expectations of an eight-cent dip. Including one-time charges, Amazon's loss was 60 cents per share. Investors were not pleased and immediately sent the stock careering down seven percent in after hours trading.

Shortly thereafter, Apple reported earnings of $8.67 per share for its fiscal fourth quarter, less than the consensus estimate of $8.75. Revenues came in at $35.96 billion, above the $35.8 billion that analysts had sought. Share traded about one percent lower in extended trading.

Weakness in the two tech retailers was not entirely unexpected, though in Amazon's case, the loss was quite a bit on the downside, setting up for an interesting day Friday on the NASDAQ where both Amazon and Apple trade.

Dow 13,103.68, +26.34(0.20%)
NASDAQ 2,986.12, +4.42(0.15%)
S&P 500 1,412.97, +4.22(0.30%)
NYSE Composite 8,211.87, +32.61(0.40%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,846,098,130
NYSE Volume 3,447,291,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3231-2256
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 141-98
WTI crude oil: 86.05, +0.32
Gold: 1,713.00, +11.40
Silver: 32.08, +0.458

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

After the Ramp, Amazon Pigs Go to Slaughter

There's an old market adage, one oft-repeated by the notorious Jim Cramer of CNBC infamy, and it goes, Bulls make money, Bears make money, Pigs get slaughtered.

Today's top candidates for pig of the day were the anti-silver whore banks who shorted silver with May or June 40 puts (almost a sure slaughter there), the naive investors who purchased any of the momo-stocks - Apple, Netflix, Cipolte Mexican, etc. - and those who held their recently-purchased shares of Amazon (AMZN).

The winner - though all may be declared winners, by losing at a later date - for today has to be the Amazon playas who ignored the warnings of today's market action (from above 186 to a low of 181 against the backdrop of an accelerating market rally) and held on, hoping for another blowout quarter from the world's biggest bookseller.

Oops! Amazon reported just after the closing bell that it missed analyst targets by a pretty wide shot, coming in at 44 cents per share, when the market was looking for 61 cents. Some - most likely the fast talkers on Fast Money - will take solace in the fact that they beat revenue forecasts and were beaten up by increased operating costs, but it's earnings that matter, profits, son.

Amazon got the ramp-up treatment just this past Wednesday, soaring, on no particular news or for any good reason, from 178-and-change to just below 185, before noon. On Thursday and Monday, the stock drifted at the high end of the range until it was absolutely belted today during the regular session.

What changed? Precisely nothing, except that somebody got played, and good, and you can bet your last download on your Kindle that it wasn't anybody working at Goldman Sachs or Merrill Lynch or JP Morgan. Nope, the small investor who thought he/she had it all figured out got creamed and once again is left holding the bag (that bag being of the Firesign Theatre variety, and those who don't understand the 1970s reference, grow up!).

Amazon closed the day at 182.30, a loss of 3.12, and was trading below 180 in the after-hours. It's a pretty good bet that it opens tomorrow gapped lower, and trends South from there.

As for the rest of the market, it proved once again that nobody knows anything (other than Ben Bernanke and Jaime Dimon, that is) about short-term moves in the stock market, because, for all intents and purposes, this is an overbought, frothy market top, but this writer and many others have been calling tops for months. We are all equally fallible and ignorant in the face of SIRP and QE2. We are confident tomorrow, when the Fed announces no change in rate policy and Ben Bernanke makes history with a post-nothing-announcement news conference, will be either up, down or flat.

Dow 12,595.37, +115.49 (0.93%)
NASDAQ 2,847.54, +21.66 (0.77%)
S&P 500 1,347.24, +11.99 (0.90%)
NYSE Composite 8,554.99, +69.74 (0.82%)

Advancing issues, as one might have guess, clobbered decliners, 4561-2055. On the NASDAQ, new highs totaled 158, new lows, 28. There were 318 new highs and just six new lows on the NYSE. Volume was good on the NASDAQ, still depressed on the NYSE.

NASDAQ Volume 2,070,959,125
NYSE Volume 4,391,299,000

Commodities had a storied session, especially the precious metals. After making ferocious moves for months, the expected pull-back has begun. Gold lost $5.60, closing in NY at $1,503.50, but silver took a major hit, down $2.10, to $45.05. Crude oil lost a mere seven cents, to finish the session at $112.21. Food-related commodities were mostly lower.

The math on this is pretty straightforward. Since the global banking cartel can't allow gold and silver to defeat their paper monies, they suppress the precious metals with massive short positions in the fluid, over-leveraged paper market. Since most people don't own gold or silver, they can beat the price down when necessary, though physical holders won't actually care much about day-to-day movement since the trend has been up for the past decade and shows no signs of abatement. Oil stays high, as everybody has to put fuel into vehicles or distributed energy and since dead humans don't drive much, the cost of food must not rise severely.

It's all about oil, has been for many years and isn't going to change soon. That's why wise guys and gals like gold and silver. It's a hedge, it's real money and you can't eat it out of existence.

Tomorrow, the great and glorious Ben Bernanke will quiver and quake through a non-eventful press conference after the "no change" FOMC policy announcement. Maybe Ben will offer some tidbit about how he can stop inflation in 15 minutes or some other rubbish. Most likely, however, it will be snoozing as usual and the market will go... somewhere.