Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Market Reflections 3/2/2009

The steady flow of bad news continues. In the latest handout for American International Group, the Treasury is injecting another $30 billion into the insurer. The news did not lift confidence in financial shares which tumbled again: Citigroup fell 19 percent to $1.22 with Bank of America down 9 percent at $3.59. By day's end, the S&P 500 was testing support at 700, falling through for a moment but ending at 700.84 for a 4.7 percent plunge on the day.

Economic data was surprisingly positive including an ISM manufacturing report that showed a second straight month of comparative firmness and which is leading some to say that the worst may be over. Also of note in the day's data was the savings rate for January, at a 13-year high of 5 percent and evidence that consumers are definitely holding back.

Money moved into the dollar which rose about 1 cent against the euro to end at $1.2576. Money also moved deeper into the Treasury market where the 3-month yield fell 2 basis points to 0.23 percent with the 2-year down 9 basis points at 0.88 percent.

An odd twist is that gold failed to get a lift from the flight out of the stock market, ending at $939 for a $5 decline from Friday. Oil fell more than $4 from Friday to end at $40.03 for April WTI, a loss that traders attribute to the global run of bad economic news.

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