Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Market Reflections 2/3/2009

Vehicle sales were extremely weak in January in news that pushes concern over auto makers to a new level of urgency. The results will raise talk of major bankruptcies.

The news on vehicles sales surprisingly did not affect the market, at least in Tuesday's session. Shares of GM and Ford were little changed. The Dow industrials posted a strong 1.8 percent gain. Many companies warning of trouble ahead, including Dow Chemical, Cummins Engine and homebuilder DR Horton, posted gains on the session.

What did give a boost to the market was a bounce in pending home sales which, together with last week's report on existing home sales, are raising talk that low mortgage rates and falling home prices are finally giving a boost to the housing sector. The pending home sales data along with the stock market's gain pulled money out of the Treasury market where yields jumped sharply, including an 18 basis point jump to 3.66 percent for the 30-year bond.

News of a labor agreement between refiners and refinery workers hit the wires at the market close. But the news was expected and isn't likely to move oil prices which have been little changed in recent sessions at just over $40. Gold ended little changed at just over $900. The dollar fell 1-1/2 cents against the euro to $1.3036.

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