Thursday, October 22, 2009

Market Reflections 10/22/2009

Earnings were mostly positive Thursday, led by 3M and McDonald's and including two from the financial sector: PNC and Travelers. After-the-close earnings were especially strong including big surprises from credit-card issuer Capital One and good results from both American Express and Amazon. Economic news was mixed as a gain for the index of leading economic indicators, a gain skewed by its heavy weighting on the yield curve, was offset by a slight rise in initial jobless claims. The dollar gained back some of yesterday's steep loss, up 0.2 percent on the dollar index to 75.14. Commodities were little changed, holding onto yesterday's big rallies in oil and base metals.

Market Reflections 10/21/2009

Deepening weakness in the dollar is heightening talk that policy makers are pursuing a deliberate, thinly masked devaluation policy to raise inflation in a move to monetize the government's debt. This talk has been going on all year in the commodities markets but is now appearing in broader research including today from Morgan Stanley which says there is "the possibility that central banks might want to engineer controlled inflation to reduce the public debt burden." Until an exit strategy is announced, traders are saying that foreign investors will seek to protect themselves with non-dollar assets and that the markets will taunt the Fed by selling dollars and buying commodities.

The dollar index fell a steep 0.7 percent to 74.99 with the dollar testing the key $1.5000 level against the euro, a break of which may, according to traders, trigger intervention from the ECB. Oil hit new 2009 highs, rising $1-1/2 to end at $81 with copper and zinc also hitting 2009 highs. Gold led commodity gains earlier in the month and, pressured by profit-taking, was unable to make much ground, ending only $5 higher at $1,060. Earnings news was mixed, headed by a huge loss at Boeing which continues to suffer from costs associated with prior production delays. Charles Schwab, citing the drag from the dollar, is recommending that U.S. investors seek companies in sectors with broad international exposure including technology, materials, industrials, and energy. The S&P fell 0.9 percent to 1,081.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Market Reflections10/20/2009

A soft housing starts report that included a decline in permits sent the S&P down 0.6 percent to 1,091, offsetting a run of strong earnings reports led Tuesday by heavy equipment maker Caterpillar. The dollar index firmed slightly to 75.52. Commodities were little changed with oil ending at $78.50 and gold at $1,056. Money moved into Treasuries where the 10-year yield fell 5 basis points to 3.34 percent

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Market Reflections 10/19/2009

Stocks continued to rise, making new 2009 highs boosted by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke who did not offer any timeline for a change to a less stimulative monetary policy. The S&P gained 1 percent to end just short of 1,100 at just under 1,098. Earnings after the close point to big gains tomorrow with both Apple and Texas Instruments easily beating expectations on both earnings and sales.

Low interest rates interest in the U.S. vs. expectations for rising rates in other economies continue to hurt the dollar. The dollar index fell 0.4 percent to 75.34. The decline in the dollar pushed commodities higher especially base metals where copper gained 10 cents to $2.93. Oil, ending at $79.25, continues to firm on what appears to be an approach to $80. Gold ended at just over $1.060.