Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Market Reflections 3/16/2009

Ben Bernanke's reassuring interview on Sunday TV, where he said the recession may come to an end this year, did not make for a full day of gains on Monday. The S&P 500, up most of the day, ended at its lows, down 0.4 percent at 753.89. Economic data in the session included a major drop in foreign buying of U.S. securities, news that hurt the dollar which slipped 1/2 cent against the euro to end at $1.2966. Other data included another steep decline in industrial production and an Empire State report that points to further declines for the manufacturing sector in the months ahead. The housing market index was also decidedly negative, holding at a record low as customer traffic evaporates further.

But there was good news and it came from the U.K. where Barclays joined Citigroup and Bank of America saying that business so far this year has been good. Money moved out of the safety of Treasury. Yields rose on the front-end of the Treasury curve with the 3-month bill up 4 basis points to end at 0.22 percent.

Oil actually rose in the session despite OPEC's surprise decision over the weekend to hold output steady. But prices moved higher in any case, up about $1 to end just over $47 for April WTI. Gold ended little changed at $924.50.

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