Daily Investment Interpretations Archive

January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011
July 1, 2010, to December 31, 2010
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January 1, 2010, to June 30, 2010
 
July 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009
January 1, 2009, to June 30, 2009
July 1, 2008, to December 31, 2008
May 7, 2008, to June 30, 2008

2012-1-5: (Thursday Night): The markets closed mixed: Stocks recoup losses on jobs data, bank rally, Bulls Ignore Europe; Focus on Positive Data. The NASDAQ Composite gained 0.36 (0.81%) to 2,669.86. The Dow gave back 2.72 points (-0.02% to 12,415.70; the S&P 500 ratcheted up 3.76 points (0.29%) to settle at 1,281.06a. Oil fell to 101.64: Oil down; gold moved up to 1,619: Gold gains. The VIX lost 0.74 points to 21.48.
    "Evidence of solid shopping numbers after the holidays and healthy car sales assuage concerns about Europe's debt troubles."
    Marketwatch says:  
    China's property woes spread (video) 
    Euro slips under $1.28   
    Bull Markets, Past and Present: Is the Rally Over?
.
    150,000 new jobs predicted  
    5 must-have skills for job seekers in 2012  
    Kevin Marder says that Stocks are on a steady roll.
    Start believing in banks again  
    Defense firms target GOP field (video) "Defense executives reach out the field of candidates as part of efforts to stem expected defense-budget cuts."
    Matthew Lynn asks What would it take to burst gold’s price?     
    Peter Brimelow observes that Stealth Stocks Daily is 2011 Letter of the Year.  
    Chuck Jaffe suggests that we ‘Invest’ in the lottery; ‘gamble’ in the market.  

    State of the Markets articles include: 
    Greece Could Default As Early As March If Further Cuts Aren't Made  
    One Day At A Time
    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index Shows Service Sector Continues to Expand   
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Ticks Higher  
    ADP Employment Report Shows Big Jump In Jobs for December 
    Challenger Planned Job Cuts at 42K in December  
    France Bond Auction Sees Strong Demand But Slightly Higher Yields   
    2012 Outlook - What Are They Saying? (Part II)    
      
    Market futures are neutral again tonight. 
    


2012-1-4: (Wednesday Night): The markets closed flat: Stocks ring up on sales, Stocks Pause in Front of Jobs Report. The NASDAQ Composite inched down 0.36 (-0.01%) to 2,648.36. The Dow tacked on 21.04 points (0.17% to 12,418.42; the S&P 500 minced up 0.24 points (0.02%) to settle at 1,277.30. Oil worked its way higher to 103.45: Oil closes at 8-month high; gold hiked up to 1,613: Gold basks in renewed safe-haven demand. The VIX lost 0.75 points to 22.22.
    "Evidence of solid shopping numbers after the holidays and healthy car sales assuage concerns about Europe's debt troubles."
    Marketwatch says:  
    Mark Hulbert tells us How to play the January Effect. (Only the smallest stocks show a January effect.) 
    Romney’s overfocused on deficit: Delamaide  Darrell Delamaide echoes the same theme that Rex Nutting and Dr. Irwin Kellner have sounded.   
   
Oil prices will never fall again.
    Europe bonds now face crucial test  
    Europe at the Brink (video) 
    Latest threat to Greece debt deal (video)  
    Spain banks to set aside €50B on bad debt: FT 
    Should you buy Wall Street’s top stocks?  
    Hungary’s unpredictable government sparks selloff  
    Big jump for U.S. automobile sales  
    When could the Fed do QE3?  
    Why you will fail in 2012  
    Retailers’ likely December sales may come at cost  

    State of the Markets articles include: 
    Technical Talk: More Art Than Science Right Now  
    Do The Bulls Have a Case?
    Eurozone Bank Fears Return As ECB Deposits Hit New Record High   
    Factory Orders Rose +1.8% in November  
    China's Wen Jiabao Says Business Conditions 'Relatively Difficult'  
    NAAIM Index Show Active Managers Increasing Exposure  
    Investor's Intelligence Data Shows Sentiment Neutral   
    Germany's Bond Auction Deemed Underwhelming  
    Yields Pull Back at Portugal Bond Auction  
    Hungary Cancels Bond Auction Due to Yield Levels  
      
    Market futures are neutral tonight. 
    


2012-1-3: (Tuesday Night): The markets leaped: U.S. stocks start 2012 with rally on global data, Bulls Get Year Started On the Right Foot. The NASDAQ Composite rose 43.57 (1.67%) to 2,648.72. The Dow tacked on 179.82 points (1.47% to 12,397.38; the S&P 500 went up 19.46 points (1.56%) to settle at 1,277.06. Oil jumped to 102.97: Crude oil tops $100; gold hiked up to 1,604: Gold tops $1,600 mark. The VIX lost 0.43 points to 22.97.
    
    Marketwatch says:  
    Mark Hulbert tells us that: The first shall be last. Last year's winners are this year's losers.
    Mark also tells about Winning the inflation battle but losing the war , and January has a surprise in store
: the third year in an election cycle is the strong year; the fourth year is pretty flat.
    One eye on Wall Street, the other on Europe  
    Ashbaugh charts a strong 2012 start 
    German unemployment hits record low (video).
    Merkel and Sarkozy to meet Jan. 9 
    Europe stocks higher, despite Spain's gloom  
    ISM manufacturing gauge hits six-month high  
    What is gold telling us?  

    State of the Markets articles include: 
    Technical Talk: Can The Generals Prevail?  
    FOMC Minutes Show Fed Will Begin Forecasting Rate Changes
    Construction Spending Up in November; Above Expectations   
    ISM Manufacturing Index Continues To Improve in U.S  
    The Real Key To 2012  
    All Eyes Will Be on France and Germany Bond Auctions; Italy and Spain on Tap  
    Greece May Be Forced to Leave Eurozone   
    UK Manufacturing PMI Above Consensus  
      
    Market futures are neutral tonight. 


2011-12-30: (Friday Night): The markets fell a little. The NASDAQ Composite dropped 8.59 to 2,605.15. The Dow drifted up 69.48 points  to 12,217.56; the S&P 500 went down 5.42 points (-0.43%) to settle at 1,257.60 Oil crept down to 99.06: Crude tops $100/barrel; gold inched up a bit to 1,567. The VIX gained 0.75 points to 22.65.
    
    Marketwatch says:  
    Irwin Kellner writes: New year’s surprise for the economy?
    Doubt clouds U.S. outlook
    One eye on Wall Street, the other on Europe  
    S&P 500 returns to critical 1,260 level 
    PMI data underline euro-zone recession fears
    ECB settles bond purchases totaling €462 bln  
    Merkel, Sarkozy to meet ahead of EU summit  

    State of the Markets articles include: 
    Europe Update: Germany's Schaeuble Says Eurozone Will Stabilize Within 12 Months   
    Did Anybody Get it Right in 2011? Perhaps Doug Kass Came Closest
    Hungary's New Central Bank Law Threatens EU/IMF Support   
    Fitch Downgrades Egypt's Sovereign Debt Rating  
    China's HSBC PMI Up in December But Still Below 50.0  
    China's PMI Above Expectations; Returns to Expansionary Mode  
    New Orders Rise in Eurozone during December   
    The 2012 Outlook? What Are They Saying-  
      
    Market futures are unavailable tonight. 
    


2011-12-29: (Thursday Night): The markets soared: Stocks ride data higher, Stocks Rebound in Quiet Session on Auction, U.S. Data  The NASDAQ Composite rose 23.76 points (0.92%) to close at 2,613.74. The Dow drifted up 135.63 points (1.12%) to 12,287.04; the S&P 500 went up 13.38 points (1.07%) to settle at 1,263.02 Oil crept up to 99.88: Oil rises on Iran worries; gold inched up a bit to 1,560: Gold falls further. The VIX lost 0.87 points to 22.65.
    Today's Italian bond auction went reasonably well: Italy's Bond Auction Sees Yields Fall But Tepid Demand.
    Marketwatch says:  
    Home sales jump 7.3% to highest in 19 months
    Jobless claims rise but stay below 400K
    Chicago PMI holds up better than expected  
    Delamaide: Elusive economic enlightenment  Darrell Delamaide echoes what Paul Krugman and MarketWatch economists have been saying: the stimulus worked, and was just enough to keep the U. S. out of a death spiral but not enough to effect a robust recovery. 
    Retirement-plan changes in 2012  
    10 surprises for 2012  

    State of the Markets articles include: 
    Technical Talk: Resistance Remains a Problem   
    Hungary's Auction Fails; Is This The Next Big Problem?
    Weekly Jobless Claims Up 15K to 381K in Latest Week   
    The Macro View May Be Ugly But Bulls Should Get Benefit of Doubt (For Now)  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Slips  
    Chicago PMI Comes In Ahead of Expectations  
    Thoughts on Gold's Plunge, Currency Decoupling, and Stocks   
    Pending Home Sales Rise In November; Best Level in 19 Months  
      
    Market futures are flat again tonight. 
    Only one more trading day to go.


2011-12-28: (Wednesday Night): The markets swooned: U.S. stocks end sharply lower on Europe worries, Stocks Slide Ahead of Italian Auction  The NASDAQ Composite fell 35.22 points (-1.34%) to close at 2,589.98. The Dow drifted down 139.94 points (-1.14%) to 12,151.41; the S&P 500 went down 15.79 points (-1.25%) to settle at 1,249.64 Oil crept down to 99.54: Oil locks in sixth straight; gold closed sharply lower at 1,555: Gold's fifth decline. The VIX gained 1.18 points to 23.42.
    Euro falls to 15-month low   The Euro fell below $1.30 against the dollar as investors awaited the next Italian auction.       
    Marketwatch says:
    ECB balance sheet expands 
    How the 'January Effect' works
    Don’t miss energy's ‘technolution’
    Coal shares for a greener portfolio   
    Proof that technical analysis can work  
    Walking away from gold, health, China  
    Online spending jumps   
    Online gambling stocks spurred by DOJ opinion  
    Brett Arends writes The online poker gold rush.
    Dave Callaway: 2012 will be Year of the Greenback  
 
    State of the Markets articles include: 
    The Bazooka Looking Like a Dud as Banks Redeposit Funds with ECB    
    NAAIM Index Shows Active Managers Staying Cautious
    Rates Plunge at Latest Italian T-Bill Auction; Thursday's Bond Auction Eyed   
      
    Market futures are flat tonight.  


2011-12-23: (Friday Night): The markets closed mixed today: Blue-chip streak halts, Stocks Mostly Unchanged; Traders Still Away for Holidays .  The NASDAQ Composite rose 6.56 points (0.25%) to close at 2,625.20. The Dow drifted down 2.65 points (-0.02%) to 12,291.35; the S&P 500 drifted up 0.1 points (0.01%) to settle at 1,265.43. Oil crept up to 101,18: Oil locks in sixth straight; gold closed at 1,595: Gold loses ground for fourth straight session. The VIX lost 1.18 points to 21.91.
             
    Marketwatch says:
    Ken Tower: 'Lack of conviction' curbs bulls (audio) 
    Dow industrials eye May 2 high 
    China's at a 33-month low
    Time for a New Year's resolution   
      
    State of the Markets articles include: 
    TA Not-So Happy New Year: Global Gloom and Doom from Nouriel Roubini    
    Consumer Confidence Surges in U.S. For Second Month
    Case Shiller Home Price Index Falls For Second Month  
    Spain To Enter Recession During Fourth Quarter: Economy Minister  
    A Closer Look At the "Strong" Durable Goods Report    
    Holiday Retail Sales Between Ho-Ho-Ho and Ho-Hum 
      
    Market futures are flat tonight.   


2011-12-23: (Friday Night): All the screens were green again today as the Santa Claus rally rolled on: S&P back in black for 2011, .  The NASDAQ Composite rose 19.19 points (0.74%) to close at 2,618.64. The Dow added 124.35 points (1.02%) to 12,284.0; the S&P 500 accrued 11.33 points (0.9%) to settle at 1,265.33. Oil crept up to 99.86: Futures: Crude probes $100 a barrel; gold closed at 1,608: Gold lower on dollar strength, Futures: Crude probes $100 a barrel. The VIX lost 0.43 points to 21.73.
    In the meantime, bad things are happening: Dollar gains as Italy’s yields top 7%, but the stock market is currently ignoring bad news.         
    Marketwatch says:
    New homes nail target of 315,000  
    Spending, incomes both nudge 0.1% higher 
    Transportation boosts durable-goods growth
    Congress OKs payroll tax-cut extension   
    Mark Hulbert: Is 2012 doomed without Santa?  
    Efforts to reach new EU pact expose rifts   
          
    State of the Markets articles include: 
    Technical Talk: Santa Shows Up To Lend Bulls a Hand    
    Understanding The Game Being Played
    Personal Income and Consumption a Little Light in November   
    Durable Goods Orders Report Strong in November  
    French GDP Stays Positive in Q3; Producer Prices a Little Hot    
    Daily Dose of Downgrades: S&P To Update Eurozone Ratings in January  


2011-12-22: (Thursday Night): All the screens were green today as the Santa Claus rally gained momentum.  U.S. stocks lifted by data, Bulls Rally On Positive Economic Data.  The NASDAQ Composite upshifted 21.48 points (0.83%) to close at 2,599.45. The Dow gained 61.91 points (0.51%) to 12,169.65; the S&P 500 escalated  10.28 points (0.83%) to settle at 1,254.00. Oil crept up to 99.41: Oil extends streak to top $99; gold backed down to 1,607: Gold up $20. The VIX lost 0.27 points to 21.16.
   
However, there
's overhead resistance at 1,260 on the S&P 500, and there might be some profit-taking when that threshold is crossed.  
    Consumer sentiment better than forecast
    Leading indicators suggest continued growth  
    Jobless claims at lowest levels since 2008 
    Third-quarter GDP growth revised down to 1.8% 
    Emerging markets comeback   
    Markets sailing east by southeast  
    An opportunity trade in Europe   

    A better year ahead for Nasdaq      
    Home prices off 0.2% in October  
    Rate on 30-year mortgage plumbs record low  

    State of the Markets articles include: 
    Can We Just Ignore It?    
    Leading Economic Index Report Better Than Expected; Says Risk of Downturn Has Receded
    Fitch Says US Could Lose 'AAA' Rating In 2013 If Budget Isn't Dealt With   
    FHFA House Price Index Falls in October  
    Investor's Intelligence Data Shows Bulls On The Rise    
    University of Michigan Sentiment Above Expectations  
    Weekly Jobless Claims Continue To Improve; Down 4K in Latest Week  
    U.S. GDP Grew By +1.8% in Third Quarter; Analysts Expect More in Q4  
    Twas The Night Before Christmas-2011
    House Speaker Boehner Says Deal Reached on Payroll Tax Cut Extension  
      
    Market futures are up ½ % tonight. 
    There are only six more trading days until the end of the year. 


2011-12-21: (Wednesday Night): The markets backed and filled today, closing nearly flat: Nasdaq falls 1% but Dow and S&P inch higher, Bulls Rally Back After Oracle, Europe Raise Concern.  The NASDAQ Composite fell 25.76 points (-0.99%) to close at 2,577.97. The Dow wriggled up 4.16 points (0.03%) to 12,107.74; the S&P 500 jumped  2.42 points (0.19%%) to settle at 1,243.72. Oil closed up at 99.05: Oil up 3% on upbeat economic data as dollar falls, Crude oil supplies fall 4.6 million barrels; gold rose to 1,617: Gold up $20. The VIX lost 1.79 points to 21.43.
    
    Thomas Kee warns us of Single-Digit P/E multiples in 2012. Tough times ahead, quoth he.  
    Is the euro crisis over? 
    Darell Delamaide weites: Last hurrah for Fed nemisis Ron Paul.  
    Paul Farrell tells us that 99% plan new tax war on Super Rich in 2012.   

    
    State of the Markets articles include: 
    Technical Talk: A New Reason To Sell    
    Cramer/Roque And 'The Pretty Girls' Index
    Existing Home Sales Up 4% in November; Prior Years Revised Lower   
    National Association of Active Investment Managers Index Show Active Managers Stayed Neutral  
    Investor's Intelligence Data Shows Bulls On The Rise  
    Is This Thing Over?  
    Japan's Exports Fall For Second Consecutive Month  
    Italy's Economoy Sinks Into Fifth Recession Since 2001  
    ECB's 3-Year LTRO Funding Facility Met With Strong Demand at 489 billion Euros  
     
    Market futures are neutral tonight. 
    There are only seven more trading days until the end of the year.
Mark Hulbert says: Here comes good old Santa Claus. The Santa Claus rally has arrived.


2011-12-20: (Tuesday Night): The markets reached for the sky today: Dow tacks on 300 points, Stocks Soar as Spanish Yields Shrink.  The NASDAQ Composite hopped 80.59 points (3.19%) to close at 2,603.73. The Dow skipped 337.17 points (2.87%) to 12,103.43; the S&P 500 jumped  35.95 points (2.98%) to settle at 1,241.30. Oil closed up at 97.48 : Oil up 3% on upbeat economic data as dollar falls, Crude oil supplies fall 4.6 million barrels; gold rose to 1,617: Gold up $20. The VIX lost 1.74 points to 23.18.
    The cause of all this holiday jollity? The fact that yields dropped sharply on Spanish and Italian bond auctions: Spain short-term borrowing costs fall sharply, and that: Housing starts jump 9.3% thanks to multifamily
    As usual, the market indices made their biggest moves within the first minute of trading, and most of the rest of the moves within two more minutes after opening.
    Kevin Marder writes Euro markets are a real Drag(hi).  
    Bearish to start before 2012 turns bullish  This article predicts more bumps in the road before the Fed introduces another round of quantitative easing in mid-2012.

    Michael Ashbaugh tells us that Market bulls challenge the breakdown point.  
    Hulbert: Parallels between 2012 and Y2K.
    A tale of two statistics. Irwin Kellner discusses the distinction between employment numbers and unemployment numbers... they're gathered and tallied in different ways. Bottom Line: Things may be getting better in the job market.
    Brett Arends asks, Will the Europeans have to sell their gold? (He suggests that the decline in gold prices over the past few weeks might mean that they're already selling some of it.)
    
    State of the Markets articles include: 
    Technical Talk: Screens Are Green But Has Anything Changed?    
    Yields Dive at Spanish T-Bill Auction; Has The Bazooka Been Fired?  "While the ECB has not officially announced the introduction of the much anticipated “bazooka” in order to drive yields down (and has repeatedly denied that a limitless bond buying program is forthcoming), the overall goal appears to have been achieved at the latest Spanish T-Bill auction. Although ECB President Mario Draghi has reminded the markets on numerous occasions that it is against the central bank’s charter to provide loans to or bailout member states, the unorthodox measures taken at last week’s monthly meeting may be starting to take the sting out of the current crisis. Recall that the ECB introduced last week two three-year LTRO facilities which will provide banks with unlimited funding at 1%, with the first such offering beginning later today. This will allow banks to participate in the buying of sovereign debt from neighboring countries and hopefully restore confidence to the debt markets. Dubbed the “Sarko Trade,” as the idea of borrowing from the ECB at 1% and investing in sovereign debt at much higher rates, was originally offered by France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, the hope is that Europe’s banks will effectively do what many had hoped the ECB would do by firing their own bazookas at the problem.
    "If the T-Bill auction in Spain held on Tuesday is any indication, the move looks to be a resounding success so far.
"
    Fed's Kocherlakota More Optimistic About Economy's Outlook 
    Stuck In The Middle With EU (And the Banks)   
      
    Market futures are neutral tonight. 
    There are only eight more trading days until the end of the year.


2011-12-19: (Monday Night): The markets fell today: Stocks run from Europe, Stocks Fall As Traders Can't Find Holiday Spirit.  The NASDAQ Composite subtracted 32.19 points (-1.28%) to close at 2,523.14. The Dow dropped 100.13 points (-0.84%) to 11,766.26; the S&P 500 stepped down  14.31 points (-1.17%) to settle at 1,205.35. Oil inched up to 94.12: : gold closed up at 1,602: Gold drops, money-market funds swell. The VIX lost 0.63 points to 24.92.
    The markets are bounded on the upside by Eurozone problems (A warning from ECB's Draghi), and on the downside, by unexpectedly good U. S. news: NAHB Hombuilder Confidence Index Up For Third Consecutive Month
    David Marsh writes France finally realizing euro was a bad deal.  
    John Nyardi says, Expect a colossal holiday rally This title is, perhaps, a bit misleading. What Mr. Nyardi is saying is that the VIX isn
't forecasting a lot of trouble in the markets, and that if the European problems can be solved, then the Spam and Italy ETFs might be in for big boosts.
    Jon Markman lists 8 reasons why investors are selling into 2012.  
    A Merrill-Lynch analyst, Mary Ann Bartels, explains: Santa Claus not coming to Wall Street.
    Euro-zone risks worst since Lehman
    
    State of the Markets articles include: 
    Technical Talk: Bulls Hanging By a Thread    
    EU Finance Ministers Fail To Agree on Increasing Bailout Funds  
    ECB President Draghi Downplays Central Bank's Role in Crisis Management 
    Moody's Downgrades Belgium Rating 2 Notches   
    A Brief History of the EU/Eurozone (A Very Simple Guide)    
   
Will It Work?  
    NAHB Hombuilder Confidence Index Up For Third Consecutive Month  
    Is It The Action or Something Else?     
    Flipping The Switch  
      
    Market futures are up ½ % tonight. 
    There are only nine more trading days until the end of the year.


2011-12-16: (Friday Night): The markets rose a trifle more today on good domestic news: Stocks end week down 3%, Video Update: Weekly Market Summary.  The NASDAQ Composite added 14.32 points (0.56%) to close at 2,555.33. The Dow dropped 2.42 points (0.38%) to 11,866.39; the S&P 500 plodded up another 3.91 points (0.32%) to settle at 1,219.66. Oil inched down to 93.78: Oil settles lower as relief buying fizzles: gold closed up at 1,602: Gold drops, money-market funds swell. The VIX lost 0.82 points to 24.29.
    There isn't much to say tonight. We're certainly in a news-driven investing environment. What happens on Monday will depend upon what happens this weekend.
    France seen slipping into recession in 2012
    Moody's cuts Belgium to 'Aa3'; outlook negative 
    Fitch issues downgrade warnings on Euro nations  
    No fix for euro crisis likely
    Mark Hulbert: Market will be 10% higher in six months.  
    Howard Gold confesses, I called the right stock-market moves in 2011.  
    Al Lewis writes the hilarious, Time’s Person of the Year is a wimp.
      
    State of the Markets articles include: 
    Technical Talk: Watch Momentum Indicators For Tell    
    What To Expect Next and How I'm Playing The Game 
    Fitch Says Comprehensive Solution in Eurozone 'Beyond Reach'   
    Fitch Affirms France's AAA Rating But Moves Outlook To Negative    
   
Fitch Downgrades Eight "Systemically Important" Banks  
    S&P Downgrades 10 Spanish Banks  
    Is It The Action or Something Else?     
    Flipping The Switch  
    Consumer Price Index (CPI) Unchanged in November  
    Italy's Monti Wins Confidence Vote on Austerity Measures  
    Deal Reached To Avoid U.S. Government Shutdown   
      
    It's only two more weeks until the end of the year.


2011-12-15: (Thursday Night): The markets rose a trifle today on good domestic news: Stocks close up, off highs: U.S. Sees Strong Data; Bulls Unable To Capitalize.  The NASDAQ Composite gained a measly 1.7 points (0.07%) to close at 2,541.01. The Dow added 45,.33 points (0.38%) to 11,868.81; the S&P 500 moved up 3.93 points (0.32%) to settle at 1,215.75. Oil retreated to 93.92: Oil settles lower as relief buying fizzles: gold closed at 1,582: Gold drops, money-market funds swell. The VIX lost 0.93 points to 25.11.
    
    Foreign banks borrow $54 billion through Fed 
    Damp market grows damper "Weakness is seen as a positive, as it will force the hand of weaker holders, hastening the cleanout of a market that still contains some excesses."
    Fitch downgrades ratings on six banks  
    Wall Street too keen on more QE?  This article suggests that the markets have already priced in the effects of further quantitative easing, but argues that this may be too soon.  
    Rex Nutting asks, Is the government lying about economy? He concludes that it's not because the economic data is inimical to the current administration. 
    Jobless claims drop  "The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits at lowest level since May 2008."
    Mortgage rates drop back to record lows  
    Iraq war serves as a $4 trillion IOU 
    Europe faces a long slog in debt crisis  
    Peter Brimelow asks, Are the bears vindicated?  

    State of the Markets articles include:   
    IMF Chief Lagarde: Global Economic Outlook "Gloomy"  
    Philly Fed Business Outlook Improves; Above Expectations   
    U.S. Foreclosures Drop 14% Over Past Year; Lowest Rate in 3 Years
   
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Shows Modest Improvement  
    Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization Update     
    Flipping The Switch  
    Empire Manufacturing Report Shows Solid Improvement in December  
    Producer Price Index Up +0.3% in November  
    Weekly Jobless Claims Continue To Improve; Fall 19K 
    Spain Sees Rates Fall at Latest 5-Year Bond Auction   
    Eurozone PMI's Improve But Show Contraction Continues  
      
    Market futures are up modestly tonight.


2011-12-14: (Wednesday Night): The markets sank further today, as Euro falls below $1.30 on debt worries: Stocks can't shake eurozone worries, Risk Switch in Off Position; Gold, Stocks Lower Again .  The NASDAQ Composite dwindled 39.96 points (-1.55%) to close at 2,539.31. The Dow retreated 131.46 points (-1.1%) to 11,823.48; the S&P 500 fell another 13.91 points (-1.13%) to settle at 1,211.82. Oil rose to 99.84: Gold and oil spiraling south: gold inched up to 1,715: Gold quits 200-day moving average for first time in three years. The VIX moved up 0.69 points to 26.10: Vix moves below its 200-day.
    Yields Hit New Euro-Era High At Italian Bond Auction, which helps explain the present market funk.
    Matthew Lynn writes: This slump won't end until 2031. Mr. Lynn is writing a book explaining that the present financial crisis mirrors the 23-year slump that began with the Depression of 1873 rather than the 1929 debacle. 
    Mark Hulbert: Gold bugs throwing in the towel
    Time to short the stock market?  
    Brett Arends tells us that Money managers fear euro breakup.    
    Crisis costs Germany  
    Dr. Irwin Kellner writes: Is a clear-speaking Fed a good thing?  
    Darell Delamaide observes that It’s the Fed, Stupid, that the 2012 residential election will revolve around whether or not the Fed can keep the economy growing.   
    Rex Nutting revisits the rich/poor dichotomy, and the Occupy Wall Street movement. 
    After lull, rich get back to getting richer  

    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Technical Talk: Bears Now Have Possession  
    Is There A Reason? (Does There Need To Be?)   
    And Now a Word From Our Nattering Nabob of Negativism
   
The Early Look: Sentiment Stays Negative  
    Rumors of Imminent French Downgrade Hits Euro, Stocks     
    Import Prices Rose +0.7% in November; Export Prices Little Changed  
    Investor's Intelligence Data Shows Sentiment Declining  
    Europe Update: France Says S&P Has Not Warned of Downgrade  
     
    Market futures are neutral again tonight.


2011-12-13: (Tuesday Night): The markets turned up this morning, but were bombed by German Chancellor Angel Merkel: Merkel Rejects Raising Bailout Cap. Then it rose again and was bombed again by the Fed: Fed strikes a sell chord. The NASDAQ Composite Descended 32.99 points (-1.26%) to close at 2,579.27. The Dow retreated 66.45 points (-0.55%) to 11,954.94; the S&P 500 hit the silk to fall 10.74 points (-0.87%) to settle at 1,225.73. Oil rose to 99.84: Oil futures drop: gold inched up to 1,715: Gold's next stop — $1,600?. The VIX crept downward 0.26 points to 25.41. (I have no idea why the VIX has fallen during the past two days, at a time when the markets are also falling significantly.
    
    Moody's: EU sovereign ratings still under pressure
    Fitch: Euro-zone debt crisis will linger into 2012
    Thomas Kee says Politics keeping the market down.n  
    Emperor's market has no clothes    
    
    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Technical Talk: All Computers, All The Time  
    Let Me Get This Straight   
    Iran Closes the Straits of Hormuz
   
Fed Stays Course With Policy; Says Economy Expanding Moderately  
    Business Inventories Increased by +0.8% in October     
    Eurozone Fiscal Compact Still In Question on Many Fronts  
    Retail Sales Results for U.S. Disappointing in November  
     
    Market futures are neutral tonight.


2011-12-12: (Monday Night): The markets tanked today on news that Moody's and Fitch have threatened to downgrade European debt (again?), and on yields rising above 10% on en-year Italian bonds: Indexes pare their losses, . The NASDAQ Composite Descended 34.59 points (-1.31%) to close at 2,612.26. The Dow retreated 162.07 points (-1.34%) to 12,021.39; the S&P 500 hit the silk to fall 18.72 points (-1.49%) to settle at 1,236.47. Oil rose to 99.84: Oil futures drop: gold inched up to 1,715: Gold ends at seven-week low on Euro woes. The VIX crept downward 0.71 points to 25.67
    
    Moody's: EU sovereign ratings still under pressure
    Fitch: Euro-zone debt crisis will linger into 2012
    Years' worth of home-sales data to be revised lower  
    Housing market in doldrums till 2016-
    Fiscal union missteps are distractions             
    American privilege rots an empire from within  This is an article written by Andy Xie in China's Caixin online. I find it particularly interesting because I suspect that Andy Xie has an international perspective. Hi principal thesis is that an ever-larger fraction of Americans are inheriting wealth and power without having to work for it.
    
    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Technical Talk- The Machines Are In Charge  
    Confidence Fades Amidst Rising Rates in Italy, Spain and Moody's Warning   
    Italian T-Bill Auction Sees Rates Fall Modestly
    Moody's Unimpressed With EU Summit; To Review Ratings     
    Do You Believe?  
    Hedge Funds Throw In The Towel (At Exactly The Wrong Time)   
    Intel Reduces Earnings Guidance for Quarter   
    Notable Notes and Quotable Quotes From the Week That Was  

    Market futures are neutral-to-up tonight.


2011-12-9: (Friday Night): The markets reversed course and closed up today about as much as they lost yesterday on news that the EU leadership has reached agreement on changes in the EU treaty that give the major European states some control over the budgets of the smaller states: Dow rises back to black, Stocks rally on Europe's new deal. The NASDAQ Composite ascended 50.47 points (1.94%) to close at 2,646.85. The Dow advanced 186.66 points (1.55%) to 12,184.56; the S&P 500 jumped 20.84 points (1.69%) to settle at 1,259.19. Oil rose to 99.84: gold inched up to 1,715:  The VIX crept upward 4.21 points to 26.38
    Now it's up to the ECB to launch into massive buying of Eurobonds, something its leader said yesterday that he wasn't authorized to do: EU deal leaves ECB nowhere to hide, Europe must show euro commitment- U.S. official.
    The markets are still trading in a range, and right now, are at the top of their range (1,260 on the S&P 500). Until the S&P breaks above  resistance at 1,260, it's more apt to go down than up. Intermediate-term, with Europe slipping into recession, and with the U. S. in a fragile state,  the outlook doesn't appear to me to be very rosy.
    Tune in on Monday for the next exciting episode of "The Life and Times of the Eurozone".
    Howard Gold asks, Why are no bankers in jail this time around?.  
    Brett Arends explains Why Merkel-Sarkozy pact is doomed to fail, and Myra Saefong observes that OPEC conflicts give way to oil balance.
      

    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Would You Lend Them The Money?  
    EU Leaders Agree To Fiscal Compact; Next Step Left To ECB   
    UK Vetoes Proposed EU Treaty Changes 
    Germany's Bundesbank Cuts GDP Forecasts (Again)     


2011-12-8: (Thursday Night): The markets plunged today: Dow drops below 12,000, Stocks Crushed; All Eyes on EU Summit. The NASDAQ Composite descended 52.83 points (-0.01%) to close at 2,596.38. The Dow advanced 198.67 points (-1.63%) to 11,987.70; the S&P 500 tumbled 26.66 points (-2.11%) to settle at 1,234.35. Oil retreated to 98.03: gold moved down to 1,712: Hey, what happened to gold? The VIX crept upward 1.92 points to 30.59
    Today, it was the European Central Bank's turn to sucker-punch the markets. Mario Draghi, the ECB Presidentm announced to the media that the ECB's charter prohibits it from rescuing European states. (Its charter is limited to fighting inflation, not to save the Euro.) Of course, if the Euro fails, there will no longer be a need for a central European Bnk, since there will no longer be common currency. To be fair, Mario Graghi may not have that much personal influence over go-out-on-a-limb decisions such as he's being asked to make. There's probably a Board of Governors who have a say in (or may even vote upon) the actions taken by the ECB.
    In two pieces of good news:
    U.S. jobless claims fall sharply to 381,000  
    Household debt shrinks for 13th straight quarter  
    Buy euro rumor, sell euro news  This latest almost-10% uplift in stock prices is suggesting a classic case of "buy on the rumor, sell on the news".
    Mark Hulbert warns that there is an excess of positive sentiment that will derail further stock rises.    
    A chart that undermines U.S. spendthrift image 
    Congress insider-trading-limit vote delayed   
    Europe finds its banks short €114.7 billion 
    Euro-zone economy may contract in 2012- ECB
    European 'fiscal compact' in the works?
    Draghi erases Trichet's ECB errors

    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Techncial Talk: Bulls Standing Aside; Support Being Tested  
    ECB's Draghi Announces Unorthodox Measures But Backs Away From 'The Bazooka'   
    ECB Cuts Benchmark Interest Rates By 0.25% For Second Time  
    Bank of England Leaves Rates Unchanged     
    Risk-On/ Risk Off Trade  
    Japan Machinery Orders Dive Again in October  
    Weekly Jobless Claims Come In Well Below Expectations  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Shows No Improvement  
       
    Market futures are flat tonight after this headline: Europe summit fails to reach full agreement.  


2011-12-7: (Wednesday Night): The markets ended the day down somewhat{ Rising, falling with Europe, Stocks Remain Volatile Ahead of ECB, EU Summit. The NASDAQ Composite slipped 0.35 points (-0.01%) to close at 2,649.21. The Dow advanced 46.24 points (0.38%) to 12,196.37; the S&P 500 rose 2.54 points (0.2%) to settle at 1,261/01. Oil adjusted to 100.80: gold moved up to 1,747. The VIX crept upward 0.72 points to 28.85.
    The markets began the day falling on a rumor from an unnamed high German official who threw cold water on the idea of a Eurozone compact coming out of tomorrow's EU meeting. Then it climbed to the breakeven point, followed by a sharp rise at the end of the trading day, 

    New stock session, new Europe rescue-rumor  
    Euro-zone banks on review   
    IMF story shakes up stocks 
    Michael Gayed writes Fall melt-up returns
    Vharles Sizemore Moneyball economics
    Jon Markman writes End times for the euro zone.
    Thomas Kee, Jr., tells us to Forget Europe and follow your charts
    Putting euro-zone rescue plans to test 
    Mark Hulbert on those bullish corporate insiders .
    And Matthew Lynn's article today is about How to invest in Germany’s ‘fiskalunion’.  
      
    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Technical Talk: Big Events Cause Trepidation  
    As The World Turns; German Officials Raining on Bull Parade   
    National Association of Active Investment Managers Index Shows Active Managers Still Cautious With Client Money  
    Investor's Intelligence Data Shows Bulls Increasing     
    IRates Hold Steady at Latest Bill Auction in Portugal  
    German Industrial Production Improves In October  
       
    As might be expected in view of the uncertainties surroonding  tomorrow's and Friday's crucial EU meetings, market futures are flat  tonight.  
      


2011-12-6: (Tuesday Night): The markets ended the day mixed, with the Dow up 52 points and the NASDAQ down 6 points: A Dow kind of day, and . The NASDAQ Composite slipped 6.2 points (-0.23%) to close at 2,649.56. The Dow advanced 52.3 points (0.43%) to 12,150.13; the S&P 500 rose 1.39 points (0.11%) to settle at 1,258.47. Oil adjusted to 100.93: gold inched down to 1,723. The VIX crept upward 0.29 points to 28.13.
    "U.S. blue chips turn in Tuesday's best performance, with the S&P 500 flat and the Nasdaq in the red. Late-day support came from a report that a European debt-crisis bailout fund could be doubled." The indices fell into the close, perhaps because of nervousness over what will or won't happen at Thursday's critical EU summit meeting.
   We're all in the euro zone    
    Mark Hulbert tells us How to get even with Wall Street
    Brett Arends shows us Arends: How to make ‘zillions’ on Wall Street... if you dare.
    And David Weidner's advice: Dump your bank
    The Trading desk tells us how to Have dividends and capital gains.
    Michael Ashbaugh says Market recovery meets technical resistance. 
    Irwin Kellner asks How low can oil prices really go? 
    And Paul Farrell warns: Super Rich vs. 99%: Class war will explode. What's interesting in this article is the author's listing of the euphemisms to be employed by the nation's 29 Republican governors in discussing the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. "Government spending" is to be replaced by "government waste". For example, the term "capitalism" is to be replaced by less contentious descriptors such as "free enterprise" or "economic freedom". To advise the Republican governors concerning this word-smithing, the Republican Party invited as a speaker at last weeks' of a pollster whom Paul Farrell describes as one of the most capable behavioral economists in the United States: Frank Luntz.
      
    State of the Markets articles include:   
    EU Officials Considering Doubling Bailout Funds  
    When You Assume   
    S&P Places Europe's EFSF Bailout Fund on CreditWatch Negative  
    Banking On A Strong December? Better Check Your History First     
    Italy's Monti Warns of Greek-Style Collapse  
    Bank of England Introduces Contingency Liquidity Facility  
    Germany Industrial Orders Up Unexpectedly in October
    S&P Warns 15 Eurozone Nations of Possible Downgrade           
     
    Market futures are up ½ % tonight.  
      
      


2011-12-5: (Monday Night): The markets resumed moving up today: Markets still rate a rally, and Stocks Gain On Optimism Surrounding Merkozy Agreement. The NASDAQ Composite gained another 28.83 points (1.1%) to close at 2,655.76. The Dow advanced 78.41 points (0.65%) to 12,097.83; the S&P 500 rose 12.8 points (1.03%) to settle at 1,257.08. Oil adjusted to 100.60: gold fell to 1,725. The VIX crept upward 0.32 points to 27.84.
    The markets were off to the races today until S&P threatened to downgrade the credit ratings of all the European countries including France and Germany: S&P To Place All Eurozone Countries on Creditwatch Negative.
    Two small notes of domestic discord were the announcements that Factory orders fall 0.4% in October, Trade data to point to continued difficulties, and Services growth slumps.    
    Concerning news surrounding the Fed: Fed's Evans says 'liquidity trap' demands action and Bernanke: Let's be perfectly clear
    How's the water?  This article recommends water-related ETFs to capitalize on the anticipated "water wars".
    Europe’s critical summit this week
    Marsh on Monday- Bet on Europe's new leaders
    Italy's government approves austerity plan 
    Here are two opposing investment advisory articles: Risk doesn't pay and Fall melt-up is back in play
      
    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Technical Talk: Bulls Say It's Over But Charts Say  
    Team Merkozy Agrees To Present New EU Treaty
    Can We Go It Alone?  
    U.S. Factory Orders Fall -0.4% in October     
    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index Pulls Back in November  
    A Big Week In Europe Begins; Here's The Latest on Plans To Resolve the Crisis   
    Eurozone Services PMI Show Contraction Continues
    Italy's Monti To Present New Austerity and Tax Measures           
     
    Market futures are slightly negative tonight.  


2011-12-2: (Friday Night): The markets took a breather again today, ending just about exactly where they started: Dow, S&P edge down after surrendering early gains, and Video Update: Weekly Market Summary. The NASDAQ Composite inched up another 0.73 points (0.03%) to close at 2,626.93. The Dow inched down  0.61 points (-0.01%) to 12,019.42; the S&P 500 faded 0.03 points (-0.02%) to settle at 1,244.28. Oil adjusted to 101.12: Oil ends higher, holds to $100 a barrel ; gold inched up to 1,741: Gold advances on hints of bank stimulus. The VIX crept upward 0.11 points to 27.52.
    The jobs-creation report was favorable today, coupled with the announcement that the unemployment rate had dropped to 8.6%. (But 0.2% of the 0.4% drop consisted of people who had fallen off the unemployment compensation roster, and who were no longer included in the unemployment rolls.)
    Wall Street, Washington reactions to jobs data   
    Marketwatch's Jon Markman has written this interesting article: False bravado undercuts Fed's risky Europe loan. In the article, he mentions that of the 10 days over the past 110 years when the indices have risen 4% or more, only on the bounce in March, 2009, did the markets move higher before they moved lower. Generally, sharp market reversals occur at the bottoms of bear markets like that in March, 2009, where the market has been moving ever lower "The only one of the top 10 net point gaining days that led to much higher prices over the next few weeks and months was March 23, 2009."
    "In sum, in nine of the ten most similar strong up days, the only message delivered by a session in which the Dow rose over 4% was that you were in the midst of a volatile bear market. Occasional waves of optimism create big but short squeezes that don't last long. That is most likely what we just saw."
    Mr. Markman concludes that what we probably saw on Wednesday was a sharp short-squeeze in which short sellers were obliged to buy to cover their bets against the markets. But we'll see.
    In 5 money moves she is making now, the Bank of America's Savita Subramanian is predicting a 2012 close on the S&P 500 of 1,350... not much above where it is today/ She also projects continuing troubles in the Eurozone.
    Howard Gold has written tonight: Make Wall Street pay for its criminal conduct
     Of course, we can speculate and interpret all we want, but in the end the markets are going to respond to what happens in the external j world. 
      
    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Technical Talk: Watching Overhead Resistance  
    Going Nowhere (and Fast); Has Anything Really Changed? The article, by Curt Bergquist, notes that the market indices are still within their recent trading ranges. Furthermore, a host of problems still hangs over European heads.
    It Seems So Simple     
    IMF's Lagarde Says G-20 Ready to Commit Funds  
    ECB Seen Lending 100-200 Billion Euros to IMF   
    Talk of EU Fiscal Union and ECB Participation Growing; Markets Like What They Hear
    Rates Falling In Italy and Spain For Third Straight Day           
   Jobs Report Shows 120K New Jobs With Unemployment Rate Falling  
    Are There Companies to Avoid Due toTheir Overexposure to Europe?  


2011-12-1: (Thursday Night): After climbing nearly 8% in three days, the markets took a breather today: Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks retreat on jobs nervousness, Stocks Stall Ahead of Jobs Report, and Blue chips can't keep up the rally. The NASDAQ Composite inched up 5.86 points (0.22%) to close at 2,626.20. The Dow fell 25.65 points (-0.21%) to 12,045.68; the S&P 500 faded 2.38 points (-0.19%) to settle at 1,220.03. Oil adjusted to 100.24: ; gold inched down to 1,748. The VIX fell 0.38 points to 27.41.
    Our U. S. recovery may be tepid but: Economic Shocker: U.S. is leading the growth race.
    Among the news items:
    Jobless claims top 400,000. This was disappointing news after two weeks of jubless claims below 400,000.
    All eyes turn to jobs report: The U. S. is expected to have created about 125,000 new jobs in November.
    John Shinal recommends that we : Sell some into this latest market rally. In other words, take some money off the table just in case...
    Fed's Bullard: ECB can't run to rescue of Europe  
    Austerity alone will lead to recession: France's Sarkozy  
    Sarkozy: ECB is independent and will stay that way  
    France, Germany advocate new EU treaty: Sarkozy  

     
    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Technical Talk: Pullback Expected, Watch Dip-Buyers  
    Is It Time?  
    Construction Spending Increases By +0.8% in October     
    ISM Manufacturing Report Better Than Expected  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Remains Weak   
    Spanish Bond Auction Sees Higher Rates But Adequate Demand
    Investor's Intelligence Data Shows Bulls Holding Steady           
    Chicago PMI Comes In With Best Reading Since April  
    Pending Home Sales Present "Hopeful Sign" For Housing  
      
    Market futures are neutral again tonight.


2011-11-30: (Wednesday Night): The markets leaped today: Dow is Santa-rally central, U.S. stocks, boosted by Fed, rally like it’s 2009Dow closes with largest gain since March 2009, and China, Central Banks, Jobs Send Markets Soaring. The NASDAQ Composite soared 104.83 points (4.17%) to close at 2,620.34. The Dow exploded 490.05 points (4.24%%) to 12,045.68; the S&P 500 pole-vaulted 51.77 points (4.33%) to settle at 1,246.96. Oil jumped to 100.57: ; gold rose to 1,751. The VIX fell 2.84 points to 27.80.
    Today's action was based upon (1) China's reduction in its  bank-reserve requirements, and (2) the news that central banks (including the U. S. Federal Reserve which, alone in all the world, has the power to print dollars). have locked arms and are pledging to rescue the Eurozone: Fed, peers slash dollar borrowing costs, EU Officials Scramble To Launch EFSF and Save Eurozone, and China Takes First Step Toward Easing Monetary Policy
    In further commentary about today's action: The 'coordinated' central-bank action that wasn't
, and Central Bankers Coordinate Efforts To Boost Global Liquidity.
    Among the articles questioning whether today's announcements herald the resuscitation of the Eurozone are Matthew Brady's IMF rescue of Italy will spark global uprising, and David Moenning's To Be Or Not To Be? One highly important take-home message is that the bulk of the money in the stock market is now invested by headline-driven supercomputers which drive the markets to their next stages in a minute or two rather than a day or two.
    Were the last two days the Santa Claus rally?
    Mark Hulbert writes: Market rally clears technical hurdles. (But note that computers are oblivious to technical hurdles. Note also that Michael Ashbaugh and Kevin Marder told us yesterday that major technical damage has been done to the averages, and that the intermediate trend is still down. Tonight, we're up 7% above yesterday morning's opening.)  
    Mark Hulbert also says, Gold likely to be higher at year’s end.
    And the Fed says, Economy taking baby steps forward: Beige Book.
    Euro-zone inflation rate steady, above target.  
    Britain's turn for a broad strike.
    Can Germany save Christmas?  
     
    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Technical Talk- Higher Low - Check. Next Up...  
    ADP Employment Report Shows Private Sector Job Growth Strong in November     
    Challenger Planned Layoffs Down 13% From Year Ago Levels  
    China Takes First Step Toward Easing Monetary Policy   
    U.S. Productivity and Unit Labor Costs Below Expectations in 3rd Qtr
    Investor's Intelligence Data Shows Bulls Holding Steady           
    Chicago PMI Comes In With Best Reading Since April  
    Pending Home Sales Present "Hopeful Sign" For Housing  
      
    Market futures are neutral tonight (not that that is very predictive anymore concerning tomorrow morning's opening numbers).


2011-11-29: (Tuesday Night): The markets ended the day mixed: A shallow follow-through, Major Indices Mixed; Disappointing Finish. The NASDAQ Composite fell back 11.83 points (-0.47) to close at 2,515.51. The Dow rose 32.62 points (0.28%%) to 11,555.63; the S&P 500 added 2.64 points (0.22%) to settle at 1,195.19. Oil jumped to 99.50: Oil tops $100 a barrel; gold catapulted to 1,718. The VIX fell 1.49 points to 30.64.
    There's some agreement that yesterday's action was a "dead-cat bounce": The Technical Indicator: Dead-cat bounce, . Does that mean that it isn't? 
    Brett Arends's 10 reasons the crisis isn’t over
   
    EU agrees to EFSF leverage expansion rules  
    John Nyardi recommends An ETF for Armageddon if you think the Eurozone isn't going to make it.
    David Weidner presents A golden opportunity for Europe and you, suggesting a way for Europe to recover.  
    Mark Hulbert observes that Corporate insiders are smiling.  
    And Irwin Kellner observes that For euro zone, it’s time to say goodbye
    In the news:
    Fed's Yellen sees room for more easing  
    Consumer confidence leaps  
    U.S. home prices drop 0.6% in September  
    Pimco's Gross: Europe on slow train  
    ECB fails to offset bond buys amid bank stress  
    
    State of the Markets articles include:   
    S&P Downgrades Credit Rating of Five Major U.S. Banks  
    Karl Case (of Case-Shiller) On The Latest Housing Numbers     
    FHFA House Price Index Gains Ground in September  
    Case-Shiller Home Price Index - Prices Down in September   
    Reuters Poll: China To Begin Cutting Rates Soon This suggests that China might soon become a good investment choice. 
    Consumer Confidence Spikes Higher in the U.S            
    Vice-Chair Yellen Says Fed Still Has Room To Ease  
      
    Market futures are down tonight (not that that is very predictive anymore concerning tomorrow morning's opening numbers)..


2011-11-28: (Monday Night): The markets exploded today: Consumer Confidence Spikes Higher in the U.S, Highly Correlated. The NASDAQ Composite shot up 85.83 points (3.52%) to close at 2,527.34. The Dow racked up 291.33 points (2.59%) to 11,523.01; the S&P 500 slipped 33.88 points (2.92%) to settle at 1,192.55 Oil gained slightly further to 97.32; gold fell to 1,684. The VIX rose 2.34 points to 32.13.
    Markets soared today on news the the Eurozone is talking about a "fix" to its credit problems, and sales on "Black Friday" broke records/
    Mark Hulbert observes: Corporate insiders are smiling
    Kevin Marder presents The trend is not your friend.
    China may be at policy turning point  

    Consumer debt declines    
    
    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Technical Talk: And Bounce 2...3...4  
    Confidence Killers     
    
    Market futures are neutral tonight.


2011-11-25: (Friday Night): The markets fell a bit farther today: Friday turns bleak on Street, Another awful week for stocks. The NASDAQ Composite lightened up 18.67 points (-0.75%) to close at 2,441.51. The Dow backed up 25.77 points (-0.23%) to 11,231.78; the S&P 500 slipped 3.12 points (-0.27%) to settle at 1,158.67 Oil gained slightly further to 97.32; gold fell to 1,684. The VIX rose 0.49 points to 34.47.
    The markets were up on Friday until S&P announced that it was downgrading Belgium's credit rating from AAA to AA: S&P downgrades Belgium's credit rating. , Euro slides, Hungary’s forint hit after downgrade. (S&P downgraded Hungary's and Portugal's debt to junk bond status.)     The real problem is that the bad news just keeps rolling in from Europe, and I don't know of any reason why it won't get worse before it gets better.
    Mark Hulbert observes: Black Friday, blue stock market/
    Kevin Marder presents The case for a market comeback.
    EU's Rehn: Italy has assets to overcome crisis  

    Oil futures fall under $96 a barrel  
    Japan’s October CPI signals deflation  
    Economy and Politics  
    Italy sells 6-month bills as yield soars  
    Italy retail sales fall, adding to recession fears  

    State of the Markets articles include:   
    Greece Now Asking Bondholders to Take 75% Haircut  
    Would a EuroBond Just Make Things Worse?
    EC President Barroso: Europe Situation 'Very Worrying'  
    Moody's Cuts Hungary Rating to Junk Status  
    Italy's Latest T-Bill Auction Deemed 'Awful'  
    S&P Now Looking At Japan's Debt Rating  
    Will Everybody Just Chill Out Please?  
    France and Germany To Propose Modificatons to EU Treaty  
    Fitch Downgrades Portugal to Junk Status  


2011-11-24: (Thursday Night): Market indices are down tonight by 1.66% to 2.42%. I don't know why, but these headlines might be contributing: Moody's cuts Hungary's rating to Ba1, Fitch cuts Portugal's credit rating to junk, France, Germany, Italy won't give ECB orders.


2011-11-23: (Wednesday Night): The markets plunged today: U.S. stocks sharply lower on Europe fears, Hope Is Lost As Stocks Hit For a Sixth Consecutive Day. The NASDAQ Composite descended 61.2 points (-2.43%) to close at 2,460.08. The Dow gave up 236.17 points (-2.05%) to 11,257.55; the S&P 500 discarded 26.25 points (-2.21%) to settle at 1,161.79. Oil gained slightly further to 95.66 Fear premium in oil is starting to wane; gold advanced to 1,689. The VIX rose 2.01 points to 33.98.
    Among the Marketwatch headlines that moved today's markets are:
    Crisis comes to Germany  
    Austrians' self-help fuels contagion  
    EU seeks budget oversight, euro bonds  
    Weighing odds of a euro-zone collapse (video)  
    Consumer sentiment highest since June  
    Prospect of euro collapse and your portfolio (video)
    U.S. incomes outpace spending in October   

    Jobless claims rise                  
    Europe stocks drop on German auction, China data        
    Durable-goods orders fall 0.7% in October  
    In another of his excellent articles, Why everyone is wrong about defense, Brett Arends tells about the stunning level of U. S. military budgets (higher as a percentage of GDP than at any time except during the WWII years:1943, 1944, and 1945. He explains that the threatened military budget cuts would lead to a 16% rise over the next ten years rather than the projected 23% increase. I believe that our military budget is currently larger than the sum total of all the other countries in the world combined.
    And Mark Hulbert reminds us that this is the Second anniversary of Greek debt crisis.  
 

    State of the Markets' articles include:
    Technical Talk: As the Cookie Crumbles  
    China's Flash PMI Dives Below 50; Signals Manufacturing Slowdown  
    Eurozone Preliminary PMI's Confirm Economic Contraction 
    German Bond Auction Not Well Received  
    Fed To Force 6 U.S. Banks to Undergo 'Global Market Shock' Stress Test   
    Weekly Jobless Claims Up 2K For Week Ending 11/18 
    Orders for Durable Goods Fall In October; Ex-Transport Component Up  
    Personal Income and Spending Report Mixed in October  
    Confidence Killers  
    Fitch Warns On France's Triple-A Credit Rating  
    The Not-So Done Deal With The Dexia Bailout  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Still Weak  
    University of Michigan Sentiment Rises in October  


2011-11-22: (Tuesday Night): The markets dropped again today: Stocks edge down on Europe debt fears, Bulls Fail to Capitalize on IMF News. The NASDAQ Composite descended 1.86 points (-0.07%) to close at 2,521.28. The Dow sidled back 53.59 points (-0.46%) to 11,493.72; the S&P 500 eased down 4.94 points (-0.41%) to settle at 1,188.04. Oil gained slightly further to 97.39; gold advanced to 1,708. The VIX fell back 0.94 points to 31.97.
    Among the headlines that moved today's markets are:
    Michael Ashbaugh's weekly technical analysis is entitled Market bears back on offense.
    U.S. may lose its second AAA rating within months
    Third-quarter growth cut     
    Fed talks inflation targets
    'Problem banks' ranks thin  
    Signs of life in the U.S. economy: Kellner  
    Hooray for supercommittee failure: Delamaide  "Winners in this case are the American people and the democratic process, because the attempt of a small minority with unlimited funds to foist on the nation an anti-tax agenda that is inimical to the interests of the middle class was foiled.
                           .............................................
    "The urgency to cut the deficit was an artificial crisis fomented for ideological reasons that have nothing to do with fiscal responsibility and everything to do with reducing taxes on the wealthy. Deficits aren’t the problem, jobs are, and what we needed was a supercommittee on stimulating job creation."
                            .............................................
    "Another recent failure — that of a House Republican leadership increasingly out of touch both with reality and the electorate — to get a balanced-budget amendment passed should also be celebrated. Even though it was just more political theater from that same ideological minority, every triumph of reason in this disreputable Congress should be welcomed."
                            .............................................
    "Why these failures should be celebrated is clear from the euro’s death spiral. Fiscal hardliners in Europe have the upper hand and are undoing 50 years of European integration by blindly following this benighted ideology."
    "Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland face a much tougher constraint than a balanced-budget amendment through being shackled to a common currency that’s designed to favor Germany. The insistence by Berlin that these countries impose draconian fiscal austerity to pay for Germany’s prosperity is driving the Continent into recession — including, of course, Germany."

                            ............................................
    "It’s a sad state of affairs. Europe and the U.S. are now looking at a new recession, continued high unemployment, and increasing political turmoil as restive voters make their frustration known."
                            ............................................
    Aden sisters: Markets may return to 2008  
    Supercommittee winners  
    Payroll-tax battle is now joined  
    Brent Arends asks Which countries aren’t bust?  
    IMF to boost crisis flexibility  
    China factories slow down  
    And Mark Hulbert advises us that the Market [is] still working off excess optimism.  

      
    State of the Markets' articles include:
    Maybe The Sky Is Falling  
    First Revision: U.S. GDP Grew by +2.0% in Q3; Below Expectations  
    Yields Continue to Soar in Spain; France Debt Not Trading Like Triple-A 
    Germany: No New Bazooka Coming From ECB  
    EU Sends Warning Letters To Five More Countries   
    IMF Creates New Line of Credit For European Countries
    FOMC Update: Summary of Minutes from November 1-2 Meeting  

    Market futures are down ~1 % tonight.


2011-11-21: (Monday Night): The markets dropped sharply today:U.S. stocks decline sharply on debt worries, Sentiment Turns Dour; Stocks Down Again. The NASDAQ Composite descended 49.36 points (-1.92%) to close at 2,523.14. The Dow nose-dived 25.43 points (-2.11%) to 11,547.31; the S&P 500 spiraled down 22.67 points (-1.86%) to settle at 1,192.98. Oil backed down further to 97.09: Oil slips further below $100; gold plummeted to 1,678: Gold under $1,700. The VIX gained 0.91 points to 32.91.
    So this is what happened on Monday. 
    This State of the Markets article, The Most Important Man in America You've Never Heard Of?, tells a shocking story. 
    "'As head of Americans for Tax Reform since 1986, Grover Norquist has transformed a single issue - preventing tax hikes - into one of the key platforms of the Republican Party. As Steve Kroft reports, his biggest coup was getting more than 270 members of Congress, and nearly all of the 2012 Republican presidential primary candidates, to sign a pledge promising never to vote to raise taxes. But some opponents say the pledge may be hindering a solution to America's debt crisis.
    "'The person at the heart of those negotiations - and some would say the person responsible for the deadlock - is neither a member of Congress nor the holder of any public office. He is a lobbyist and a conservative activist named Grover Norquist who, over the years, has gotten virtually every Republican congressman and senator to sign an oath called "The Pledge." It's a promise that they will never, under any circumstances, vote to raise taxes on anyone. And so far Grover Norquist has held them to it, controlling 279 votes, including the speaker of the House, the Senate minority leader and all six Republican members of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction.'"

    "Whether one agrees with the “no new taxes” pledge or not, or with Mr. Norquist, something does not seem quite right when Republican members of Congress fear for their political futures if they get on the wrong side of one individual. As one political figure pointed out, “making a lifetime pledge is something one should only do with one’s spouse, family, faith and government,” not to a fiscal policy."
    I imagine we'll hear a lot more about this in the next few days. But basically, this amounts to a semi-dictatorship. (Here are a few more articles: Norquist: "Dems are lying." And the WMD's?, Grover Norquist - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 
, The Pledge: Grover Norquist's hold on the GOP - CBS News, and Just saw the Grover Norquist segment on 60 min.. I'm Dumbfounded ). 
    Why would 279 Congressional Republicans sign such a lifetime pledge that transfers their authority to Grover Norquist and whoever's behind him, and causes them to abdicate accountability to the voters who elected them? (All but four House Republicans and six Republican Senators have signed the pledge.) Allegedly, it's because of threats that they won't be re-elected if they don't sign the pledge. And why would they sign a tax pledge issued by a right-wing lobbyist? How did he get their attention? After thinking about this, it seems to me that this is the worst sellout in American history. It lends substance to claims that the Republican Party has been co-opted by right-wing extremists... worse yet, by a single right-wing extremist. 
    Presumably, Mr. Norquist is a sock puppet for not-yet-publicized  billionaire puppet masters. The proposed tax increases are for taxes on the wealthy. As for these tax pledges being promises made by Republican representatives to the American public, I don't recall being asked whether or not I wanted my Congressional Republicans to pledge that they won't ever support any tax increases. Do you? What happens if we have a war? I don't recall being informed that such a pledge existed, and obviously, neither did our media mavens. This makes a total mockery out of representative government.
    The current federal deficits are a result of the depressed economy, leading to reduced tax revenues at all levels of government, combined with elevated levels of safety-net programs such as unemployment compensation and federal aid to state governments. These roaring deficits began in the Bush Administration in the fall of 2008 when the Bush Administration rescued Bear Stearns, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the FDIC, automakers (Loans made to automakers in doubt), and the insurance conglomerate, AIG. And these articles are illuminating: Top Economist: Americans Should Worry About Bank Deposits if Congress Doesn't Act - Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance, and Can Congress put Wall Street together again? This was followed by the $700 billion TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program), all implemented by a Republican administration
    This isn't saying that government expenditures and deficit financing haven't exploded under President Obama, but the first trillion of that deficit was run up by the Republicans in the fall of 2008 to keep the U. S. banking system from collapsing and taking the rest of us out with it.  
    I believe they did the right thing. I think the U. S. economy would have collapsed if the Bush Administration hadn't ignored the conservative stereotype of reducing government intervention, and taken dramatic action when it did. And I believe that if John McCain had won the 2008 election, his Republican Administration would be ballooning the deficit the way the Obama Administration is.
   I'm finding it taken as accepted wisdom that the middle class is being destroyed in America. (Tommie and I are seeing our retirement incomes dropping by a few percent a year now, in the face of slow inflation.) 
    In case anyone missed it, Supercommittee Succumbs To Gridlock; Ready To Admit Failure, and Debt-panel clouds outlook
    I think we can thank the Democrats on the Super-Committee for not caving in to the Republican committee members' handler, Grover Norquist.
    Here's a Wall Street Journal article that lampoons the other articles that are starting to appear regarding Grover Norquist: Thank You, Grover Norquist. (Always remember that a few years ago, Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch bought the WSJ and replaced its existing editor with his own choice of editor.) The article says, "Democrats don't believe they need to do more than tinker around the edges of the entitlement state while raising taxes on the rich. Republicans think the growth of government is unsustainable and can't be financed no matter how much taxes are raised."
    If you look at the numbers, you'll find that the federal government hasn't grown under resident Obama, but if someone keeps telling a lie long enough, people who don't know the truth will believe their lie.
    The article continues, "And Mr. Obama does not want to lead on reforming entitlements or reducing the deficit."
    According to what I've read, U. S. safety nets are less protective than the safety nets of any of the other 18 industrialized nations. In any case, reducing social safety nets and focusing on the deficit is, I believe, exactly what the Republicans won't do if they take over in 2012, any more than they did between 2000 and 2008. (Remember Vice-President Cheney's "Deficits don't matter." statement?) And it's exactly what governments shouldn't do right now. 
    "As for the alleged tyranny of Grover, Republicans on the committee explicitly risked his wrath by putting tax revenue increases on the table. Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey offered $500 billion in revenues—$300 billion in the statically scored tax increases that Democrats demanded—by cutting deductions mainly for the wealthy. Democrats rejected the offer because it wasn't $1 trillion and because in return Mr. Toomey also wanted to lock in lower tax rates. Never mind that nearly all economists agree that lower rates and a more efficient tax code would increase economic growth and lead to more revenues over time."
    What Mr. Norquist is seeking is a continuation of the 35% (down from 39%) tax cuts for the wealthy
that are scheduled to automatically expire on December 31st. As for nearly all economists agreeing that lower rates and a more efficient tax code would increase economic growth and lead to more revenues over time, that's precisely the claim that I remember being made in a TV debate by Ronald Reagan's "supply-side" economist (the "trickle-down" theory) and hotly contested by President Carter's economist who insisted that reduced tax revenues would lead to increased budget deficits. And guess what? That's precisely what happened. Budget deficits soared once the Reagan tax cuts went into effect, and this was also the point at which the standard of living of the rest of us stalled out while the standard of living of the wealthiest began it's climb to our present income inequality levels not seen since 1929. 
    So much for the "trickle-down effect".
    But the key point here is that all but ten congressional Republicans have just been revealed to be members of a secret circle that reports to one lobbyist rather than to their constituencies. 
    This also raises questions about what else may be happening under separate cover of darkness in the Republican Party.

    David Marsh writes tonight: Case for a euro split-up.
    The next frontier in emerging opportunities -- solar roads and water  
    Red flags signal new bear market   
    Key moving average is broken  

    State of the Markets' articles include:
    Technical Talk: The Bears Are Back In Town  
    Hedge Funds Are Having A Lousy European Debt Crisis  
    Rates Fall at French T-Bill Auction  
    Moody's Says French Sovereign Debt Rating at Risk  
    Existing Home Sales Rise in October; Prices Continue to Fall   

    Market futures are up ¼ % tonight.


2011-11-20: (Sunday Night): Over the weekend, this article,  Permanent Link to Incredible Europeans, appeared on Paul Krugman's web log: "I had some hopes for Mario Draghi; he has just done his best to kill those hopes... There are strong self-fulfilling aspects to this crisis of confidence — which is why Europe desperately needs the ECB to act as lender of last resort, and short-circuit the vicious circles. But no, the ECB will defend its credibility. And it will end up as the highly credible defender of the value of a currency that no longer exists."
    In addition, the deficit super-committee is expected to report "no deal" tomorrow: Analysis: Deficit deadlock may send chill through markets, Stocks: It's all about Italy, Spain and jobs "Investors have a litany of questions for politicians in Europe and on Capitol Hill. And it's unlikely that they'll get many answers ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday next Thursday. More", and Europe, thin volume to spark stocks
    Market futures are down about ½ % tonight.


2011-11-18: (Friday Night): The market marched in place today: Stocks: Investors sit tight at end of rough week, U.S. stocks thrown again by Europe, Stocks Languish On Credit Fears.The NASDAQ Composite slipped 15.49 points (-0.6%) to close at 2,572.50. The Dow added 25.43 points (0.22%) to 11,796.16; the S&P 500 lapsed 0.48 points (-0.04%) to settle at 1,215.65. Oil backed down further to 97.79: Oil slips further below $100; gold plunged to 1,726: Gold's the only euro-crisis winner: Lynn. The VIX fell 2.51 points(!) to 32.00.
    For me, the failure today of the markets to regain their footing above the low end of their trading range (1,220 for the S&P 500) isn't a good sign. The U. S. seems to be doing relatively well economically (at least at the moment), while Europe is hanging over the edge of a precipice. Of course, it was a Friday, and traders don't like to be holding stocks over the weekend given the vulnerability of the indices to headline news. Note, though, that the VIX (volatility or "fear" index") actually fell 2 points today. In the old days (ten years ago), the markets would be primed to fall further on Monday. 
    We'll have to see what happens on Monday. (it will presumably depend upon what headlines are generated over the weekend.)
    Europe bond dive rooted in Greek CDS deal. What this article is saying is that the treatment of the Greek problem was handled in a way that didn't trigger credit default swaps (CDS's), leaving investors who bought default insurance questioning whether default insurance will work after it failed this real-life test. This is encouraging (says the author) actual sales of stocks rather than sales of derivatives.
    Brett Arends' comments today are encapsulated in: How to steal like Wall Street
    Following this, Marketwatch' Jennifer Openshaw gives us: Europe’s debt crisis and your wallet.  
    Mark Hulbert's article explains What Nasdaq weakness is telling us.  
    European Central Bank to lend funds to the IMF for bailouts?  
   
    The Deficit Super-Committee is supposed to issue its recommendations on Monday: Deficit deal odds: Market bets it won't happen, Supercommittee: Looking for a smaller deal?
        
    State of the Markets' articles include: 
    The Games People Play  
    ECB's Draghi Says Governments Need To Move Quickly on EFSF Fund 
    Zoellick: Europe Could Get Support from China, U.S., BRICs from IMF  
    Germany's PPI Shows Inflation Holding Steady
    U.S. Leading Economic Index (LEI) Rises Sharply
    Even Building a Bomb Shelter Isn't Safe Anymore  


2011-11-17: (Thursday Night): It was another bad day at Black Rock: Stocks take a beating again, U.S. stocks thrown again by Europe, Stocks Languish On Credit Fears.The NASDAQ Composite tumbled 51.62 points (-1.96%) to close at 2,587.99. The Dow slid 134.86 points (-1.13%) to 11,770.73; the S&P 500 declined another 20.78 points (-1.68%) to settle at 1,216.13. Oil backed down to 98.77: Oil back at century mark; gold dropped $18 to 1,764: Gold's the only euro-crisis winner: Lynn. The VIX gained 1 point to 34.51.
    Here's what State of the Markets has to say about today's action (
Stocks Languish On Credit Fears): 
    "The bulls tried to put up a fight early on, following a number of better than expected U.S. economic reports (Weekly Jobless Claims, Housing Starts, Building Permits, and Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index). However, concerns of credit deterioration in Europe, apprehension over the Congressional super-committee, and eventually technical selling sent stocks plummeting in the late afternoon. The S&P 500 fell straight through support at 1220 and would not reach that level again.
    "This stock market is volatile, sensitive, and sometimes, irrational. Today we saw some triggered selling from 1230-1215 (took about 8 minutes), though we did close a bit higher than the intraday lows (~1210). Friday’s action will be important to watch, as any movement much lower and we could flush right back down into the August range.
"
    Anyone who trades today's stock market using past investment rules of thumb just  doesn't get it: we're in the first liquidity trap since the Great Depression. The Fed no longer controls the economy through monetary adjustments of interest rates. It was the Fed's adjustment of interest rates that inspired our previous post-war rules of thumb... or at least, my own investment guidelines. But the Fed is at the "zero lower bound".
    That being said, technically, stock indices have formed a wedge and then broken downward out of the wedge, suggesting further declines ahead.
    The Deficit Super-Committee is supposed to issue its recommendations next Wednesday.
    Jobless claims fall to lowest level since April    
    Philly Fed gauge unexpectedly turns lower  
    Spanish yields surge to euro-era highs  
    French debt's also growing more costly  
    What gives with economy? "The U.S. faces a lower threat of another recession. Yet hardly any economist predicts a full recovery."  
    Trade like a congressman, Mick Weinstein says  
    David Weidner argues that Bloomberg's bum rush backfires. Mr. Weidner's thesis is that the Occupy Wall Street movement was getting a bit stale and was losing media coverage. By forcibly evicting the demonstrators by night and arresting 200 protestors, Mayor Bloomberg revitalized the movement: Protesters in L.A. clogs streets and freeways, Violence Escalates at 'Occupy' Protests in NYC, as Crowd Eyes March on , Protesters march nationwide; over 200 arrested.   
    This article, From Enron to Occupy and back again, by Marketwatch editor David Callaway, expresses the author's observation that "For the past 30 years, however, financial services has been the place to be." The scandals began with problems like Drexel Burnham Lambert, escalated to companies like Enron and Global Crossing and fed into Bernie Madoff, AIG, and MF Global. Now, though, bank failures are threatening to bring down the global economy. Mr. Callaway thinks that: "One thing has changed, however: People this time are angrier. Not just at the particular companies like AIG or Enron, but at the entire class of Hermès-wearing aristocrats who continue to deal, trade, leverage and spend as if the occasional blow-up is the price to pay for doing business.
    

 
   State of the Markets' articles include: 
    Technical Talk: On the Verge Of A Breakdown This is discussed in the after-market article above.  
    Housing Starts and Building Permits Above Expectations 
    Business As Usual on Wall Street  
    Fitch Back In News: Says Interventions Likely in Europe
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Improves

    Market futures are essentially neutral tonight. (We ought to get a "dead-cat bounce" after two days of dramatic losses.)


2011-11-16: (Wednesday Night): Stock market indices plunged today on good news at home and more bad news out of Europe: Bank warning sinks stocks, Moody's, Fitch Headlines Bury Stocks Late. The NASDAQ Composite marched back down 46.59 points (-1.73%) to close at 2,639.61. The Dow shed 190.57 points (-1.58%) to 12,905.59; the S&P 500 decreased 20.9 points (-1.66%) to settle at 1,236.91. Oil rose to 101.85: Oil back at century mark; gold dropped $18 to 1,764: Gold's the only euro-crisis winner: Lynn. The VIX gained 3.29 points to 33.51.
    Generally speaking, the U. S. is doing better than expected: Industrial production expands 0.7% in October, Foreign demand for Treasurys jumps, while the Eurozone continues to unravel: Turmoil spreads in Europe
    Note that any agency that can move the markets, like Fitch or S&P, can profit from self-generated market moves.
    Brett Arends is back with another good article: We're a nation of suckers, thinks Brett Arends, The Double Standard that’s Making Congress Rich. It's a bout the fact that U. S. lawmakers have made it legal for them (and just for them) to trade on insider information: Congress and insider trading
    King's dour outlook (video) discusses the downbeat outlook the Bank of England has on the Eurozone.
    Mark Hulbert notes that Stocks May Lack Direction, But Volume's Dried Up.
    50% chance of recession? Love bonds  
    Can supercommittee get it done?  

 
   State of the Markets' articles include: 
    Technical Talk: Price Action Decent Despite Euro Yields Jitters   
    Things That Do Work These Days 
    Moody’s Downgrades 11 German Banks, Reduces Support Assumptions for Landesbanken  
    Fitch Says Euro Zone Contagion Poses 'Serious Risk' to U.S. Banks
    ECB Steps In To Buy Spanish and Italian Bonds
    How long can ECB buy bonds?   
    CPI Shows Inflation Remains In Check in U.S  
    Industrial Production Report Beats Expectations
    NAHB Homebuilder Confidence Improves Again in November  

    Market futures are neutral tonight.


2011-11-15: (Tuesday Night): Stock market indices rose today on better-than-expected domestic news: Investors re-examine data, Empire Manufacturing Index Rises in November; Ahead of Expectations, Retail Sales Rise +0.5% in October, Producer Price Index Shows No Inflation in October. The NASDAQ Composite marched back up 28.98 points (1.09%) to close at 2,686.20. The Dow added 17.18 points (0.14%) to 12,096.16; the S&P 500 increased 6.03 points (0.48%) to settle at 1,257.81. Oil rose to 99.38: Oil knocks at $100's door, Anadarko strikes it big in Rocky Mountains; gold ended the day unchanged at 1,782: Gold up as Italy, Spain worsen euro-zone fears. The VIX gained 0.09 points to 31.22.
    Stocks May Lack Direction, But Volume's Dried Up.
    State of the Markets' take on the recent market action is that the market is digesting the gains it made in October. It's trading within a range, and until it breaks decisively out of that range, there isn't a lot of news to report. Typically, though, indices break out of a trading range moving in the same direction they were moving when they entered the range... which, in the present case, would be higher. At the same time, these markets are headline-driven, and the situation in Europe is continuing to deteriorate: Italy's 10-year bond yield back above 7%, Chilly reception for Mario Monti, and Market Update: It's Looking Ugly Across the Pond, and Fog hangs heavy over Europe. Even France is experiencing rising bond spreads.
    Dr. Irwin Kellner has written an article entitled: Supercommittee: Deal or no deal? His opinion is that the supercommittee will remain deadlocked, and the supercommittee will either request additional time, or will allow the default solution which will lead to $1.12 in automatic  deficit-reduction steps over the next 10 years. 
    Michael Ashbaugh's weekly technical analysis is encapsulated in this article: Ashbaugh: Battle lines at major resistance
    
 U.S. to muddle along says one economist.
    Mark Hulbert's article is entitled: The euro is dead, long live the euro.    
    Fund managers expect another U.S. downgrade. I think this is a very important observation: it could lead to a temporary downdraft in the markets.  
    U.S. retail spending climbs, but it's because consumers are dipping into their savings... i. e., it's unsustainable.
 
   
Brett Arends' article today is: The stock market’s big lie revealed, and it's about the fact that the real money is made in private placements, not in the public stock market. 
    David Weidner has a good article today: What’s really ailing Wall Street.  
    Paul Farrell's daily article is: China vs. USA bout: 6 rounds to oblivion.  

 
   State of the Markets' articles include: 
    Technical Talk: Sound Set-Up, Little Movement    
    Stocks Gain; Euro Uncertainty Priced In?  
    Larry Fink's Current View on Europe and the Markets Larry Fink is the Chairman and CEO of Blackrock. Among his points: Europe is seeing a run on its banks and a "liquidity meltdown". He agrees with Angela Merkel "that we need to see closer Euro zone ties, not defections". He sees France as a "key linchpin". He sees the U. S. stock market as a good investment because 
    1. "1-2% fixed income returns simply not acceptable", (stocks are the only game in town.)
    2. "S&P valuations" (are) "very reasonable in terms of P/E ratio historically."
    3. There are "Some recent signs of improving U.S. economic data."
    4. "A lot of fear and uncertainty" (is) "priced in."
    5. "So much “deleveraging” has already occurred that unemployed cash is ready to jump into the market."
    Europe Economic Update: Q3 Flash GDP Reports
    Germany's ZEW Index Continues to Decline  
    Spain's Latest Bond Auction Not Well Received
    
    Market futures are down ¾ % tonight.


2011-11-14: (Monday Night): Stock market indices fell back today as bad news returned to the Eurozone: Stocks sink on Italy, Spain, Stocks Finish Lower On Very Light Volume, S&P 500 loses 0.9% to 1,252. The NASDAQ Composite marched back down 21.53 points (-0.8%) to close at 2,657.22. The Dow added 74.7 points (-0.61%) to 12,078.98; the S&P 500 increased 12.07  points (-0.96%) to settle at 1,251.78. Oil adjusted downward to 98.18: Oil ends down as euro woes hit sentiment; gold fell to 1,782. The VIX rose 1.09 points to 31.13.
      
    Peter Brimelow asks: Is gold headed to $2,200?  
    Today was a "bad-news" day: Europe losses build after Merkel speaks, Italy stocks may not enjoy ‘Monti bounce’, and Pain returns to Spain.
   
Germany's Merkel: Closer union to fix crisis   
    David marsh writes: Marsh: Technocrats aren't always the answer, referring to Italy's New prime minister, Mario Monti.   
   
Tough competition for jobs  There are four applicants for every job, up from 1.5, up from 1.5 per job before the recession hit. 
    Jordan to supercommittee: No tax increases  
    Coburn targets tax breaks for 'rich and famous'  
    Chris Hobart: We will see a Santa Claus rally  
    Supercommittee can at least save $1.2 trillion: Clyburn  
    Buffett pays dearly for IBM  
    The graph below shows the ratio of the wealth of the wealthiest 0.1% of the population compared to the rest of us over the interval from 1913 to 2008. Paul Krugman has shown an equivalent chart for the UK in his article: Permanent Link to The 1% Across Space And Time.



   
I found it interesting that the concentration of wealth was as high in 1929 as it is now, and that it was even higher in 1916 (at the end of the Gilded Age?)
   
The bulls must break resistance  "Stock market bulls need to punch through current resistance levels and reach escape velocity or else risk a "terminal event", writes John Nyaradi."

 
   State of the Markets' David Moenning has followed up on his very good article, Why Isn't This Working Anymore? with More On Moving Averages
    Other State of the Markets articles include: Technical Talk: Stocks Lower; Choppy Action.  
    PIMCO: The New Normal Will Stick Around and Europe is Solvable  
    Italy Update: Berlusconi Resigns Following Approval of Austerity Measures
    Fed To Begin New Round of Bank Stress Tests
    Italy Completes Bond Auction; Yields at Euro-era High 
    Eurozone Industrial Production Disappoints for September
    Italy Update: Monti Takes Over New Government

    Market futures are slightly lower tonight.


2011-11-11: (Friday Night): Stock market indices continued their advance today on good news: 2% stock gain saves week, Easing of Italy fears aids financial stocks. The NASDAQ Composite marched up 53.6 points (2.04%) to close at 2,678.75. The Dow added 259.89 points (2.19%) to 12,153.68; the S&P 500 increased 24.16  points (1.95%) to settle at 1,263.85. Oil advanced to 99.02: Oil at highest since July; gold jumped to 1,790: Gold's safe harbor offers new means of escape, Gold ends 1.6% higher after two-session drop. The VIX dropped 2.27 points to 30.04.
    Yesterday, I said, "To me, today's action suggested a dead-cat bounce. It remains to be seen whether or not there's follow-through." Well, whaddya know! I was wrong! 
    Today was a "good-news" day: University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index Continues to Improve, Italy's Senate Approves New Law; Berlusconi Era Coming To End, and New Greek Government To Be Sworn In.
 
   State of the Markets' David Moenning has written what seems to me to be a very good article, Why Isn't This Working Anymore? In the article, he addresses the fact that in a market that's subject to wild daily swings... huge moves... that tip the rules of investing into the trashcan. With the  markets at the mercy of headline-driven supercomputers racing each other for instant access to the latest market news, "many traditional indicators of the market's internal strength are no longer as valuable as they once were. Take for example, the idea of a "90% up (or down) day." Historically, when either breadth or volume was "one sided" - to the tune of 90% or so - it was an indication that the move had some "oomph" behind it and was likely to continue. But since the market now moves in either a "risk on" or "risk off" mode, it seems that most days are 90% days. As such, I now put very little emphasis on the idea of breadth or up/down volume - at least on a daily basis."
    Mr. Manning goes on to say, "The same can be said for very simple trend indicators. It is said that price is a "pure" indicator due to the fact that nothing can cause price to diverge from itself. Thus, the idea is that if you can stay on the right side of the prevailing trend, you should be in good shape. This idea has led to the widespread use of moving-average indicators over the years, where the price trend of the index or security in question is smoothed out by averaging the prices of the last X-number of days. Then when the security you are trading crosses above or below the moving average, you buy or sell accordingly." This no longer works. "Ian Naismith, who is a fine analyst, a past President of NAAIM, and the head of Sarasota Capital, did some research on the subject that he presented to a group of active managers this week. His conclusion: Using moving average crossovers as buy and sell points is a complete waste of time and a terrible signal. Ian illustrated his point by showing the results of trading the SPY using a simple 20-day ma since the inception of the SPY. Total return of the system over the period: +15%. The problem is the buy-and-hold approach returned +165% during the same period - oh, and less than 30% of the trades were successful. Yikes!"
    Mr. Moenning continues, "I won't bore you with the rest of the stats, but the results, while better when you went with a longer ma, did not beat holding the SPY since its inception. So, as I've been saying recently, we've got a new market environment on our hands. This can be said for the period that began in 2000 as well as the post-flash crash era. Therefore, as market analysts, we've got to do more than just relying on age-old trend indicators because many of those indicators just don't work anymore."
    Obama prods supercommittee to reach deal  And when they do, look out below!
    Profit from the January Effect. This is predicated upon the idea of the four-year market cycle. But the four-year market cycle is based upon the monetary policies of the Fed, and now that we're in a liquidity trap, the Fed is no longer in control. Lots of luck with that presidential cycle forecast!
    Get set for Monday bond selloff  This article notes that because the news out of Europe is suddenly much better, there won't be the flight to safety that we've seen since Wednesday. And that means that U. S. bond interest rates will rise and bond prices will fall. 
    Long-term-care costs: What’s next?  This article, by Robert Powell, describes the parlous, bankrupt-inducing plight of the elderly (and their children) when it comes time for nursing home care.
    Seven reasons Italy may fall further
    2012 could be a good year for the markets.  This is the same kind of four-year cycle forecast as the January Effect article above. 
    Jon Markman has written: Dissecting the (ugly) Italian Job His point is that every country which has gotten into deep debt has issued more paper money, and that's why gold is headed toward (he says) $3,000 an ounce.
      

    State of the Markets articles include:
    Technical Talk: Stocks Poised to Test Resistance    
    Video Update: Weekly Market Summary  


2011-11-10: (Thursday Night): Stock market indices bounced back today, but they gained something like one-fourth today as much as they lost yesterday alone: Stocks rebound after ugly sell-off, Stocks Finish Higher Following Choppy Session. The NASDAQ Composite crept up  3.5 points (0.13%) to close at 2,625.15. The Dow gained  112.92 points (0.96%) to 11,893.79; the S&P 500 rose 10.6  points (0.86%) to settle at 1,229.10. Oil advanced to 97.61; gold slipped to 1,764: Gold and the Dot.coms: Comparing the Bubbles, Gold futures gain but fail to close above $1,800. The VIX dropped 3.35 points to 32.81.
    To me, today's action suggested a dead-cat bounce. It remains to be seen whether or not there's follow-through. As for prognostications, there's Monster breakout for Nasdaq 100, Economists cut odds of U.S. recession (video), and Italy changed everything., arguing that Italy's bond woes virtually eliminated the prospects of a year-end rally. As usual, Marketwatch is a Tower of Babble. 
    Italy sells T-bills as borrowing costs rise. Good idea. That way, Italy isn't locked into years of high interest payouts. And virtually all Italian government debt is held at a much lower interest rate than Italy paid yesterday.
 
   David  Weidner: There's a bigger issue than Italy. The bigger issue, says Mr. Weidner, was the irresponsible lending practices of European (and other) banks.
    EU warns of 'deep, prolonged recession', and EU: Greek economy faces bleak two years.
    Peter Brimelow asks Is it 1973 all over again?
    Bernanke says Fed's got latitude on inflation
    Jobless claims at seven-month low
    Import prices tumble.  
    Trade gap narrows
    Rumor of S&P Downgrade of France  
    S&P to France: Pardonnez-moi  
    Brett Arends tells you How to do business in Greece? You don’t.  


    State of the Markets articles include:
    The View From 30,000 Feet: Italy and The State of the U.S. Economy    
    Bernanke: Fed Is Focused on Job Growth At Present Time  
    Greece Update: Papademos To Be Named New PM Today  
    Rumor of S&P Downgrade of France  
    Time For The Implosion?
    Weekly Jobless Claims Down 10,000; Below 400K 
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Perks Up  

    Market futures are positive tonight.  


2011-11-9: (Wednesday Night): Stock market indices were clawed and bitten by the bear today, with the Dow down almost 400 points: Stocks drop more than 3%, Stocks Crushed Over Euro Zone Turmoil, Stocks get hammered by Italy fears. The NASDAQ Composite shed 105.84 points (-3.88%) to close at 2,621.65. The Dow free-fell  389.24 points (-3.2%) to 11,780.94; the S&P 500 plummeted 46.82  points (-3.67%) to settle at 1,229.10. Oil rose to 97.00; gold slipped to 1,787: Gold and the Dot.coms: Comparing the Bubbles, Gold futures gain but fail to close above $1,800. The VIX catapulted 8.68 points to 36.16.
    Today's angst is about Italy's soaring interest rates on government bonds, and about an intimation by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel that major changes in the Eurozone Treaty were imminent. Last night I included the Marketwatch article: "Is 7% Italy's tipping point? This article asks whether a ½ % rise in 10-year bond interest rates will be enough to trigger a Grecian-style meltdown. To quote from the article: 'If rates IT:10YR_ITA get above 7%, 'the markets will perceive that the story for Italy will become like the story for Greece. There has to be some change there and the problem is that unlike Greece, Italy is huge. There’s no real fix for Italy.'  Barach continued: 'Greece is to the EU like Chicago is to the United States. Italy is probably like California and New York combined. The EU has to stop dithering and take some decisive action, but it looks like they just can’t get their act together. By the time they decide to make a decision it might be too late to put out the fire.'”
 
   The best interpretation available to me is Paul Krugman's: Permanent Link to This Is The Way The Euro Ends, with particular attention on the two articles he quotes, one by Martin Wolf in the UK's Financial Times: Thinking through the Unthinkable, and John Quiggins in the U. S.' New York Times: Europe's Crisis Enabler: The Central Bank. In his article, Dr. Krugman says, 
    "I believe that the ECB rate hike earlier this year will go down in history as a classic example of policy idiocy. We would probably still be in this mess even if the ECB hadn’t raised rates, but the sheer stupidity of obsessing over inflation when the euro was obviously at risk boggles the mind.
    "I still find it hard to believe that the euro will fail; but it seems equally hard to believe that Europe will do what’s needed to avoid that failure. Irresistible force, meet immovable object — and watch the explosion.
"
    Thinking through the Unthinkable examines four scenarios proffered by New York University's Stern-School-of-Business Professor Nouriel Roubini for dealing with the current "Eurocrisis".
    Europe's Crisis Enabler: The Central Bank  This article, by Johns Hopkins' John Quiggins, echoes Paul Krugman's theme that the European Central Bank must be the lender of last resort. Professor Quiggins attributes the intransigence of the ECB to Jean-Claude Trishet. 
    Drawing on years as a NASA employee, Mr. Trichet sounds to me like the bureaucrat's bureaucrat. During my 22 years with NASA, I encountered a few powerful men at NASA Headquarters who were more  concerned with the rules of the game and their own careers than the welfare of their program areas. They were lackies... toadies... rather than independent agents. 
    Unlike the U. S. Federal Reserve, which has a dual mandate of fighting inflation while also curbing unemployment, the ECB has only one mandate: fighting inflation. And hey! that's easy if you don't care about destroying Europe! Just raise interest rates high enough to strangle European economies and you can bring inflation to zero while simultaneously destroying them.  
    The Wikipedia article on Mr. Trichet says, "Trichet has been criticised for the ECB's response to the Great Recession, which emphasised price stability over recovery and growth.[4]" Reference $ points to "An Impeccable Disaster", in the September 11 issue of the New York Times. 
    Five reasons Italy is not Greece  
    Significant as Italian interest rates are to the long-term picture, the actual cause of today's debacle may have been that Angela Merkel's Talk of Changes to Eurozone Treaty Puts Default Risk Back on the Table. Presumably, this was leaked on purpose in order to prepare Europeans and non-Europeans for allowing European peripheral countries that are in financial trouble to exit the use of the common currency without necessarily quitting the European Union. This has spooked investors, and means the "risk trade" is back on. 
  
One fact is clear: Italy's bond rates are a huge problem, and something other than maintaining the status quo will be required to solve it.
    Is this Europe's 'Lehman Brothers' moment?    
    Mark Hulbert writes: Might Santa Claus come early this year?          
    Supercommittee's risk of failure put at 15% by analyst.  
    Robert Powell writes: Supercommittee could hit your investments.  
    Inventories a red flag for GDP  
    Chinese inflation cools  


    State of the Markets articles include:
    Bond Yields in Italy Skyrocket In Response to Margin Increase    
    Merkel Says It's Time to Change EU Treaty  
    Investor's Intelligence: Bullish Sentiment Continues To Rise  
    NAAIM Survey Shows Active Managers Gaining Confidence  
    Wholesale Inventories Fall in September  
         
    Market futures are neutral tonight.  


2011-11-8: (Tuesday Night): U. S. stock market indices ended 1+ % higher again today, after falling and then rising again: Stocks hit intraday heights, Stocks Gain as Berlusconi Agrees to Resign. The NASDAQ Composite vaulted 32.24 points (1.2%) to close at 2,727.49. The Dow jumped 101.79 points (0.84%) to 12,178.18; the S&P 500 advanced 14.8  points (1.17%) to settle at 1,275.92. Oil rose to 97.00; gold slipped to 1,787: Gold and the Dot.coms: Comparing the Bubbles, Gold futures gain but fail to close above $1,800. The VIX dropped 2.37 points to 27.48.
    
    After winning a confidence vote today, Italy's Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, Berlusconi plans to resign: reports, Not so dolce vita (video). Want Berlusconi out? Be careful what you wish for. This article says, "Italian premier may be a slippery character, but the alternative could mean a drying up of tax receipts, capital flight, and a run on banks, writes Fil Zucchi." Matthew Lynn suggests that it makes no difference who's in charge of Italy anymore: it's on skids: Arrivederci, Italia. Is 7% Italy's tipping point? This article asks whether a ½ % rise in 10-year bond interest rates will be enough to trigger a Grecian-style meltdown. To quote from the article: “If rates IT:10YR_ITA get above 7%, 'the markets will perceive that the story for Italy will become like the story for Greece. There has to be some change there and the problem is that unlike Greece, Italy is huge. There’s no real fix for Italy.'  Barach continued: 'Greece is to the EU like Chicago is to the United States. Italy is probably like California and New York combined. The EU has to stop dithering and take some decisive action, but it looks like they just can’t get their act together. By the time they decide to make a decision it might be too late to put out the fire.'”

    Another article presents Draghi as European Central Bank captive: "Mario Draghi faces a desperate dilemma, writes David Callaway."   
    Mark Hulbert says there is Good news, and bad, from insiders.
    On the other hand, Big Money is looking more bullish
    Irwin Kellner writes: You cannot push on a string, and : "'Nearly everyone who was bribed by $8,000 federal tax credit to buy a house in 2009–10 has lost money', writes Brett Arends": The great $26 billion real estate swindle.
    Minyanville asks: Is this the recovery?

    Paul Farrell' article-du-jour is: Financial literacy is a big, fat Wall Street lie
    Michael Ashbaugh's weekly technical analysis is entitled: Michael Ashbaugh: S&P in view of technical test.

    State of the Markets articles include:
    Technical Talk: It's a Consolidation Phase - Play Accordingly    
    Slow Growth U.S., Steady Growth Asia, No Growth Europe?  
    Is Italy Really The Key?  
    Lucas Papademos To Be Named New Greek Prime Minister  
    McDonald's Global Sales Above Expectations  
    Italy's Berlusconi Wins Vote But Loses Majority; Resignation Calls Continue  
    Italy's Berlusconi Says To Resign Following New Budget Law  
         
    Market futures are neutral again tonight.  


2011-11-7: (Monday Night): U. S. stock market indices ended up somewhat today, after falling and then rising again: Stocks tilt higher, Stocks Shake Off Italy Worries; Move Higher. The NASDAQ Composite gained 9.10 points (0.34%) to close at 2,695.25. The Dow rose  85.07 points (0.71%) to 12,068.39; the S&P 500 advanced 7.89  points (0.63%) to settle at 1,261.12. Oil rose to 96.00: Bearish oil forecast; Oil reverses course to end at 3-month high; gold jumped to 1,798: Gold tops $1,790 to end at over six-week high, Peter Brimelow: Gold shares may begin to lead. The VIX dropped 0.28 points to 29.88.
    
    After winning a confidence vote on Friday, Greek Premier George Papandreou has agreed to (been forced to?) resign:
Report: Papandreou To Step Down In Deal To Back Greek Bailout, Greek Leaders Agree To New Coalition Government; Papandreou to Resign. This has put Greece on a back burner for the time being. But With Greece Resolved It's All About Italy Now. Yields on Italian 10-year bonds have hit an all-time high. Meanwhile, we have Germany's Industrial Output Dives in September and Eurozone Retail Sales Below Consensus Expectations. And at the same time, France Taking Preventive Measures to Cut Costs. Can you believe this? Europe is already tottering on the edge of recession and now France is cutting back.
    The article, Disappointing Europe at low ebb in the East, written by Marketwatch' David Marsh, describes the loss of respect Asiatics are developing as a result of the follies of the Eurozone members and leaders.
    Here's an article by Paul Krugman that quotes another economist's way of viewing what's going on in Europe: Permanent Link to Wishful Thinking And The Road To Eurogeddon. Dr. Krugman also mentions that "The European Central Bank also went all in for the doctrine of expansionary austerity, aka belief in the confidence fairy."
    Europe is obviously continuing to unravel. 
   
Health care needs a revolution, doctor says. I found this a very interesting article. The sub-title is  "The U. S. system is a 'body shop' that aims to protect profits." It continues, "Health care needs a total revolution so it starts promoting and paying for health instead of disease. That’s the conclusion Dr. Walter Bortz has come to after writing 150 scientific articles, authoring seven books and spending 40 years as a geriatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Clinic. He is a Stanford University professor of medicine who at age 81 still runs multiple miles three times a week and keeps a rigorous travel and speaking schedule."
    The World Health Organization ranks the U. S. in 34th place, one notch above Cuba (in 35th place). I agree that the U. S. health system is focused on repair rather than on prevention, and I agree that medical costs are spiraling out of control. When I listen to food ads on TV, they're all about how tasty their new bacon-double cheeseburger or hot fudge sundae is. 
    Ed Keon: Expect volatile trading thru December. He thinks that rising earnings will propel the U. S. stock market higher.  

     
    State of the Markets articles include:
    Technical Talk: Riding The New Range?    
    Italy's Rates Surge Over 6.5%; Why You Should Care  
    Consumer Credit Above Expectations in September  
      
    Market futures are neutral tonight.  


2011-11-4: (Friday Night): U. S. stock market indices fell somewhat today because: Summit locates little common ground on euro zone, Jobs Report a Mixed Bag; New Job Growth Just 80K But Unemployment Rate Dips. NASDAQ Composite slipped 11.82 points (-0.44%) to close at 2,686.16. The Dow declined  61.23 points (-0.51%) to 12,044.47; the S&P 500 fell back 7.92  points (-0.63%) to settle at 1,253.23. Oil rose to 94.49; Oil reverses course to end at 3-month high; gold slid to 1,757. The VIX dropped 0.34 points to 30.16.
    After closing yesterday at 1,261, the S&P 500 opened 10 points lower at 1,251. It then proceeded to work its way lower to 1,239, and then back up to close at 1,253, around 8 points below yesterday's close... a typical readjustment after two days. Meanwhile, the headlines continued to drive the computer-driven trades of the high-frequency traders (HFT's):
Report: Papandreou To Step Down In Deal To Back Greek Bailout , G-20's continental divide
      
    Howard Gold advises us that You can’t outguess this broken market. This time, it really is different, and trying to guess which way these markets are going to go based upon what they've done in the past isn't (or at least, isn't very) applicable.
    But Mark Hulbert tells us that our current market action: Looks and smells like bear-market rally. Investor sentiment is reaching dangerously optimistic levels.
    Brett Arends argues that Greece is doomed, so buy Greece!
    Another article tells How to profit from Fed inaction.
    And yet another article asks: Conservatives thwarting economic growth?
       
    State of the Markets contributions for today include:  
    Technical Talk: Volatility Doesn't Impact Current Read  Basically, this says that despite the thrills, chills, and spills in today's stock market, it has performed like a normal retrenchment after two strong up days.   
    The real news tonight: Greek Premier George Papandreou has survived his confidence vote: Greeks seek new coalition.
    Merkel: G-20 Commitment to EFSF Fund Weak  
    Italy Agrees To IMF Monitoring of Reform Progress   
    Eurozone Services PMI's Below Expectations; Show Contraction  

    And that wraps up another week.


2011-11-3: (Thursday Night): U. S. stock market indices soared today on a rate cut by Mario Draghi, the new chief of the European Central Bank, ECB delivers surprise rate cut in Draghi’s debut,  and indications that the Greek referendum won't be held after all: Greek referendum in doubt, Stocks Soar as Greek Referendum Unlikely. NASDAQ Composite regained 57.99 points (2.2%) points  to close at 2,697.97. The Dow rocketed  208.43 points (1.76%) to 12,044.47; the S&P 500 surged 23.25 points (1.88%) to settle at 1,261.15. Oil rose to 94.14; gold advanced to 1,765. The VIX dropped 2.24 points to 30.50.
    I said last night at bedtime: "
Market futures are down more than 1 % tonight. Things look dour." And they did, but that was before (1) the rest of Mr. Papandeou's government rebelled against him in the matter of a referendum: Greek Finance Minister Says No Referendum; Papandreou Backs Off Vote Pledge, Party Members Revolt Against Papandreou; Referendum, PM's Future In Question, BBC Says Greek Prime Minister Papandreou To Resign, and (2) the new head of the ECB revealed his position on the role of the ECB: namely, that unlike his predecessor, Jean-Claude Trichet, whose priorities were limited to the sole ECB mandate of reducing inflation, Dr. Draghi is concerned about the survival of the Eurozone: Draghi: the new sheriff in Frankfurt. (Unlike the U. S. Federal Reserve, which is tasked with holding down both unemployment and inflation, the ECB has the sole mandate of minimizing inflation.) Most important of all, this sends an upbeat message regarding what we can expect for the future.
      
    Mr. Market keeps his head up  Kevin Marder notes that the markets  held up well under yesterday's onslaught, and that they look as though they want to go up.
    2008's hazards are still with us (video)  This says that although banks are better-capitalized than they were in 2008, they're still in the crosshairs for a super-Lehman-Brothers moment if Greece outright (100%) defaults.
    Rex Nutting reminds us that Full employment is 12 years away
    Big profits, zero taxes for large U.S. companies 
       
    State of the Markets contributions for today include:  
    Technical Talk: Three Quick Takeaways From the Charts  This article, by David Moenning, expresses his frustration over the headline-driven high-frequency trading that drives the markets willy- nilly aimless, like tail-less kites. He explains elsewhere that you have to have a supercomputer, a technical staff of Ivy-League Ph. D. "quants", and an address near the New York Stock Exchange to play the high-frequency trading game.    
    Market Mover: AP Reports Greek Referendum Has Been Scrapped  
    Weekly Jobless Claims Fall 9,000; Fall Below 400K   
    Worker Productivity Rises; Unit Labor Costs Show No Inflation 
    In Surprise Move ECB Cuts Interest Rates  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Falls Again
    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index Pulls Back in October  
    Factory Orders Improve in September  
    Retail Sales Disappoint in October  

    For some reason, U. S. market futures aren't available, but overseas stocks are up tonight.


2011-11-2: (Wednesday Night): U. S. stock market indices regrouped today: Stocks halt two-day rout, Stocks Bounce Back; Bernanke Soothes EU JittersThe NASDAQ Composite regained  33.02 points (1.27%) points  to close at 2,639.98. The Dow rocketed  178.08 points (1.53%) to 11.836.04; the S&P 500 surged 19.62 points (1.61%) to settle at 1,218.29. Oil slipped again to 93.00 gold rose to 1,741. The VIX dropped 2.04 points to 32.74.
    The European Union's response to Greek premier George Papandreou's decision to refer the EU rescue plan to plebiscite was swift and sharp: IMF Warns Next Tranche of Greek Aid Won’t Come Before Referendum, G-20 Official: All Aid To Greece Frozen Until Referendum
. Of course, I haven't a clue regarding what's really going on with Greece and the EU. It's easy to fault Premier Papandreou, but who knows what it looks like from where he sits? We'll probably find out over the next few days. It wouldn't be the first time that a Very Important Person has made wild misjudgments, but this may or may not be one of them.
    Private-sector payrolls up 110,000 in October
    Earnings trump consumers' mood  
    Bernanke: Maybe in 2013 (video)  Ben Bernanke says that rates won't be raised before mid-2013 (a little over a year-and-a-half from now).
    Mark Hulbert writes about A stock market versus a market of stocks,   
    7 billion reasons markets will change direction This good article by Matthew Lynn talks about long-term shifts from the West to Asia, South America, and other emerging markets. Mr. Lynn cites five trends that he thinks will unfold over the next twenty or thirty years.
    Let them eat baklava!  Brett Arends exclaims in disgust that the European Union ought to let Greece exit from the EU, and ought to let the Greeks stew in their own juices. (Unfortunately, French organizations hold large positions in Greek debt.)
    Concern emerges over latest IMF tranche  
    Mideast economies as next concern  
    Global manufacturing stagnates in October  
      
    State of the Markets contributions for today include:  
    Technical Talk: High Frequency Trading Makes the Game Harder But...  This article, by David Moenning, expresses his frustration over the headline-driven high-frequency trading that drives the markets willy- nilly aimless, like tail-less kites. He explains elsewhere that you have to have a supercomputer, a technical staff of Ivy-League Ph. D. "quants", and an address near the New York Stock Exchange to play the high-frequency trading game.    
    Fed Says Economy "Strengthened Somewhat" in Q3; Makes No Changes to Policy   
    Fed Revises Economic Projections Downward 
    Rates Continue to Rise at Portugal's T-Bill Auction  
    ADP Employment Report Shows Private Sector Added 110K Jobs in October
    National Association of Active Investment Managers Survey Shows Active Managers Have Remained Cautious  
    
    Market futures are down more than 1 % tonight. Things look dour.


2011-11-1: (Tuesday Night): U. S. stock market indices dwindled further today after yesterday afternoon's surprise announcement by Greek Premier George Papandreou that he would call for a referendum basically on whether or not Greeks want to stay in the European Union:  Greece still swaying stocks,   Vote is "Basically Dead" - Greek Party OfficialThe NASDAQ Composite plunged  77.45 points (-2.89%) lower to close at 2,606.96. The Dow plummetted  297.05 points (-2-48%) to 11.657.96; the S&P 500 sagged 35.02 points (-2.79%) to settle at 1,218.29. Oil slipped again to 91.71 gold rose slightly to 1,721. The VIX jumped another 4.81 points to 34.77.
    Ashbaugh: U.S. markets fall to support levels
    As Michael Ashbaugh says, U. S. market indices have fallen to their support levels. The S&P 500 closed slightly below its support level of 1,220, meaning that if they fall further tomorrow, we may see a collapse to much lower levels.
     Mark Hulbert discusses Demographics and the stock market. This is about the impact that retiring Baby Boomers will have on the U. S. stock market. But he concludes that this is far enough off that it probably doesn't warrant much attention compared to the immediate future.
    David Weidner admonishes: Occupy Wall Street: Get real or go home. This article presents five suggested goals that the Occupy Wall Street" protestors could adopt that would constitute something besides a moan-and-groan lament on the ills of modern times.
    Irwin Kellner warns It’s a bad time for a bad mood. Dr. Kellner is referring to poor consumer sentiment numbers as we approach the all-important holiday shopping season. 
    Thomas Kee observes that The easy money has been made
    Arends: Six things no one mentions about MF  Less than a week ago, a few days before MF Global filed for bankruptcy, Jon Corzine, the president of MF Global, bragged at length about how well the company was doing and how bright its future looked. Marketwatch' columnist Brett Arends explains how rotten a deal this was, and how most of us have been scammed by MF Global. Most mutual funds, including, e. g., The Fidelity Group and TIAA-CREF, had sizable investments in MF Global. So it's not just Wall Street but Main Street that's taking the hit. He goes on to say,
    "These days more and more power lies in the hands of a smaller and smaller elite. Many people react by taking refuge in conspiracy theories. They assume the elite knows what’s really going on.
    "The more frightening view is the exact opposite: That the people steering the ship haven’t got a clue.
    "Look at Jon Corzine, the chairman and CEO of MF Global. He has remarkable credentials. He’s the former head of Goldman Sachs, a former Senator, a former governor. And MF Global was his baby. He took over there last year, on a mission to build it into a global financial firm.
    "Yet it turns out the company’s blow-up took him by completely surprise. How much? Consider this: Corzine actually bought about $450,000 worth of MF Global stock with his own money over the summer. Some of it as recently as August."

    Mr. Arends also observes that the average MF Global employee, including secretaries and other support staff (3,000 in all), was paid about $184,000 last year.
    On that same page (I'm unable to link to it) is a video entitled "Is shareholder Capitalism working?" This video, by David Weidner, gives as an example Nabors Industries, Inc. Nabors CEO, Eugene Isenberg, has just been awarded $100,000,000 by his Board of Directors to move up from CEO to Chairman of the Board. This is after receiving $200,000,000 from the company two years ago. And this doesn't include his other emoluments, or the pay received by other top executives at Nabors Industries, Inc. This is from a company that earns about $300,000,000 in profits a year. And Mr. Weidner mentions that this is typical of medium-sized corporations. The CEO has the Board of Directors in his pocket. These management teams are there to plunder the corporations, taking the money they earn away from the shareholders. Mr. Weidner observes that large investors like The Fidelity Group could correct the situation, but Nabors Industries is too small to warrant the effort. After all, Fidelity isn't investing its own money. Fidelity is investing our money and becoming filthy rich in the process.
    Strong cross currents at play in November  
      
    State of the Markets contributions for today include:  
    Technical Talk: Not Exactly As Expected, But....       
    What The Greece Referendum Really Means   
    UK GDP Remains Weak But Comes In Above Expectations 
    UK Manufacturing PMI Dives Below 50; Indicates Contraction 
    Papandreou's Party Majority Shrinks in Greek Parliament 
    ISM Manufacturing Index Pulled Back in October But Still In Expansion Mode  
          
    Market futures are neutral tonight.


2011-10-31: (Monday Night): U. S. stock market indices swooned today: Big bite out of October gain, Greek Vote Roils Market LateThe NASDAQ Composite drifted  52.74 points (-1.93%) lower to close at 2,684.41. The Dow tumbled  276.1 points (-2-28%) to 11.955.01; the S&P 500 crumbled 31.79 points (-2.47%) to settle at 1,253.30. Oil slipped a little more to 92.68 gold fell significantly to 1,718. The VIX dropped 5.43 points to 29.96.
    One factor in today's decline besides the fact that the markets are very overbought and overdue for a pullback is that after last week's Eurozone agreements aimed at (among other things) staving off rising Italian bond prices, Italian bond yields rose today, anyway.
    
    On Friday, Howard Gold warned: Howard Gold: Leveraged ETFs are the worst. Now today comes In defense of leveraged ETFs.  
    John Nyardi says that technical indicators point toward calm and rising markets through the end of the year: Happy holidays on the charts  
    David Marsh warns us that Europe could have to borrow in renminbi. The Chinese are attaching the stipulation to their purchases of European bonds that payment will have to be denominated in yuan rather than dollars. 
      
    State of the Markets contributions for today include:  
    Technical Talk: Will Dip-Buyers Emerge? And the answer, basically, is "no".       
    David Moenning kicks off the day with: Will The Frightful Markets Return?  
     In My Opinion: Digging Deepr Into Last Week's Blast 
    Greece To Hold Public Referendum on New Debt Deal 
    Do Or Die Week For Congressional Budget Supercommittee?  
    OECD Cuts GDP Forecasts for Eurozone, U.S., and G-20 
    Chicago PMI Pulls Back a Bit in October; Below Consensus.       
      
    Market futures are down ¼ % tonight.


2011-10-28: (Friday Night): U. S. stock market indices closed this afternoon about where they started this morning: Stocks lock in weekly gains, Stocks flatline after huge rallyThe NASDAQ Composite drifted  1.48 points (-0.05%) lower to close at 2,737.15. The Dow wiggled up  22.56 points (0.18%) to 12,231.11; the S&P 500 verniered up 0.5 points (0.04%) to settle at 1,285.09. Oil slipped a little to 93.09; gold fell slightly to 1,744. The VIX dropped 0.93 points to 24.53.
    Today didn't offer a promising buying opportunity. State of the Markets recommends waiting for a pullback to the 1,260-1,265 neighborhood before committing more funds to this market, and that didn't happen today. (The S&P 500's intra-day low was 1,277.)
    Market watch advises that Consumers spending more and Mood improves.
    Howard Gold warns: Howard Gold: Leveraged ETFs are the worst.  His well-taken point: leveraged ETFs are for professional day traders and not for long-term investors. They leak money because of the fact that they are rebalanced daily.
    Al Lewis states that it's Too late to debate Obama’s stimulus plan. And Mark Hulbert notes that Wall of worry gives way to slope of hope... optimism is rapidly replacing fear and pessimism. (State of the Markets mentions this, but only as one factor among several in foretelling market action.)
    Charting U.S.'s recoveries  What I find striking and a source of real concern about this article is the way it compares the current economic recovery with previous post-World War II recoveries. To recap what I've discussed previously, this recession is qualitatively different from all the other recessions we've experienced since World War II. For the first time since WWII, the Fed's monetary machinery for controlling unemployment and inflation has run out of traction. After WWII, the Fed found that it could speed up or slow down the U. S. economy by raising or lowering the discount rate it charged banks for overnight loans. This raised or lowered interest rates on business (and all other) loans, contracting or boosting the money supplies (e. g., M1 and M2), slowing the economy to fight inflation or speeding up the economy to fight unemployment. In 2002, during the dot.com boom-bust, the candle almost blew out. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan had lowered the discount rate to 1%, and for a time, it appeared as though this nearly-zero interest rate  wouldn't be enough to re-ignite the country's financial fires. It was explained at the time (in 2003) that if this 1% interest rate didn't pull us out of recession, the Fed would have no more bullets to fire against the bear. As they put it at the time: "You can't push on a string." But it worked in 2002-2003, if only barely. The economy rebooted once again... until 2007. Then in 2008, the Fed once again lowered interest rates to essentially zero, and this time, it didn't restart the economy. 
    During the 60-year period from the late 1940's to 2008, two generations grew up with the understanding that if the Fed lowered interest rates to increase the money supply, there would be more money chasing a given amount of goods and services, and the result would be inflationary. (This is what I learned in the late 70's.) This led to the mantra: "When the government prints money (by lowering the discount rate), it causes inflation". But this is only half the story. It's the rate of flow of money--the amount of money multiplied by its "velocity"--that determines the effect of federal money on the economy. From the late '40's to 2008, the Fed could count on the velocity of money being sufficient to move into the economy any money it "printed", stimulating it. If banks had money, they would lend it. But in 2008, this all changed. The Fed lowered the interest rate effectively to zero, but this time (2008) , lowering the discount rate failed to restart the economy. Furthermore, since it was the banks that were at the heart of the bubble, the banks were left with highly questionable collateral. They all-but-quit lending in order to rebuild their cash reserves in case their depositors wanted their money back. 
    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures individual bank deposits up to $100,000 per account, which probably helped prevent runs on banks. However, at the peak of the crisis, in the fall of 2008, it was mentioned that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation would run out of funds in a hurry if wholesale runs on banks occurred. Since the FDIC is backed by the federal government, there was speculation that if necessary, the government would step up to the plate and back up the FDIC. And since the whole problem is that of confidence that the system will protect us, that and other steps taken by the U. S. government (especially by Ben Bernanke and the Fed) were able to calm everyone down and avert massive runs on banks, credit unions, and money market funds.    
    Getting back to the plot, the Federal Reserve has pumped up the U. S. money supply hugely, but there's been no rampant inflation because the economy is too weak to allow employees to demand higher wages and to permit companies to increase prices.  (Consumers financed the past decade by going deeper and deeper into debt. Now it's time to recover. The threat of unemployment is forcing a less lavish, more prudent lifestyle the average consumer.)
    My key point is that this is no garden-variety recession but one that has demanded unprecedented corrective maneuvers. Comparing this to any other post-WWII recession is misleading. Also, it's discomfiting that financial journalists don't make this distinction. You wonder if they're aware that it's really different this time. And it doesn't follow that the future will mirror the past.
    Or so I think.
    Financial stocks slide into red on U.S. data  
      
    State of the Markets articles include:
    Technical Talk: Will We Get A Pullback In Near-Term?

    Rates Hit Record High At Italian Bond Auction        
    UK Consumer Confidence Falls To Lowest Level Since Feb 2009  
    Unemployment Hits 15-Year High in Spain  
    Personal Incomes and Spending Rise in September  
    EFSF Head Says No Chinese Commitment to SPV (Yet)  
    University of Michigan Sentiment Index Rises in October  
    
    And that about sums it up for this week.


2011-10-27: (Thursday Night): World markets exploded today: Dow is on track for best-ever October advance, Relief At Last, Stocks SoarThe NASDAQ Composite ended the day up 87.96 points (3.32%) to close at 2,738.63. The Dow vaulted 339.51 points (2.86%) to 12,208.55; the S&P 500 scored 42.59 points (3.43%) to settle at 1,284.59. Oil leaped to 94.02; gold soared to 1,747. The VIX dropped 4.4 points to 25.46.
    Today's explosive rally rests upon two cornerstones of good news: European Leaders Strike Deal on Greek Debt, Europe's in agreement: 50% Greek haircut, and U.S. GDP Grew By +2.5% in Q3; Above Expectations. And now, shorts are being covered, and institutions are jumping on the bandwagon in a spate of end-of-year performance anxiety. Right now, we're seeing a "buying panic", to be followed (probably) by doubts and reconsiderations: No bazooka: EU plan short of permanent fix, and Timeline of the sovereign-debt crisis. Then, too, some investment groups will decide to take some profits off the table: "Buy on the rumor; sell on the news." The only question now is: how much farther will this go? (The Economic Cycle Research Institute forecast of renewed recession in the U. S. us still with us. Usually, their forecasts are issued several months before the stock markets peak.) State of the Markets Curtis Bergquist suggests that a pullback will probably occur within the next three trading days (U.S. stocks near 'overbought' level- Birinyi), but that history points to longer-term gains after a rise like we've just seen: History Says Buy 'Em. This addresses an important question: is it too late to buy into this rally? Curtis Bergquist's advisory says, "No, it's not too late, particularly if you buy in on the inevitable retrenchment that's due in one to three days". 
             
    Technical Talk: Overbought Is Now a Good Thing

    Eurozone Business Sentiment Readings Above Expectations   
    Bank of Japan to Boost QE Program  
    Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Steady at Just Over 400K  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Pulls Back 
    Pending Home Sales Fall in September  
      
    Marketwatch has its commentaries on today's events: Did EU get it right? Maybe, and Open question: Haircut a credit event?.  
    David Callaway observes that The 1% just got a lot richer, and PR aside, Madoffs may stay in the 1%
    Robert Powell observes that Money smarts erode quickly after age 60 (by about 2% a year).  
    Peter Brimelow explains that Bulls on move, but targetless. One tidbit that struck me is the fact that the Dow Theory Letters' Richard Russell is 87, and yet, is still writing and publishing his newsletter. There are other investment newsletter publishers who are also octogenarians... James Dines, whom Peter Brimelow characterizes as "probably the most arrogant, egotistical, aggressive and abrasive of all the investment letter editors monitored by the Hulbert Financial Digest" (Dines authors Investment Letter of The Year 2006 - Peter Brimelow ) comes to mind. Mr. Dines is an octogenarian, although as Peter Brimelow goes on to say, "I have been writing nice things about Dines' work -- and he's been responding with nasty notes -- for some thirty years. (The Dines Letter started much earlier, in 1960, although I can't find a mention in his official bio of his, well, AGE)." I've also been unable to find mention of Mr. Dines' age except for references to him as an "octogenarian". 

    Market futures are down about 1/3rd % tonight.


2011-10-26: (Wednesday Night): The markets fell back and then charged ahead today: Europe sets off new rally, Market Deems New EU Plan "Enough"The NASDAQ Composite added 12.25 points (0.46%) to close at 2,650.67. The Dow advanced 162.42 points (1.39%) to 11,869.04; the S&P 500 grabbed 12.95 points (1.05%) to settle at 1,242. Oil rose to 90.81; gold soared to 1,721. The VIX dropped 2.36 points to 29.86.
    A moment of truth will come at 7:30 p. m. Eastern Time when European finance ministers release a statement to the press
. however, details have been leaking out today, and they point toward a one-trillion Euro bailout fund. 
    Another interesting news article is Growth may take a turn up
    Another interesting Market watch article is No longer in long-term bull market. (This is a technical article.)
    Todd Harrison revisits his 2009 forecast for societal unrest and class conflict Euro stress and New York’s police state; "I’ve written about the potential ramifications of the shifting social mood for the better part of 10 years. I’m empathetic to the self-proclaimed 99% and truly believe that not everyone on Wall Street is evil — and some are even trying to be part of the solution." He notes that we're now in the second side of financial storm that has overtaken us.
    Mark Hulbert explains Why gold is rallying.
    Rex Nutting writes about 2 non-negotiable demands of the 99%.
    Some other good Marketwatch articles tonight include:   
    Don’t expect Draghi to save the euro    
    More risks ahead, so protect portfolios now  Robert Powell warns that 
    Darell Delamaide notes that Occupy Wall Street is bipartisan.  

    State of the Markets Technical Talk: So Far, So Good, But...
    EU Draft Statement: EFSF Could Be Leveraged Several Fold  
    Berlusconi Reaches Deal on Pension Reform  
    Summit Details Still Elusive But Banks Nearing Deal On Greek Debt  
    Orders for Durable Goods Report a Mixed Bag  
    New Homes Sales Rise 17K in September  
    Germany's Lower House Approves Motion To Boost EFSF  
    Investor's Intelligence Shows Bullish Sentiment Increasing  
    NAAIM Sentiment Survey Shows Managers Jumped Back In  
    Some Deep Thoughts While We're Waiting  
           
    Market futures are up about 1 % tonight.


2011-10-25: (Tuesday Night): Today, the markets have tanked, bouncing off their 200-day moving averages to drop close to their support levels (1,225 on the S&P 500): Chin music for the markets, Trepidation In Front of Summit Sends Stocks LowerThe NASDAQ Composite subtracted -61.02 points (-2.26%) to close at 2,638.42. The Dow receded 207 points (-1.74%) to 11,706.62; the S&P 500 skidded 25.13 points (-2%) to settle at 1,229.05. Oil rose to 92.47; gold soared to 1,706. The VIX advanced 2.06 points to 32.22.
   
The S&P 500 closed at 1,229 today, 4 points above its support level of 1,225. If it successfully reverses and rises from here, then it will be ready for another pass at its 200-day moving average. If not... well, then I guess it will go down before it goes back up.
    State of the Markets considers today's contretemps to be a retest of its 1,225 support level, and to offer a "second chance" buying opportunity: Technical Talk: Does The Tape Really Tell All?. Of course, before this can be a buying opportunity, the indices must rebound from their resistance levels. (In all likelihood, by the time we're satisfied that the indices have rebounded and that this represents a "second buying opportunity", the indices will probably have moved back above this window of opportunity.) However, the markets seem to have pulled back on cue. Jitters over Europe have been cited as the principal culprit, although a lower-than-expected FHFA House Price Index, a disappointing consumer confidence report, and a gloomy Richmond Fed Index added to investor trepidations.
    Some additional State of the Markets articles include: 
    Richmond Fed Report Paints a Gloomy Picture  
    Consumer Confidence Takes a Dive in October  
    Must Read: 3M Earnings Report Talks of Slowdown  The company is looking to emerging markets for marketing opportunities.
    UPS Beats By A Penny; Reaffirms Guidance  
    US Steel Sports Strong Results  
    Case-Shiller Home Price Composite Up Again in August; Down -3.8% Year-over-Year  
    Merkel Objects To Line In Summit Conclusion; Stocks React  
    FHFA House Price Index Falls in August  

    Jon Markman writes: EU deal won't stop recession.
    Manufacturers lower sights "U.S. manufacturing and metal companies curb outlooks — raising fresh recovery questions."
    Hulbert on how not to seek dividend income  
    Playing emerging markets now  The author suggests playing emerging market growth through Western companies that are heavily exposed to emerging markets. (He also points out that excessive personal debts and aging populations imply that Western nations are apt to be "the  consumption sponge that absorbs all of the world's production."

    Market futures are down about ¼ % tonight.


2011-10-24: (Monday Night): Once more, the equity markets have soared: Brighter world for stocks, Stocks get merger, earnings boost, and Sentiment Improves; Bulls RollThe NASDAQ Composite added 61.98 points (2.35%) to close at 2,699.44: Nasdaq breaks through 200-day average. The Dow annexed 104.83 points (0.89%) to 11,913.62; the S&P 500 gained 15.94 points (1.29%) to settle at 1,254.19. Oil leaped to 91.79; gold climbed to 1,655. The VIX fell 2.06 points to 29.26.
    By now, the markets are quite overbought, so the conventional wisdom is that it would be wise to wait for a retest of the 1225 level on the S&P 500. The problem with this is that this strategy is obvious to traders so it may not happen, or at least, it may test the convictions of seasoned traders before it happens. One key idea, though, is that while the S&P 500 might rise over the next few days, it's climbed 150 points over the past three weeks. There are 40 trading days in November and December. I doubt that the S&P 500 will rise more than another 150 points between now and year's-end. That means there will be some backing and filling between now and the end of the year. The rise won't be as rapid as it has been lately.

    State of the Markets' Curt Bergquist presents his thoughts on where things are going over the next year: In My Opinion: Some Thoughts On The Grand Plan. And additional State of the Markets articles include:
    Technical Talk: The Most Bullish Thing a Market Can Do
    The Never-Ending Mystery of Earnings Season and Other Apple Matters    
    New Industrial Orders In Eurozone Continue Decline But Above Consensus    
    Obama To Announce Mortgage-Refinance Program  
    China's Flash PMI Improves; Suggests Soft Landing Ahead  
    Fed's Dudley: FOMC Will Do Everything In Its Power  
    Chicago Fed National Activity Index Shows Improvement  

    Meanwhile, back at Marketwatch:
    China’s economy may face hard landing
    Paul Farrell writes: EU bank failures will crash Wall Street again.
    Market gains flummox forecasters  
    Beijing talks tough on European debt 
      
    Market futures are slightly lower tonight.


2011-10-21: (Friday Night): The equity markets soared again today: Stocks: Back where we started, Three weeks of S&P gainsThe NASDAQ Composite regained 38.84 points (1.49%) to close at 2,637.46. The Dow lofted 267.01 points (2.31%) to 11,808.79; the S&P 500 rose 22.86 points (1.88%) to settle at 1,238.25. Oil adjusted down slightly to 87.62; gold climbed to 1,640. The VIX fell 3.46 points to 31.32.
       
   Brett Arends has written an amusing summary explaining Why Occupy Wall Street will fail. First, says Mr. Arends, they're in the wrong place. "Wall Street" is just a figure of speech. The real action is elsewhere, in, e. g., Greenwich, Connecticut. Second, there's no leadership or common cause... just a dissonant collection of dissidents. It's an exercise in herding cats. Third, it's all very well to camp out in tents in mild weather, but winter is coming on. Once snow begins to fly, the tent camper dilatants will disappear.  Fourth, money talks. "Actually, these days, money shouts, and it will drown out whatever anyone else says." The demonstrators can demonstrate until Gabriel blows his horn, but in the meantime, backroom deals will be cut, and "No matter how much anger these protesters channel, the golden rule will prevail: Those that have the gold will make the rules." He says, "Politicians suck up to the banks for the same reason Willie Sutton once robbed them: That’s where the money is." And fifth, the media will lose interest in "Occupy Wall Street". OWS will move from page 1 to page 17 once the novelty wears off.
      
    State of the Markets articles include:
    Technical Talk: Reversing the Reversal of the Reversal
    Next Tranche of Aid to Greece Has Been Approved 
    Let's All Play The Guessing Game! 
    Will Bernanke & Co. Step Up To Plate Again Soon? 
    GE Report In Line With Estimates
    Philly Fed Index Bounces Back
    Fitch Says There Are No Plans to Downgrade France    
    McDonald's Report Sends Stock Higher     
    Europe Update: Germany Explains Delay 
    German IFO Business Climate Index Falls Again
    Why is Groupon Getting Grouponed and Users Getting In Facebook’s Face? 
      

    Marketwatch reports that Fed to try talking first with QE3 in reserve.
    Mark Hulbert tells us What 2012 election means for stocks.
    From Howard Gold: Big-name gurus not too big to fail. And Jeff Reeves suggests that we Short the euro-zone optimism. Then there's: 
    Franco-German debt split undercuts euro summit, and
    • Brouwer: Another financial panic coming? 

    I hope your weekend goes wonderfully well.


2011-10-20: (Thursday Night): The equity markets closed little changed today:  Stocks jet-lagged over E.U, Stocks claw back from deep losses, Stocks Buffeted By Headlines; Finish Higher on Hope for EU Solution The NASDAQ Composite shed 5.42 points (-0.21%) to close at 2,598.62. The Dow gained 37.16 points (0.32%) to 11,541.78; the S&P 500 tacked on  5.51 points (0.46%) to settle at 1,215.39. Oil adjusted down slightly to 85.98; gold fell to 1,626. The VIX advanced 0.34 points to 34.78.
   
The indices are still dancing around the tops of their trading ranges. 

    State of the Markets articles include:
    Technical Talk: Place Your Bets
    European Officials Now Considering Combination Fund at $1.3 Trillion 
    Weekly Jobless Claims Fall 6,000; Still Above 400K 
    EU Officials Unaware of Plans to Postpone Summit 
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Improves
    Philly Fed Index Bounces Back
    Existing Home Sales Down 3% in September    
    U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Up +0.2% in September; Chances of Recession 50%     
    Reuters: Germany Says No Decision On EFSF Leveraging at Summit 
    Merkel Cancels Scheduled Statement on EU Summit
    Second EU Summit Could Happen As Early as Wednesday 
    Bernanke To Submit Proposals To Lift Housing Market 
    Guardian: EU May Ban Downgrades of Countries in Bailout 
    From what I've gathered, Germany and France aren't in agreement about the size of the "haircut" bondholders must take on Greek bond defaults. France owns a lot more Greek debt than Germany. So there will be the scheduled EU summit this weekend where there will be agreements on less controversial issues and a chance for photo ops, followed by a second meeting where they get down the the gritty details of the Greek default.
    The rise in the Philadelphia Fed index was considered a big deal today because it was a fall in the Philly Fed index that ushered in the August-October market decline.
    The timid advance of the Leading Economic Indicators suggests a 50-50 chance of a recession in the first half of next year.
     Jon Markman has written an article discussing the apparent collision between upbeat results like the uptick in the Philly Fed index and the recession forecast of the Economic Cycle Research Institute: Right recession call: Wall Street or ECRI?. He notes that the ECRI is generally predicts recessions several months before the final stock market peaks that are the last hurrahs before the recessions. 
    Rex Nutting says, We need more inflation. And finally, Fed to the re-rescue?
    Market futures are up tonight  


2011-10-19: (Wednesday Night): The equity markets closed significantly lower today:  Fear Returns To Market Driving Stocks Lower, Stocks catch whiff of fearThe NASDAQ Composite declined  53.39 points (2.01%) to close at 2,604.04. The Dow dropped 72.43 points (-0.63%) to 11,504.62; the S&P 500 lost  15.5 points (-1.26%) to settle at 1,209.88. Oil moved up to 86.07; gold fell to 1,643. The VIX advanced 2.88 points to 34.44.
   
The indices are dancing around the tops of their trading ranges. The Fed's Beige Book reveals that the Fed governors saw continued advancement in the U. S. economy over the past three months, but at a quite tepid pace: Economy plods along: Fed.

    State of the Markets articles include:
    Differences Between Germany and France Stall 'Comprehensive Plan' Progress
    Investor's Intelligence Shows Bullish Sentiment On The Rise  
    CPI Comes In With Gain of +0.3%; Core Rate +0.1%
    Housing Starts Up Big In September; Starts Pull Back  
    China Warns of 'Grim Situation' on Foreign Trade  
    NAAIM Survey Shows Active Managers Stayed Bearish  
    Bullard: U.S. Avoided 'Recession Scare' Fed Board member  
    Economic Update: Fed’s Beige Book Report    

    Mark Hulbert Mark Hulbert's article tonight details A recipe for stock market volatility. What strikes me about Mr. Hulbert's article is his conclusion that the situation today is unparalleled in the history of the stock market, and that stocks are sufficiently overpriced that the only thing that's keeping the indices up is the fact that yields and outlooks on everything else is at a minimum right now, leaving the stock market as the only game in town that might offer decent returns.       
    
    Marketwatch's Lawrence McMillen states that The market is at a crucial juncture. M. McMillen notes that October is usually a month of market lows, which sets things up for a year-end rally. Also, broad measures of investor sentiment are extremely negative, which "means that a bottom is forming". He's looking for a close on the S&P 500 above 1,230. 
    In Occupy Wall Street signals end of utopian economics, Israeli columnist Amotz Asa-El explains that the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has spread around the world, marks the end of passivity and a resurgence of Jeffersonian democracy among the disenfranchised public: Occupy Wall Street’s good, bad and ugly.  
    Darrell Delamaide writes: Cain mutiny: 9-9-9 plan may lead to backlash. GOP candidate Herman Cain is backed by the ultra-right-wing, multibillionaire Koch Brothers. His 9-9-9 plan would, allegedly, lead to higher taxes for the poor and lower taxes for the very rich: Tax Policy Center Does Herman Cain.  
    Stock market futures are neutral tonight.


2011-10-18: (Tuesday Night): The equity markets closed sharply higher today:  Stocks stage late day rally on hopes for Europe, France and Germany Agree to Leverage EFSF to 2 Trillion EurosThe NASDAQ Composite rose  42.51 points (1.63%) to close at 2,657.43. The Dow dropped 180.05 points (1.58%) to 11,577.05; the S&P 500 gained  24.52 points (2.04%) to settle at 1,225.38. Oil moved up to 88.44; gold fell to 1,665. The VIX retrenched 1.83 points to 31.56.
   
The markets closed above the tops of their trading ranges again today, and on higher volume than we've seen since this rally began. But after the close came this article, No deal to boost European bailout fund: report, claiming that "Reports that Germany and France have agreed to raise the European Financial Stability Facility to 2 trillion euros are 'totally wrong,'". Also, Apple's earnings have disappointed, and the after-hours news is generally unfavorable.

    State of the Markets articles include:
    Technical Talk: The End of The One-Way Streets?
    Fakeout #4?  
    Here's Hoping It's The Beginning Of The End
    Bank of America Earnings Disappoint  
    Coca-Cola Earnings Ahead of Consensus But  
    Goldman Sachs Posts a Larger-Than Expected Loss  
    Moody's Warns of Possible Downgrade for France  
    PPI Report Shows Inflation Hotter Than Expected in September  
    EU Officials Say EFSF Size Can Be Leveraged 3X to 5X  
    NAHB Homebuilder Confidence Index Sees Improvement  
    Merkel Says Greece Plan Will Be Decided On At EU Summit  
      
    Mark Hulbert reports that an Indicator with great record turns bullish. The indicator in question is the High Low Logic Index which now "stands solidly in bullish territory".  
    Kevin Marder tells us that this Market rally lacks conviction. His analysis is based upon yesterday's close.  
    U.S. wholesale prices leap 0.8% in September, mostly because of energy and food. (The core inflation rate rose 0.2%.) 
    Builder confidence boost  
    S&P 500, Nasdaq maintain first support
    Moody's downgrades Spain on growth slowdown  
    Apple shares fall as earnings miss expectations  
    All in all, the after-hours news isn't good, and tomorrow's market futures are somewhat lower.  


2011-10-17: (Monday Night): The equity markets sharply lower today:  Stocks tumble 2% on Europe jitters, Merkel Says Don't Get Hopes Up On Quick Solution to Debt CrisisThe NASDAQ Composite slid  52.93 points (-1.98%) to close at 2,614.92. The Dow dropped 247.49 points (-2.13%) to 11,397.00; the S&P 500 backed up 23.72 points (-1.94%) to settle at 1,200.86. Oil moved up to 87.37; gold rose to 1,682. The VIX popped 5.15 points to 33.39.
    As I said on Friday, if the markets advance today on high volume, then it's on to a year-end rally. If not, it's back to the trading range.
 
    And the answer is: it's back to the trading range.
    Earlier today, State of the Markets published its Technical Talk: Does Volume Matter Anymore? Apparently, the answer is "yes", although it will take further downside action to cement that in place. German leaders today dashed hopes for a quick fix to the Eurozone debt crisis: Confidence Erodes as Leaders Downplay Expectations
    Some additional State of the Markets articles include:
    G20 Finance Ministers Back Capital Increases For Big Banks  
    Beleaguered Banks: Book Values, DVA's and The Potted Plant Strategy  
    EU May Ban Naked CDS Purchases on Sovereign Debt  
    Citi's Earnings Report Includes 'Credit Valuation Adjustment'  
    Empire Manufacturing Index Well Below Expectations  
    Industrial Production Report Largely In Line  
    IBM Earnings Beat Estimates but Light on Revenues  
    Earning Scorecard: After the Bell  
    
    Marketwatch doesn't have many articles I'm including tonight:
    Large U.S. firms outpace tepid U.S. growth    
    Are bond yields telling us something about future stock prices?  

    Market futures are down slightly tonight, but the S&P 500 closed today only 20 points below the top of its range. It wouldn't take a lot to move it on up out of its range.


2011-10-14: (Friday Night): The equity markets closed today at their highest levels since they entered the current trading range in August, and slightly above the tops of their respective trading ranges. (Volume was relatively low.) The NASDAQ Composite gained 47.61 points (1.82%) to close at 2,667.85. The Dow jumped 166.36 points (1.35%) to 11,644.49; the S&P 500 closed up 20.92 points (1.74%) to settle at 1,224.58. Oil moved up to 87.37; gold rose to 1,682. The VIX eased down 2.57 points to 28.13.
    Two State of the Markets articles, U.S. Sends Contradictory Messages on 'The Bazooka' and Explaining A 'Fade Trade' Into the Close, discuss what's going on. 
  
    Although the three market indices have closed above their two-month trading ranges, they've done so on declining volume, and usually, that presages a fall from grace. In the 'Fade Trade' article, Curt Berqquist explains why he's shorting the markets, but at the same time, observes that this is a gamble on his part. If the markets continue up from here, there could be a wholesale covering of shorts as traders scramble to cut their losses, and a bandwagon effect leading to a strong market advance: A quintuple bottom for the markets? (One article today points out that bets that the markets won't rise from here are at a level not seen since the major bottom in March, 2009... a bullish signal.) 
    The other 'Bazooka' article explains the reason for today's market rise: talk by Treasury Secretary Geithner and Eurozone leaders of a financial 'bazooka' in which global government commit to backing the Eurozone with enough money that things wthere will settle down there. However, this is accompanied by the explanation that a measured Greek default is taking place within Greece and the Eurozone in which local creditors are partially paid first. The 'Bazooka' article also explains that these leaders don't actually appear to be willing to commit to an all-out' response the Eurozone's problems. 
    These articles also point out that everything in the stock market so far is based upon hope, and upon past performance rather than anticipated future performance. 
    Other articles include:
    Retail Sales Better Than Expected in September  
    University of Michigan Sentiment Index Falls in October
    Business Inventories Above Expectations in August.
    Mark Hulbert writes: Cash is still king in a bull market.    
    The bottom line is that the indices have closed slightly above their trading ranges (on declining volume) for the first time in two months. Now the markets are at a crossroads. The next few days will be crucial. If the markets advance a little higher, institutions will probably pile on and we'll get our year-end rally. If not, it's back to the trading range. 
    Stay tuned.


2011-10-13: (Thursday Night): The equity markets ended mixed today: Dow, S&P chased down, .
 
The NASDAQ Composite gained 15.51 points (0.6%) to close at 2,620.24. The Dow slipped 40.72 points (-0.35%) to 11,478.13; the S&P 500 closed up 3.59 points (-0.03%) to settle at 1,203.66. Oil inched down to 84.45; gold slipped slightly to 1,670. The VIX eased down 1.96 points to 30.89
    Market volume was no greater than it was yesterday.
    A pause by bulls to catch their breath seems timely.
    
    State of the Markets articles include: Getting To The Point. In this early-morning article, David Manning suggests that the Eurozone leaders  "are finally getting to the crux of the problem. In short, the powers-that-be look to be coming to grips with the idea that there WILL be defaults on sovereign debt and they will start in Greece. As such, leaders are no longer trying to figure out ways to keep Greece from defaulting and are instead busying themselves with the issue of how best to avert a banking crisis." He concludes:
    "Bringing this full circle, I'm of the opinion that there are three keys to the market right now. First, it would appear that the EU leaders are indeed finally getting to the point. Second, it looks like the markets are giving the EU the benefit of any and all doubt at this time due to the third key - that the U.S. economy does not appear to be crashing and burning the way it did in 2008. Therefore, stock prices are currently being adjusted upward to reflect the improved outlook.
    "But with the market now back at the top end of the range, it remains unclear how much more upside adjustment is warranted. Stay tuned.
"
    A Handy Guide To Eurozone Rescue Efforts  
    Kyle Bass's Big (Very Big) Bet 
    Deal In Slovakia To Allow Passage on Friday  
    New EU Bank Stress Tests Would Produce 66 Failures 
    Weekly Jobless Claims Fall 1,000 But Still Above 400K  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Pulls Back  
    Slovakia Votes Yes (finally) on EFSF Expansion  
    Google Blows Away Estimates with Q3 Earnings  

    Irwin Kellner echoes Paul Krugman's warnings about deflation being more probable than inflation, and about the misplaced concerns about inflation and deficits versus the real dangers of a faltering economy and deflation: The inflation balloon is rapidly losing air.
    S&P cuts Spain's long-term sovereign credit rating  
    'D' is for deflation  
    Kevin Marder: The market looks tired.
    
    Stock market futures are neutral tonight. 


2011-10-12: (Wednesday Night): The equity markets rocketed upward  today on stronger promises out of Europe: Stocks rise 1% on EU hope, .
 
The NASDAQ Composite gained 21.7 points (0.84%) to close at 2,604.73. Up 102.55 points (0.9%), the Dow closed at 11,518.85; the S&P 500 closed up 11.71 points (0.98%) to settle at 1,207.25. Oil inched down to 85.02; gold slipped slightly to 1,679. The VIX eased down 1.96 points to 30.89
    Market volume rose a bit today.
    After peering into the abyss last week, the markets have made a strong rebound, and are approaching the upper limits of their trading ranges.
    
    State of the Markets articles include: Thinking Out Loud. In this early-morning article, David Manning suggests that the Eurozone leaders have nothing new to offer but are only buying time. But for some reason, traders have accepted these vague reassurances. 
    Fed Minutes: A Range of Policy Options Were Considered 
    EU Commission's Roadmap for a 'Comprehensive Response' to Debt Crisis  
    EU's Barraso Says Banks Need to Find Capital Independently 
    France Says It Won't Need EFSF for Banks  
    EU's Baroso to Present Bank Recapitalization Plan  
    Pepsi Earnings Come In Ahead of Consensus  
    Eurozone Industrial Production Surprises to Upside  
    Slovakia Votes No on EFSF Expansion  

    Mark Hulbert writes: Good news: Wall Street’s in a bad mood This is the typical contrarian argument that "Bad news is good news in disguise".
    Are institutional investors joining the rally?  
    Chuck Jaffe presents: Tips from a top contrarian.  
    In Going short: Check volatility, the author observes that "The market looks pretty darn good.
    Matthew Lynn has a thought-provoking theme in Stock gurus just aren’t what they used to be. Hedge funds aren't doing as well as the rest of the markets.
    Another article suggests: Forget the headlines, buy Alcoa now. 

    Stock market futures are slightly positive tonight. 


2011-10-11: (Tuesday Night): The equity markets went nowhere today, presumably waiting for the beginning of earnings season with Alcoa's kickoff report tonight: Nervous market meanders, And They're Off: Earnings Parade About to Roll Again.
 
The NASDAQ Composite gained 16.98 points (0.66%) to close at 2,583.03. The Dow retreated 16.88 points (-0.15%) to close at 11,416.30; the S&P 500 closed up 0.65 points (0.05%) to settle at 1,195.54. Oil inched up to 85.25; gold rose to 1,683. The VIX eased down 0.16 points to 32.86
    This rise in the market indices has been accompanied by lower and lower volume, suggesting that this rally was mostly about short covering (forcing traders who had shorted the markets a week ago to cover their short positions in case this rally proved to be a year-end rally).
    After hours, Alcoa-s earnings report disappointed the markets: Alcoa Kicks Off Earnings Season With a Dud, Alcoa misses a low target, triggering lower market futures tonight.
    State of the Markets articles include:
    Buying Some Time (Again)  In this article, David Manning suggests that the Eurozone leaders have nothing new to offer but are only buying time. But for some reason, traders have accepted these vague reassurances. 
    NFIB Small Business Optimism Picks Up Modestly in September  
    Morning Thoughts: All About Slovakia (Really?)  
    ECB's Trichet: The Crisis Has Become Systemic  
    Troika Says 2011 Greece Targets Beyond Reach  
    Slovakia Votes No on EFSF Expansion  

    Mark Hulbert suggests that this rally might be Wall Street’s early Halloween Party, marking the end of the "Sell in May and go away" period that normally ends around Halloween in time for a year-end rally.
    One upbeat news item: Greece may get aid tranche after all.  
    And downbeat item: John Nyaradi on investing for the nuclear winter

    Stock market futures are down  % again tonight.


2011-10-10: (Monday Night): After a lackluster performance on Friday, stocks got their groove on today, rising more than 3%: U.S. stocks rally 3% on Europe bank pledge, Market Wrap: Another Explosive Finish But....
 
The NASDAQ Composite jumped 86.7 points (3.5%) to close at 2,566.05. The Dow advanced 330.06 points (2.97%) to close at 11,433.18; the S&P 500 closed up 39.43 points (3.41%) to settle at 1,194.89. Oil inched up to 85.25; gold rose to 1,683. The VIX fell 3.18 points to 33.02
    
    State of the Markets articles include:
    The Momentum Game: Stocks We Love 'Till We Hate   
    Moody's Downgrades Top UK Banks  
    German Industrial Production Declines in August  
    The Latest on European Bank Recapitalization Plans  
    Nonfarm Payroll Surprise: U.S. Added 103K Jobs in September  
    French Not Opposed To German Stance on Bank Recapitalization  
    Wholesale Inventories Rise in August  
    Fitch Downgrades Italy, Spain  
    US Bank Exposure to Euro Crisis Could Tally $650 Billion  
    Team "Merkozy" Say New Grand Plan is Coming   
    EU Summit Postponed Until October 26  

    Rex Nutting's contribution is: .Coming recession would be bad enough  
    Peter Brimelow brings: Has decade’s top performer hit the wall?.  
    On the other hand, Financials and the ‘fall melt-up’ suggests that financial stocks could lead the way in a year-end rally, and Brett Arends adds fuel to the Wall Street fire with How Wall St. scammed Mom and Pop — again.  
       
    Stock market futures are down  % tonight. 


2011-10-6: (Thursday Night): The markets rose  again today on signs that Europe is taking steps to ease, Europe takes easing measures, and to stimulate their economies : Stocks gain for third day, Stocks Continue to Run On Hope For European Fix. The NASDAQ Composite jumped 46.31 points (1.88%) to close at 2,506.82. The Dow advanced 183.38 points (1.68%) to close at 11,123.33; the S&P 500 closed up 20.94 points (1.83%) to settle at 1,164.97. Oil ascended to 82.88; gold rose to 1,664. The VIX fell 1.54 points to 36.28
    
    State of the Markets articles include:
    From My Perch- A Look At the Big Picture   
    IMF Says Fed Needs To Be Prepared for Credit Crunch in Europe  
    Rates Fall At Spanish T-Bond Auction  
    Bank of England Expands QE Program  
    EC Commission President Wants Coordinated Bank Recapitalization  
    BlackRock's Fink Says European Bank Rescue Could Cost $2 Trillion  
    Slovakia Expected To Approve EFSF Regardless of Political Risks  
    Trichet Says Banks Should Use EFSF to Recapitalize  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Improves Modestly  
    Geithner: U.S. Banks Exposure To Problems in Europe 'Extremely Modest'  
    And Richard Meiers: Is The Game Changing?   
      
    Mark Hulbert's contribution is: Bear markets by the numbers.  
    Peter Brimelow brings: The triumph of Dennis Slothower.  
    Weekly jobless claims up less than feared  
    Economists expect languid payrolls report  

    Stock market futures are neutral tonight. 


2011-10-5: (Wednesday Night): The markets rose today on better-than-expected ISM report, continued rumors of progress in Europe: U.S. stocks jump on U.S. data, Europe efforts, Stocks Follow Through To The Upside. The NASDAQ Composite jumped 68.99 points (2.95%) to close at 2,404.82. The Dow advanced 131.24 points (1.21%) to close at 10,939.95; the S&P 500 closed up 20.08 points (1.79%) to settle at 1,144.03. Oil rose to 79.30: Oil rallies 5.3% on inventory decline; gold declined to 1,643: Gold futures on firmer footing. The VIX fell 3.01 points to 37.81
    State of the Markets Technical Talk: The Dreaded Breakout Fakeout. State of the Markets' indicators are some distance from turning positive. And Mark Hulbert's recommendation that one not invest in the markets when the VIX is above 20 also points to remaining on the sidelines.
      
    State of the Markets articles include:
    Eurozone Services Sector PMI's Show Contraction
    Eurozone Retail Sales Fall in August  
    Challenger Planned Job Cuts Surge to Highest Level Since April 2009  
    Rates Continue to Rise at Portugal's T-Bill Auction  
    IMF Says Europe's Banks Need Significant Capital Raises  
    Slovakia's Opposition Party Won't Support EFSF  
    ADP Private Sector Payrolls Up 91K in September  
    ISM Says Economic Growth Continued in September, But  
    NAAIM Survey Shows Active Managers Were Outright Bearish Two Weeks Ago  
    Japan May Buy More EFSF Bonds To Support Europe 
    EU Wants Bank Stress Tests To Include Greek Debt Writedowns 
    Stocks Follow Through To The Upside  
    One Man's Opinion on Outrageous Comments  
    IMF Says Fed Needs To Be Prepared for Credit Crunch in Europe  
    Steve Jobs Has Died 

    MarketWatch's articles include:
    Palin Opts Against 2012 Presidential Run 
    2012 growth depends on jobs plan: Probyn   
    Sights set on growth  

    Stock market futures are mixed tonight... basically neutral. 


2011-10-3: (Monday Night): The markets plummeted, then soared today, breaking back into their trading ranges: Stocks zoom at day's end, .Stocks Surge Late on Talk of Euro Bank Recapitalization, Stocks: Bear market bounce. The NASDAQ Composite jumped 68.99 points (2.95%) to close at 2,404.82. The Dow advanced 153.41 points (1.44%) to close at 10,808.71; the S&P 500 closed up 24.72 points (2.25%) to settle at 1,123.95. Oil backed off to 76.13: Oil at worst in over a year; gold jumped to 1,671: Gold rallies. The VIX fell 4.63 points to 40.82
    It's now more or less official: with the S&P 500 down more than 20%, we're in a bear market, with rallies perceived as opportunities to sell. After dipping to 1,075 this morning, the S&P 500 staged a "Bernanke bounce", then quickly fell back as institutions sold their stocks into the rally, and then vaulted upward in the last 45 minutes of trading as upbeat talk arrived from Europe:
    Germany's FDP To Force Referendum on EFSF Support  
    Financial Times: EU Ministers Looking To Aid Banks  
    Bernanke Says Fed Is Prepared To Take Further Action. Will It Matter?, Bernanke bank bump fades.
    Michael Ashbaugh: S&P, Dow confirm primary downtrend  
    Kevin Marder: The bear is at the door    
    Has the bull been gored? John Nyardi concludes that it probably has. His downside target for the S&P 500 is 1010.
      
    Todd Harrison: Life after the market storm  Todd Harrison suggests a performance-anxiety-driven year-end rally.
    Mark Hulbert writes: Still hope for the fourth quarter. followed by: Key reversal day? A similar article is: Late reversal 'certainly a positive': strategist. Of course, the markets are very oversold and due for a technical rally.
    I think Mark Hulbert's advice to stay out of the markets until the VIX falls below 20 is appropriate when dealing with these feverish market moves.
      
    State of the Markets articles include:
    Technical Talk: It's a Bear Market, So Naturally...    
    Goldman Sachs Says Recession in Europe; Cuts Global Forecasts
    Bailout Decision for Next Tranche of Greece Cash Delayed  
    Troubled French-Belgian Bank Dexia May Be Nationalized  
    Factory Orders Down in August  
    Moody's Downgrades Italy Debt  

    Stock market futures are ¼ % lower tonight. 


2011-10-3: (Monday Night): the markets closed lower again today, breaking below their trading ranges and their August lows: Stocks start Q4 off 2%-3%, Market Breaks to New Lows on Euro Zone Fears. The NASDAQ Composite dove 79.57 points (-3.29%) to close at 2,335.83. The Dow fell 258.08 points (-2.36%) to close at 10,655.30; the S&P 500 closed down 32.19 points (-2.85%) to settle at 1,099.23. Oil backed off to 76.13: Oil at worst in over a year; gold jumped to 1,671: Gold rallies. The VIX hopped up 2.49 points to 45.45
    The S&P 500 closed below its August 9th intra-day low of 1100, opening the door to further declines: Breaking of lows could trigger more selling. But interestingly enough, there was heavy buying going into the close. Some traders obviously anticipate at least a temporary rally. Here are a few supporting articles: 
    Why U.S. stock funds could see a year-end rally,
    Good news: Wall Street's getting more pessimistic
    Nyaradi: Pressure building for a breakout (video). 
    Europe will save Greece from default, says Juncker and 
    Summer crash ... fall melt-up 
    Mark Hulbert observes that: Small-cap and value stocks hate October. . He also notes that it may be too early to get back into equities when volatility is so high: When volatility fades.  
      
    State of the Markets articles include:
    Technical Talk: Bulls Holding The Line (Again)    
    Who Has It Right On The Economy and The Markets?
    Who Has It Right? (Part II)  
    Eurozone Final September PMI's Remain Worrisome  
    Fitch Cuts Global Growth Forecast for Advanced and Emerging Economies  
    ISM Manufacturing Index Still in Expansion Mode  
    Construction Spending Up +1.4% in August  
    Recession On the Way? It's Buffett vs. Economic Cycle Research Institute and the Markets  This article weighs the fact that Warren Buffett (and the Fed) believe the U. S. economy is still moving forward, while the ECRI and other sources (including George Soros) believe it's heading into recession if not already there.
    It's worth remembering that the stock market climbs a wall of worry and slips down a slope of hope. (it's time for at least a technical bounce... that will be heralded as a rebound from the bottom.)
    Stock market futures are up a little tonight. 


2011-10-2: (Sunday Night): 
    Stock market futures are dramatically lower tonight (2.15% to 2.53%)  on shaky news out of Europe. Meanwhile, the Far East is selling off sharply tonight.


2011-9-30: (Friday Night): 
    The markets tumbled today: Drawn and third quartered
    Alone among the indices, the NASDAQ Composite retreated
65.36 points (-2.63%) to close at 2,415.40. The Dow
fell 240.6 points (-2.16%) to close at 10,913.38; the S&P 500 parted with 28.98 points (-2.5%) to settle at 1,131.42. Oil backed off to 78.75: Oil slides 11% in month on growth worries; gold rose slightly to 1,627: Gold rises as recent lower prices entice buyers. The VIX hopped up 4.12 points to 42.96
    There was good news today: Some Good News: Chicago PMI Above Expectations, More Good News - University of Michigan Sentiment Above Expectations.  
    And there was one piece of very bad news that more-or-less trumps the rest: Economic Cycle Research Institute: United States Is Headed Into Recession. The ECRI has a sterling record when it comes to identifying recessions and their recoveries. In this article, Curt Bergquist ponders some impact a U. S. recession would have on the rest of the world, given the role the U. S. and other Western nations play as purchasers of third-world products.
    Today's technical analysis is: Technical Talk: Slightly Lower, But Still Range-Bound
    Relevant to this are two articles: HSBC's China Purchasing Managers Index Under 50 For Third Straight Month and People's Bank of China Says Inflation Still Priority.  
    Two other State of the Markets articles are: Germany Unlikely to Approve Leveraging of EFSF and Personal Income and Consumption Report Mixed.  
     On Marketwatch, Howard Gold writes: Markets deep in bear territory and Minyanville offers Grin and bear it: Don't buy just yet.
    SmartMoney offers 4 scenarios for a year-end rally.
    Abandon gold, right? Wrong
    I think the key take-away message tonight is that the ECRI is forecasting recession. And certainly, this market has been volatile enough and treacherous enough. 


2011-9-29: (Thursday Night): 
    The markets closed up today except for the NASDAQ: 'W' is for volatility, Wild Day Produces Rebound for Bulls.
    Alone among the indices, the NASDAQ Composite gave up
10.82 points (-0.43%) to close at 2,480.76. The Dow annnexed
143.06 points (1.3%) to close at 11,153.98; the S&P 500 added 9.34 points (0.81%) to settle at 1,160.40. Oil jumped to $82.96; gold rose slightly to 1,626: Gold ends down; silver tips higher. The VIX hopped down 2.24 points to 38.84
    There was some good news today:   
    U.S. GDP Higher Than Expected; Shows No Signs of Recession,  
    Weekly Jobless Claims Finally See Improvement,  
    Bernanke Says More Easing On Way - If Inflation Falls, and  
    Pending Home Sales Fall But Above Expectations..
    The only bit of bad news of which I'm aware is Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Continues Lower and Japan's PMI Data Also Moves Below Key 50-Level.
    Among other news items are:
    Treasury sells 7-year at record-low yield
    30-year loan at record low  
    Gold's gift to investors: its retreat  
    How long can the market hold its breath?  The author expects the markets to put in their annual lows in October, followed by a year-end rally.
    What precious-metals charts say The author concludes that gold and silver are probably at or near their bottoms. 

    Market futures are flat tonight.


2011-9-28: (Wednesday Night): 
    The markets hit the skids today: U.S. stocks end with drop, Stocks Plunge Ahead of GDP Report, Germany's Vote.
    The NASDAQ Composite retrenched
55.25 points (-2.17%) to close at 2,491.58. The Dow skidded
179.79 points (-1.61%) to close at 11,010.90; the S&P 500 exfoliated 24.32 points (-2.07$) to settle at 1,151.06. Oil declined to $80.68: Crude futures close down 3.8%; gold deflated to 1,611: The cruelest month for gold. The VIX hopped up 3.37 points to 41.08
    The last three days' euphoria has given way to the cold shower that is reality. The markets are still range-bound while the world's economic recovery remains uncertain. (As mentioned last night, George Soros thinks the U. S. is already in another recession.)
    Marketwatch's articles include:
    Greece and the euro zone’s worst-case scenario    
    Let's play 'Follow the Billionaire' (and insiders)  
    JC Parets: Violent move brewing   
    ‘Orderly’ Greek default could be market positive  and
    Darell Delamaide's The billionaire’s pick- Christie for president.  

    Some State of the Markets articles include:
    Technical Talk: Same Song, Different Day On The Charts  
    Troika Team Returns To Greece On Thursday To Resume Analysis 
    Finland Parliment Approves Expanded EFSF Powers 
    Bears Continue To Outnumber Bulls in Sentiment Survey  
    Durable Goods Report a Mixed Bag in August  
    Ban on Short-Selling Extended in Italy, Spain and France  
    Europe Update: Slovakia, Are You Kidding Me? and 
    What Is Window Dressing Really and Who Is It Fooling?  
      
    Market futures are up marginally tonight.


2011-9-27: (Tuesday Night): 
    The markets rose again today: Stocks gain for third time, Bulls Win Again; Markets Still Fixated On Europe.
    The NASDAQ Composite climbed
30.14 points (1.2%) to close at 2,548.83. The Dow gained
146.83 points (1.33%) to close at 11,190/69; the S&P 500 rose 12.43 points (1.07%) to settle at 1,175.38. Oil rose to $83.67; gold increased slightly to 1,652: Oil futures surge; Gold, silver futures rally |. The VIX slipped 1.31 points to 37.71
    The media are preaching caution tonight... a bullish sign.  Michael Ashbaugh warns: Don't get carried away by upturn. Then there's
    Euphoria over Europe may be premature
    U.S., Europe debt woes to persist, Reinhart says
   Tough Going for Gold, and It's Looking Tougher
   Twist won't do trick: Fisher
    Kellner can't cheer for Fed's Operation Twist
    New effort under way to phase out dollar, and
    Cities and counties going broke, none of which would make you want to mortgage the farm to buy into this surging stock market.
    The only good news was: Case-Shiller gauge up for fourth consecutive month and Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index Rises Modestly.
      
    State of the Markets has this to say:
    Technical Talk: It's Fun But Still A Range
    Italy Continues to Pay Up at Bond Auctions  
    Consumer Confidence Remained At Low Levels in September    
    Greek Parliment Passes New Property Tax  
    Market Mover: Differences on Greek Bailout Emerging in Europe, and finally,
    Soros: Europe In Worse Spot Than U.S. In 2008. Mr. Soros believes that the U. S. is already in the thick of a double-dip recession.   
      
    Market futures are down about ½ % tonight.  


2011-9-26: (Monday Night): 
    The markets rose stoutly today: Dow's back above 11,000, Euro Sentiment Improves; Stocks Rally.
    The NASDAQ Composite climbed
33.46 points (1.35%) to close at 2,516.69. The Dow gained
272.38 points (2.53%) to close at 11,043.86; the S&P 500 rose 26.52 points (2.33%) to settle at 1,162.95. Oil dropped to $81.92; gold tipped further to 1,646: Gold, silver futures jump sharply. The VIX slipped 2.23 points to 39.02
    This was all about the news. The news coming out of Europe was all good today: Understanding The Plan: The All-New Euro-Style TARP.
    Some State of the Markets articles include:
    IMF Says Leaders Will Do "Whatever Is Necessary" To Resolve Crisis  
    German IFO Business Climate Index Above Expectations But Falls in September   
     Europe Update: The Latest Reports on the State of the Crisis 
     SEC Considering Legal Action Against S&P Over CDO Ratings 
     Rumor Mill: Talk of Imminent Fed Action 
     Economic Update: New Home Sales (Down) 
     European Plan in Works to Shore Up Bank Capital 
     Euro Sentiment Improves; Stocks Rally 
      
     Meanwhile, back at the ranch:  
     Euro Sentiment Improves; Stocks Rally 
     U.S. economy will grow moderately: FedEx CEO 
     Infrastructure spending creates jobs: Geithner 
     U.S. capital-equipment financing up in August 
     Risks of entrenched G-20 unemployment rise
And David Marsh writes: In euro crisis, Merkel is replaying 1931.
    The markets have reached the bottoms of their trading ranges and are now rebounding.
    Market futures are modestly higher tonight, probably because the Senate averted another budget shootout.


Poverty isn't just a game


2011-9-23: (Friday Night): 
    The markets rose somewhat today: Dow's worst week since '08, Video Update: Weekly Market Wrap.
    The NASDAQ Composite climbed
27.56 points (1.12%) to close at 2,483.23. The Dow gained
37.65 points (0.35%) to close at 10,771.48; the S&P 500 added 6.87 points (0.61%) to settle at 1,136.43. Oil dropped to $80.00; gold fell to 1,661: Gold futures have $100/oz. meltdown. The VIX inched down 0.1 points to 41.25
    I quit channeling Paul Krugman and Todd Harrison a year or more ago because they gave bad investment advice. The stock markets and the economy seemed to be rebounding, and up until mid-April, it looked as though the markets and the economy might keep climbing. Maybe President Obama's fiscal stimulus program had been sufficient to restart the U. S, economy after all, in spite of the fact that Paul Krugman and some other economists had said that the stimulus funding was too small by a factor of 2½ (as well as inefficiently applied). Well, guess what? I was wrong, and Paul Krugman was right. And what's unfolding now looks to me to be really ugly. Right now, the U. S. economy appears to be at the top of its arc, getting ready to descend. And what's worse is that our Republicans have taken on the European austerity mantra. I'm all for austerity but the time for austerity is when you're economy is flourishing, not when it's on life support. And in my opinion, anyone who tells you that FDR's programs didn't work doesn't know what they're talking about. I was there. There was no Social Security, no Medicare, no Medicaid, and no health insurance. What would have happened to the kids in my classes if their fathers hadn't been able to earn their $50 a month working for the WPA (Works Project Administration)? Their fathers' work greatly increased the wealth of the nation by building dams, bridges, and airports, electrifying rural areas, and paving roads so that farmers could get their crops to market. Roosevelt put the nation back to work. Only in 1937, when deficit hawks induced cuts in federal programs did the program falter again. Given their state of knowledge at the time, that was, I should think, a reasonable (if unfortunate) conclusion to reach. But what's upsetting today is having to make these same mistakes over again because of either political agendas or because of
gurus who are arguing that FDR's programs didn't work. (Under President Hoover and Andrew Mellon, the country was moving steadily deeper into  depression from 1929 to 1932 as Hoover's Republican administration relied upon private financial institutions to define policy, and had reached the edge of revolution by 1932. Had FDR not come along when he did and had not done what he did, there's no telling what the outcome what have been... or at least, that's my interpretation.)
    Paul Krugman has an article tonight entitled: Permanent Link to Eurovillains, along with a chilly prospect that's looming on the horizon: Permanent Link to The Low-Inflation Trap (Slightly Wonkish). The Eurovillains article cites the Organization for Economic Development and the European Central Bank for instituting interest rate increases even in the face of falling inflation.
    This week-end, investors will be watching a G20 meeting aimed at addressing the Grecian sovereign debt problem: G-20 Pledges To Support Banks But Offers No Details.
    State of the Markets articles include:  
    Technical Talk: Bears Worried About the "Coordinated Response" Bazooka
     IMF Considering Adding Resources to Fight Crisis 
     Greece Lays Out Three Scenarios Including 50% Haircut on Debt 
     Moody's Downgrades 8 Greek Banks 
     France's Consumer Confidence Dives in September 
     Headlines Relating to Europe Crisis Coming Fast and Furious 
     Is It Time to 'Buy the Dip' Or Call a Timeout? In this last article, Curt Bergquist sets forth this possible scenario:

And the cycle continues.

    Both he and David Moenning point out that, while there is talk about buying the dip and about the wonderful opportunities that are lying out there on the cutting-room floor, the macroeconomic outlook is cause for serious concern, If Europe goes over the edge, buying these bargains now may not look like such a hot idea a month from now.
     Mark Hulbert asks Are we back to the 1930s?, and then observes that there was a huge market rise in the 1930's from the time the Dow bottomed at 41 in 1932 to when it peaked above 200 in the summer of 1936. And that's true, but the parallel here is between 1932 to 1936, and March 2009 to April, 2011. The Dow advanced so fulsomely from '32 to '36 because of FDR's fiscal stimulus program just as it has between March, 2009, and April, 2011, because of President Obama's fiscal stimulus program. It seems to me that there's absolutely no reason, based on the current published outlook, to expect a dramatic rise in the stock market indices any time soon.
    In another article: Sovereign-debt 'spiral' imperils Europe.  
    It will be interesting to see what happens this weekend with respect to Greece.


2011-9-22: (Thursday Night): 
    "Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall;
     Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall,
     And all the king's horses and all the king's men
     Couldn't put Humpty together again.
"
    Stocks Plunge on Fears of Global Slowdown, Stocks thrashed in selloff.
    The NASDAQ Composite tumbled
82.52 points (-3.25%) to close at 2,455.67. The Dow plunged
391.01 points (-3.51%) to close at 10,733.83; the S&P 500 free-fell 37.2 points (-3.19%) to settle at 1,129.66. Oil dropped to $80.79; gold fell to 1,781: Gold slides as dollar gains. The VIX gained 4.03 points to 41.35
    State of the Markets articles include:  
    Technical Talk: It's Not Pretty But Still a Range. The markets closed today above their August-September trading-range low (1120 on the S&P).
    China's "Flash" PMI Below 50 For Third Consecutive Month  
    FedEx Beats EPS Estimates But Reduces Full-Year Guidance Range  
    Weekly Jobless Claims Remain Elevated  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Heads Lower
    LEI (Leading Economic Index) Above Expectations in August  
    FHFA House Price Index Up Again in July  
    Market Mover: EU Looks to Accelerate Recapitalization of 16 Banks  
    And Marketwatch articles include:  
    Insiders say sell? Maybe not  But then again, maybe so.  
    Market facing huge test Thursday  
    Market passes its test—again. The markets closed today above their August lows, thus passing today's huge test... for now.  The market will turn around, Barclays' Knapp says, Dow close below Aug. 10 low could lead to 'tradable bottom', says Mark Hulbert.
    Deep dive in 30-year yield  Paul Krugman has a couple of paragraphs dealing with the fact that as of this morning, the interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds had dropped to 1.77% (it's fallen to 1.71% tonight, setting a new record): Permanent Link to One Point Seven Seven. Two-year Treasuries closed at 0.19% interest tonight. Then Dr. Krugman reminds his readers that two years ago, the Wall Street Journal and Niall Ferguson argued that the Federal stimulus program would bring on the bond vigilantes and send interest rates soaring. And what's important about this is the reasoning and disastrous economic game plan that has accompanied this fallacious forecast of what would happen. Back on January 11, 2009, Dr. Krugman in "Permanent Link to A scary analogy, quotes Mark Thoma, who likens the stimulus package to driving up an icy hill. If you don't tackle the hill with enough initial momentum, you risk sliding back down before reaching the top." And now, here we are, threatened with sliding back down the icy hill.
    Dr. Krugman follows this up with a quotation from Ecclesiastes, expressing his despair over the endless governmental commitments to austerity at a time when governments can't afford to be austere. The time for austerity (I think he would say) is when you're prospering. That's when you lay aside savings for a rainy day (or days). But once the monsoons arrive, you either live off your "rainy day fund" or you borrow to keep yourself going until the rains pass. Except that this analogy is a little different for governments. Governments (especially the U. S. which prints the world's reserve currency) can make the rain go away, and can take advantage of the increased prosperity to repay their loans. Or to put it another way, recessions (1) cut government tax revenues while (2)  simultaneously increasing safety-net outlays. Dr. Krugman's frustration stems from the fact that in spite of knowing now that their forecasts of rampaging interest rates and inflation were wrong, our movers and shakers keep on marching straight downhill in defiance of reality.
    It can't be said too strongly that government debt doesn't work like private household debt. It's more like corporate debt or agricultural debt. Why are we running huge deficits right now? Why are our deficits so much larger than they are in a booming economy? Because we're in a recession. And the sooner we get out of recession, the sooner we can trim federal spending. 
    On January 5, 2009, I wrote:
    "Paul Krugman has bad news: Permanent Link to Is Obama relying too much on tax cuts?. Dr. Krugman's point is that the Obama team may be showing weakness in confronting the Republicans over the incoming administration's economic stimulus plan, and that some leading Republicans and their political consultants may be moving in for the kill. Offer a 40% tax cut and the Republicans will demand 100%. The Republicans will also demand cuts in corporate taxes. Dr. Krugman observes that Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell is already "moving the goal posts". (Senator McConnell has a reputation as a shrewd political tactician.) This could possibly, I should think, lead to a squandering of the $1 trillion economic stimulus program, and a deep Depression.
    Obviously, the party that is out of power has every incentive to sabotage the policies of the party that's in power. Would that extend to ruining the nation? I suspect that, as far as some Congressional representatives are concerned, that wouldn't enter into their personal calculations. Witness the former members of Congress who are behind bars, and consider that this is probably just the tip of the iceberg. I would imagine that there are many Congressmen and Congresswomen who are outstanding public servants, but if you pick the worst out of 500... Some of our most successful are apt to be guided by what's best for their power bases and their prospects for re-election. ("What have you done for the Party lately?") So things may not go altogether smoothly for an economic rescue program.
"
      
    Stock market futures are up ¾ % tonight, probably in a technical rebound. 


2011-9-21: (Wednesday Night): The market indices plunged today, down more than 2% on the day: Fed spanks stocks, Stocks Slammed as Fed Introduces 'Twist', Markets sulk as Fed leaves the rabbit in the hat.  The NASDAQ Composite retreated 52.09 points (-2.01%) to close at 2,538.19. The Dow plummeted 283.82 points (-2.49%) to close at 11,124.84; the S&P 500 fell 35.33 points (-2.94%) to settle at 1,166.76. Oil dropped to $84.89: Oil pushes toward $89 on Greek hopes; gold fell to 1,781: Gold settles higher, reclaiming $1,800 level. The VIX gained 4.46 points to 37.32
   Apparently, the markets expected a miracle out of the Fed, and when they didn't get it, the markets fell out of bed.
    The good news is that the Fed still sees expansion taking place in the United States, although the risks (out of Europe) are rising.
    State of the Markets articles tonight include:
    Technical Talk: The Line In Sand Is Now Obvious (at 1220 on the S&P 500).
    Doug Kass Speaks Out on Outlook For Markets Mr. Kass is as bamfoozled as everyone else by the cross-currents in the markets but lays out several scenarios. Meanwhile, year-end predictions are calling for the markets to be no higher on Devember 31 than they're been earlier this year.
    Greece Update: The Next Round of Austerity Measures  
    Brazil Says Europe Needs To Heal Itself First Brazil and China are saying that Europe can do more to help itself before BRIC nations step in to save it. (In other words, "Don't look to us for help.")
    You Can Lead A Horse To Water  
    NAAIM Survey Shows Active Managers Still Cautious 
    IMF Says Europe's Banks Need More Capital  
    Moody's Downgrades Bank of America, Wells Fargo  

     Stock market futures are down ½ % tonight. 


2011-9-20: (Tuesday Night): The market indices have wasted up and down today, ending essentially flat: Stocks cling to gains, Stocks weak; Fed to meet.  The NASDAQ Composite retreated 22.59 points (-0.86%) to close at 2,590.24. The Dow added 7.85 points (0.07%) to close at 11,408.66; the S&P 500 fell 2 points (-0.17%) to settle at 1,202.09. Oil inched up to $86.39: Oil pushes toward $89 on Greek hopes; gold reclaimed 1,807: Gold settles higher, reclaiming $1,800 level. The VIX gained 0.13 points to 32.86
    Michael Ashbaugh's weekly technical analysis concludes: S&P, Nasdaq top major resistance: Ashbaugh.
    In other news: 
    IMF economist: ECB (European  Central Bank) may want to cut rates
    David Weidmer advises us to: Short the euro!.  
    Paul Farrell says: Dow 20,250 by 2020, but first a big crash.  
    Irwin Kellner asks: Are we heading into another recession? (Dr. Kellner concludes that we probably are.) 
    Mark Hulbert offers: Fed Model more bullish than in decades, but Mark is very skeptical of its value. 

    State of the Markets articles tonight include:
    Technical Talk: The Test Is On
    German ZEW Confidence Index Sinks But Above Expectations  
    Spanish Bill Auction Sees Rates Continue to Rise
    Bank of China Halts FX Swaps with European Banks  
    Greece Denies Report of EU Referendum  
    Housing Starts Down in August; Permits Rise  
    IMF Cuts Growth Forecasts; Says Risks Are Rising  The IMF has cut its growth esticates for the U. S. for 2011 to 1.5%, and for 2012, to 1.2%. The IMF also warns tha the U. S. could fall into recession in 2012 if  
    Fitch Reaffirms Germany's Rating at 'AAA'  
    Sentiment Weakens on Greece Disappointment Ahead of Fed  
    Greece Update: The Review Will Continue  
    Gartman Doesn't Mince Words on Greece or Operation Twist  "Operation Twist" is what the Fed is expected to unveil tomorrow, and noted commodities trader Gartman says it "sends an air of desperation". Republicans warn Fed not to ease again.  He says that sooner or later, Greece will default because it always has in the past. "Asked if the anticipated default will be orderly enough to stave off a problem for our financial markets or if we should instead expect a disorderly default, Gartman didn’t mince words. 'Will it be disorderly? You betcha it will.'"  

     Stock market futures are up modestly tonight. 


2011-9-19: (Monday Night): The market indices fell today over fears of a Greek default, ameliorated in part by hope for Greece: Stocks fall but end off lows, Another Disaster Averted.  The NASDAQ Composite retreated 9.48 points (-0.36%) to close at 2,612.83. The Dow diminished 108.08 points (-0.94%) to close at 11,401.01; the S&P 500 fell 11.92 points (0.98%) to settle at 1,204.09. Oil fell to $85.49: Oil falls on Greek concerns; gold plunged to 1,784: Gold retreats. The VIX gained 1.75 points to 32.73
    State of the Markets articles tonight include:
    Technical Talk: Need To See Some Oomph
    Germany's Merkel Handed Another Defeat; Why You Should Care  
    Spain Set To Nationalize Three More Saving Bank Groups  
    NAHB (National Association of Home builders) Builder Confidence Index Falls in September  
    Greece Close to a Deal with Troika  
    Brazil To Propose BRICS Make More Capital Available for Eurozone Aid  
    Pass The Marmalade - European Banks May Be Toast  
    S&P Downgrades Italy's Sovereign Debt Rating 
    Stock market futures are down ¾ % tonight: After Hours: Stock futures fall on Italy rating cut.

2011-9-18: (Sun
day Night):
Stock market futures are down sharply tonight ( >1%).


2011-9-16: (Friday Night): The market indices made it five in a row today: Dow rises every day of the week, up 517 points. The NASDAQ Composite advanced 15.24 points (0.58%) to close at 2,622.31. The Dow added 75.91 points (0.66%) to close at 11,509.09; the S&P 500 rose 6.9 points (0.57%) to settle at 1,216.01. Oil fell to $87.90: Oil adds to losses Plan to recalculate oil benchmark irks traders; gold ascended to 1,815  The VIX dropped 0.99`points to 30.98..  
    State of the Markets Technical Talk: A Tale of Two Tapes.
    In other State of the Markets news:
    European Governments Considering TALF (Troubled Assets Loan Facility) Approach to Help Thwart Crisis,  
    Economists Say Odds of U.S. Recession Rising  
    University of Michigan Sentiment Above Expectations in September   
    Rumor Mill: Italy Downgrade Imminent  
    China is Interested in Biofuels - Why Not the West?  
    Moody's Keeps Italy Rating Under Review  
    Marketwatch has articles tonight on:
    Charting inflation, manufacturing and real estate, and from Howard Gold: 
    Lehman Brothers II crisis is coming soon.  I found this to be an interesting, thoughtful article. It mentions that credit default swaps on Greek sovereign debt "indicate a 92% chance of default". Mark Hulbert's article tonight is entitled::  
    What market timers learned from Lehman. This article observes that traders and market analysts absolutely missed the post-Lehman stock market debacle... and those few who did foretell what was to come were permabears.   
    And that's about it for this Friday night.  


2011-9-15: (Thursday Night): The market indices climbed yet again for the fourth day in a row::Stocks' fulsome foursome, Euro Sentiment Improving; Bulls Make it 4-In-A-Row. The NASDAQ Composite advanced 27.62 points (1.34) to close at 2,607.07. The Dow added 186.45 points (1.66%) to close at 11,433.18; the S&P 500 rose 20.43 points (1.72%) to settle at 1,208.11. Oil srose slightly to $89.25 ; gold eased to 1,792: Gold settles at its lowest in nearly three week  The VIX dropped 2.63`points to 31.97..  
    What
's behind all this gemüchlichkeit is the announcement that the European Central Banks will join forces: Central banks join forces. Otherwise, the news was all bad: Jobless claims rise, tCPI Comes In Above Expectations in August; Core Rate Steady, Negative Philly Fed index worse than forecast,  and New York–area manufacturing activity dips.
    State of the Markets technical analysis concludes: Technical Talk: Trading Well But Resistance Looming.

    The State of the Markets article roster includes:
    Spanish Bond Auction Sees Decent Demand But High Rates  
    European Banks Using Gold To Access Dollar Funding  
    ECB Announces Coordinated Dollar Funding Measures to Ease Strain  
    Industrial Production Above Consensus; Capacity Utilization Even  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Holds Steady  
    Philly Fed Headline Looks Bad But  
    IMF’s Lagarde: Dangerous New Phase, But There Is a Path to Recovery  
    And finally, Dave Moenning affords a peek at his own investment choices in these mercurial times: The Outlook and How I'm Playing The Game. Basically, he's investing 80% of his money in intermediate-term holdings, buying when markets are down, and 20% in more-aggressive, shorter-term plays.
    At the same time, it
's worth noting that the percentage of economists anticipating a recession has risen to 50% (though this survey wouldn't incorporate the latest spate of news about collaboration of Europe's central banks).
    The State of the Markets portfolio is currently in cash
    Stock market futures are neutral tonight.  


2011-9-14: (Wednesday Night): The market indices climbed today for the third day in a row::Grecian formula fuels rally, Stocks Romp on Improved Sentiment. The NASDAQ Composite advanced 40.4 points (1.6%) to close at 2,572.55. The Dow added 140.88 points (1.27%) to close at 11,246.73; the S&P 500 rose 15.81 points (1.35%) to settle at 1,188.68. Oil slipped to $88.61:Crude oil declines on European worries ; gold eased to 1,822: Gold trades lower but holds $1,800 level. The VIX dropped 2.31`points to 34.60..  
    Dtate of the Markets' Technical Talk: Reaching An Inflection Point. State of the markets has been treating current action as a range-bound basing process prior to resuming market expansions. However, this article observes that with everything depending upon the news as it does, we could instead be facing an additional pullback.
    Another State of the Markets article observes: Don't Look Now, But Some Big Names Are De-Risking Again
    Amid the news:   
    Moody's Downgrades Two French Banks 
    IMF's Lagarde Says Resources To Fight Crisis are Practically Infinite 
    EU's Barroso Says Euro Bonds Coming Soon  
    EU Industrial Production Below Expectations in July  
    Sarkozy: France Will Do Everything to Save Greece  
    Premier Says China May Expand Investment in Europe  
    PPI Unchanged In August  
    Retail Sales in U.S. Unchanged in August  
    Business Inventories for July a Tenth Light  
    NAAIM Survey Shows Active Managers Remain Cautious  
    Investor's Intelligence Shows Bullish Sentiment Still Falling  
    Market Mover: Austria Can't Approve EFSF Change  
    China Will Help Europe, But There's a Catch  
    Merkel, Sarkozy, and Papandreou Stand Together After Call  
    As mentioned above: U.S. economy in word: flat.
    On this tenth anniversary of the ENRON crisis, Mark Hulbert deals with the theme of stock analysts whitewashing every company's stock. He compares Wall Street analysts with newsletter editors. Wall Street analysts have a BUY or BUY/HOLD on 75% of the stocks on the S&P 500, with a SELL recommendation on 0.08% Od all stocks, and a weak HOLD on 4.2% of them. And this is shocking. His investment newsletter editors have no such problem, issuig as many SELLs as BUYs.
    One article mentions: The opportunity of a lifetime —in Europe.
    Market futures are neutral tonight.  


2011-9-13: (Thursday Night): The market indices rose again today in choppy action: U.S. stocks edge up with Europe in view, BRICS to Help Euro Zone; Stocks Finish Strong. The NASDAQ Composite advanced 37.01 points (1.49%) to close at 2,532.15. The Dow added 44.73 points (0.4%) to close at 11,105.85; the S&P 500 rose 10.6 points (0.91%) to settle at 1,172.877. Oil climbed to $89.07: IEA Cuts Forecast For Global Oil Demand; gold eased to 1,828: Gold tumbles. The VIX dropped 1.68`points to 36.91..  
    In the news: Sarkozy and Merkel to Hold Press Conference on Greece Wednesday, Chinese Looking To Buy Italian Industrial Assets, Not Bonds, Is Another White Knight Preparing to Ride?, and Wall Street Year-End Forecasts Updated . 
    The State of the Markets technical analysis, Technical Talk: Basing Process Continues.  
    Yesterday's story that the Chinese would buy Italian bonds turned out to be erroneous. The Chinese are seeking to buy Italian business assets. However, France' Nicholas Sarkozy, Germany's Angela Merkel, and Greece' Georg Papandreou will hold a conference call tomorrow, and the BRIC nations have indicated that they will bail out the Eurozone.
    Michael Ashbaugh's weekly column is entitled: High-headwind warning.
    In other news, Irwin Kellner writes: Give stimulus a chance. Meanwhile, Fund managers expect recession., and Mark Hulbert observes that Insiders betting heavily on stocks.
    John Prestbo says, Buckle up for market’s most vulnerable period.
    Finally, John Nyaradi writes The dollar makes an epic breakout. The importance of this is that a stronger dollar means a lower stock market, through lower exports and lower overseas earnings, and i entails lower commodity prices.
    Market futures are down ¾ % tonight.  


2011-9-12: (Monday Night): The market indices plunged again today and then rallied into the close: Quite a stock comeback. Dow closes below 11,000, China to Buy Italian Bonds; Stocks Rally. The NASDAQ Composite advanced 27.1 points (1.1%) to close at 2,495.09. The Dow added 68.99 points (0.63%) to close at 11,061.123; the S&P 500 rose 8.04 points (0.7%) to settle at 1,162.27. Oil climbed to $89.07: Oil up; gold eased to 1,828: Gold tumbles. The VIX rose 0.07`points to 38.59..  
    Today's action revolved around worries about Europe: Bloomberg: French Banks Face Downgrade at Moody's, Papandreou Says Greece Won't Default; Makes Additional Cuts, Reports Out of G-7 Are Not Encouraging, Greece Only Has Enough Cash Until October- Official, Greek Default Can't Be Ruled Out- German Official and, and Junker: The Eurozone Will Defend the Euro; Could Increase Bailout Fund Size
    The State of the Markets technical analysis, Technical Talk: Bulls Trying To Hold The Line.  
    Fitch downgrades Toyota, cites forex risk, Australia 2011 deals target U.S. firms- survey
    Massive default is best way to fix the economy This article by Brett Arends is, I think, better than it sounds. He's not talking about U. S. sovereign default, but about individual homeowners declaring bankruptcy and walking away from their mortgages. Not that it's likely to happen, but his article makes entertaining reading.
    Market futures are up tonight.  


2011-9-9: (Friday Night): The market indices plunged today Dow closes below 11,000, Stocks Crushed Over Greek Default Speculation. The NASDAQ Composite retreated 61.15 points (-2.42%) to close at 2,467.99. The Dow gave up 303.68 points (-2.69%) to close at 10,992.13; the S&P 500 declined 31.67 points (-2.67%) to settle at 1,154.23. Oil slipped to $87.01; gold eased to 1,861: Gold ends the day lower. The VIX rose 4.2`points to 38.52..  
    Today's action revolved around worries about Europe: 
    The State of the Markets technical analysis, Technical Talk: The Dip Buyers Are Alive and Well  
    It didn't help that:Roubini: This Is Worse Than 2008, Geithner Says No Coordinated Global Policy Coming, Wholesale Inventories Up +0.8% in JulyIMF's Lagarde: Downside Risks To Global Economy Have Increased ECB's Stark To Resign Over Conflict on Policy, and .Rumors of Greek Debt Default Roil Markets.  
    Value stocks may overtake growth- Hulbert   
    Howard Gold has written an article entitled 3 big myths about the U.S. debt crisis.  
    I thought this article was very interesting: Global warming no hoax to insurers. If you want to find out what the smart money thinks, check out insurance rates.
   Rex Nutting has an article discussing what it will take to generate jobs: Cutting taxes, or red tape won’t create jobs  
    Friday nights are generally quiet nights.  


2011-9-8: (Thursday Night): The market indices slipped back a bit today Bernanke brings out bears, Stocks Pull Back As Bernanke Stays Mum . The NASDAQ Composite retreated 75.11 points (-0.78&) to close at 2,529.14. The Dow gave up 119.05 points (-1.04%) to close at 11,295.81; the S&P 500 declined 12.72 points (-1.06%) to settle at 1,185.90. Oil jumped to $89.44; gold jumped to 1,869: Gold ends the day lower. The VIX rose 0.84`points to 34.32..  
    Today's action revolved around Fed Chairman Bernanke's speech, and President Obama's anticipated speech tonight regarding fighting unemployment Obama to unveil 'substantial' package: Geithner: After rising earlier in the day, the markets fell after Fed Chairman Bernanke's speech: Bernanke Says Fed Stands Ready But Offers No Details. Ben Bernanke said essentially the same things he said at Jackson's Hole.
    The State of the Markets technical analysis, Technical Talk: Will History Repeat Exactly? Their conclusion? that the markets are still range-bound, and that only their market models can tell when it's safe to reinvest. 
    Consumer Credit Rises in July  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Pulls Back  
    European Central Bank and Bank Of England Leave Rates Unchanged; Trichet To Speak
    Trichet Stays Course; Says Inflation Remains Elevated  Unlike the U. S. Federal Reserve which has the dual mandate of balancing unemployment against indlation, the European Central Bank has responsibility only for curbing inflation. (No wonder they're hawkish on monetary policy!)
    Weekly Jobless Claims Continue to Rise  
     Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECS) Says Global Growth Has Come To Halt 
    Fitch May Downgrade China and Japan Next  
    Market futures are up modestly tonight.  


2011-9-6: (Tuesday Night): Market indices opened sharply lower but regained most of their losses by the end of the day Dow tumbles triple digits for third straight session, Recession Fears Allayed; Bulls Stay Course.  The NASDAQ Composite fell 6.5 points (-0.26%) to close at 2,473.83. The Dow lost 100.96 points (-0.9%) to close at 11,139.30; the S&P 500 slid 8.73 points (-0.74%%) to settle at 1,165.24. Oil fell to $86.44; gold closed at 1,876: Gold ends the day lower. The VIX gained 3.08`points to 37.  
    Michael Ashbaugh's column is entitled: S&P and Nasdaq fail their tests
    State of the Markets reports: 
    Eurozone GDP Reported at +1.6% in Q2  
    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index Above Expectations in August  
    Germany's Industrial Orders Below Expectations  
    State of the Markets' Curt Bergquist reports on the fact that for the first time, the general public is being exposed to what actually goes on in Washington: If You Ever Saw How Sausage Was Made. One problem here is that the public is as polarized as our political parties regarding what the role of government should be regarding intervention in a fallen economy (although I don't remember the public squaring off this way during the years from World War II to 2007 when the Fed balanced growth against unemployment while holding down inflation).
    Market futures are up about ½ % tonight.  


2011-9-5: (Monday Night): Asian and European markets are tanking tonight: Asia stocks extend their fall, and U. S. futures are down more than 2% tonight: Stock futures falling.


2011-9-2: (Friday Night): The bulls were run off the field today after the August jobs report showed zero growth: U.S. economy adds zero jobs in August. The NASDAQ Composite fell 65.71 points (-2.58%) to close at 2,480.33. The Dow lost 253.31 points (-2.2%) to close at 11,240.26; the S&P 500 slid 30.45 points (-2.53%) to settle at 1,173.97. Oil rose to $88.78; gold remained at 1,827: Gold settles modestly lower as dollar rises. The VIX gained 2`points to 33.82  
    Contributing to this month's dismal jobs report were 45,000 Verizon employees who were out on strike. Still, Recession or not, jobs report widely panned
    After this morning's commentary, Jobs report startles stocks, the State of the Markets technical analysis is entitled Technical Talk: The Dreaded Breakout Fakeout: "The bottom line to the current technical action is that this week's breakout above key resistance at 1205 has turned into a "breakout fakeout." So, with the indices now back in the range, we will have to resume the process of establishing support once again. We see the near-term support levels at 1180 being tested (so far successfully) today. Finally, remember that old support at 1205ish is once again new resistance." Note that the S&P 500 closed below the 1180 level at which State of the Markets said they would be short-term sellers. As last night's advice ran: "Basically, the idea is that it's still not safe to jump on the bulls' bandwagon."
    Today's State of the Markets articles include:
    UK Construction PMI Falls in August     
    Greece Won't Meet Deficit Targets in 2011  
    Nonfarm Payrolls Report: No Job Growth in August 
    Reports: FHFA Preparing To File Suit Against Big Banks  
    Shiller: It Will Be a Bumpy Ride, But Okay to Buy Stocks For Long Term 
    EC Approves Loan Installment for Ireland and Portugal  
    Rumor Mill: Goldman To Say QE3 Is A Go  
      
    Market watch says, If You Thought August Was Bad...  
    Other articles include: 
    Job report turns up heat on Fed to take action,
    Labor secretary puts blame on debt-ceiling fight,
    Jobless rate to remain atop 8% in 2012: White House,  
    Noted analyst: Dow 13,600, here we come, and
    Tech job growth in India — and the U.S.
    The noted analyst is Sam Eisenstadt, "the former research director at Value Line. Prior to his retirement in late 2009, Eisenstadt had spent 63 years at that firm. At the time, its flagship publication, the Value Line Investment Survey, was in first place for risk-adjusted performance over the three decades the Hulbert Financial Digest had been tracking advisory performance." (As you may have guessed, this article is Mark Hulbert's contribution to this Friday's news columns.)  
    And that about wraps up the week.


2011-9-1: (Thursday Night): The bulls ran out of oomph today: Stocks trip ahead of jobs, Stocks Pull Back in Front of Jobs Report. The NASDAQ Composite fell 33.42 points (-1.3%) to close at 2,546.04. The Dow lost 5119.96 points (-1.03%) to close at 11,493.57; the S&P 500 rose 14.47 points (-1.19%) to settle at 1,204.42. Oil rose to $88.78; gold remained at 1,827: Gold settles modestly lower as dollar rises. The VIX gained 0.2`points to 31.82  
    After this morning's commentary, Has The Insanity Ended?, the State of the Markets articles tonight include:
    Weekly Jobless Claims Update
    Nonfarm Productivity Down, Unit Labor Costs Up  
    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Pulls Back
    ISM Manufacturing Report Stays Above 50 - Surprises Analysts  
    Construction Spending in U.S. Weaker Than Expected in July  
    Goldman Cuts Estimate for August Nonfarm Payrolls  
    White House Projects Budget Deficit of $1.3 Trillion  
    Fed's Announce Enforcement Actions Against Goldman Sachs 
    Goldman: The Worlds' Going To Heck In a Handbasket - Here's How To Play It  

    Market watch had just a few comments:
    Five things that drive economists crazy about the jobs report
    Counter-trend rally in September?  
    Basically, the idea is that it's still not safe to jump on the bulls' bandwagon.

    Stock market futures are down about ½ % tonight.


2011-8-31: (Wednesday Night): The bulls backed and filled today, ending somewhat higher: Guns of August die down, Stocks End Tough Month on Up Note. The NASDAQ Composite advanced 3.35 points (0.13%) to close at 2,579.46. The Dow gained  53.58 points (0.46%) to close at 11,613.53; the S&P 500 rose 5.97 points (0.49%) to settle at 1,218.89. Oil rose to $88.93: Oil settles lower — down 7.2% in month; gold climbed to 1,827: Gold's 12% advance for August. The VIX fell 1.27` points to 31.62  
    State of the Markets asks Has The 'Tepper Trade' Returned?  
    In the technical arena, State of the Markets has Technical Talk: Another Fibonacci Level In Play.  
    
    Europe Update: Unemployment Rates Remain Elevated  Well, yes, employment rates aren't rising.
    Investor's Intelligence Shows Bullish Sentiment Holds Steady  
    ADP Shows Businesss Added 91K Jobs in AugustChallenger Reports 51K Layoffs Planned in August  In other words, there was a net increase in employment of 40K jobs in August... about 0.08% of the workforce.
    NAAIM Survey Shows Active Managers Stayed Cautious 
    Chicago barometer cools  
    Factory Orders Above Consensus in July  
      
    Breaking Glass (Or the Parable of the Broken Window)  
    Performance of 'State' Services Now Updated 
      
    Irish eye recovery The Irish are pulling out of their slump.
    Mark Hulbert observes that September isThe cruelest month.
    Obama's jobs plan on tap
    U.S., U.K. economies are fixing themselves  This author may or may not be correct about the U. S. and U. K. economies fixing themselves, but I take strong exception to the idea that the government intervention has hampered this recovery at terrible cost to the taxpayers.
    In 2008, the George W, Bush Republican administration poured hundreds of billions of dollars into failing banks and insurance companies in a massive government intervention in the private financial markets. And I'm not knocking them for doing that for a moment. If you want to get a feeling for what was happening then, read the 2008-5-15 through 2008-10-10 Daily Investment Interpretations. If our Republican government hadn't actively quickly and decisively, Rome would have in Tiber melted and the wide arch of the rang'd empire fallen. We would have lost our life savings, our retirement accounts, and no doubt, our jobs and other sources of income. The U. S. banking system would have collapsed, probably ushering in the Great Depression 2.0. And it didn't matter which party won the 2008 presidential election, the  incumbents, with reduced federal tax receipts, would have been forced into heavy deficit  spending in order to fund unemployment compensation, Social Security, Medicare, and other safety ent programs. Otherwise, the economy would have fallen off a cliff.
    Granted: cutting the federal deficit would be a good idea, but the time to do it is when the economy is booming, not when it's on life support (just as the time to pay down your debts is when you're working overtime, rather than when you've just lost your job... much as you might wish it were otherwise).
    In 1929, newly elected engineer Herbert Hoover did what his reactionary Treasury Secretary, Andrew Mellon told him to do. The result was a death spiral, bottoming in 1932 (see the Four Bad Bear Markets below). And a byproduct of that fiasco was the appointment of Herr Adolph Hitler as Reich's Chancellor in 1932 as a counterweight to Germany's burgeoning Communist Party.
    Even Washington can’t keep economy down. This article by, Darell Delamaide, argues that in spite of bumbling in Washington and too small a stimulus package, the U. S. economy is struggling back up.
    Stock market futures are up tonight.


2011-8-30: (Tuesday Night): The bulls ripped and snorted again today: Dow's 2nd triple-digit day, Breakout or Fakeout? The NASDAQ Composite advanced 82.26 points (3.32%) to close at 2,562.11. The Dow gained  254.71 points (2.26%) to close at 11,539.25; the S&P 500 rose 33.28 points (2.83%) to settle at 1,210.08. Oil rose to $87.52: Oil gains; gold climbed a little to 1,791: Gold lower. The VIX fell 3.2` points to 32.28  
    State of the Markets observes that Federal Open Market Committee Minutes Reveal Fed Looking at Policy Options, or as Marketwatch puts it: Fed weighs putter or wedge.  
    In the technical arena, State of the Markets has Technical Talk: Bad News, Choppy Action, while Marketwatch' Michael Ashbaugh says that there are Crosscurrents in technical picture.  
    Study: Stop Drinking the Kool-Aid and Manage Stock Market Risks  
    In the good news department, Rates Fall at Italian Bond Auction and Economic Update: S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index Rises in June.
    In the bad news arena, Consumer Confidence Index Plummets in August, but consumer confidence is a trailing indicator, and the August measure was taken at a time when the markets had tumbled.
    In the meantime, Marketwatch is beating the "invest now" drum: McMillan: More buy signals now in place, Hulbert: Contrarians are now bullish, Arends has 10 reasons for optimism, and Marder: The clouds begin to part.
    After a grim start, the markets perked up this afternoon on the release of the Fed minutes showing that corrective action is on the table: Minutes Turn Choppy Session Green.
    Market futures are slightly lower tonight.


2011-8-29: (Monday Night): The bulls stampeded today: Dow's 2nd triple-digit day, Breakout or Fakeout? The NASDAQ Composite advanced 82.26 points (3.32%) to close at 2,562.11. The Dow gained  254.71 points (2.26%) to close at 11,539.25; the S&P 500 rose 33.28 points (2.83%) to settle at 1,210.08. Oil rose to $87.52: Oil gains; gold climbed a little to 1,791: Gold lower. The VIX fell 3.2` points to 32.28  
    Probably the most bullish influence today came from talk at the Jackson's Hole weekend meeting of the Fed in the form of a recognition of the growing hole in the economy, and of the need to do something about it: Big Talk About Big Moves In Jackson Hole. Another bullish influence may have been: Personal Incomes and Spending Up In June.  
    On the downside, there was: Pending Home Sales Pull Back in July, IMF Slashes U.S. GDP Forecast, and Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index Dives in August.  
    State of the Markets' technical analysis of today's action is encapsulated in: Technical Talk: Resistance Test. Conclusion: we'll have to see whether the markets have broken out of their trading ranges. For now, they're running on hope.         
    Mark Hulbert's column today asks: Banks signaling new bull market?  
    Have we really bottomed?   
    Peter Brimelow's column today: Still sticking with stocks reviews The Chartist's editor, Dan Sullivan's outlook, rationale, and past performance. 
    Stock market futures are down slightly tonight.  


2011-8-26: (Friday Night): Market indices rose somewhat today: The rally before the storm. The NASDAQ Composite moved up a respectable 60.02 points (2.49%) to close at 2,479.85. The Dow uptilted 134.72 points (1.21%) to close at 11,284.54; the S&P 500 regained 17.53 points (1.51%) to settle at 1,176.80. Oil rose to $85.14: Oil price forecasts cut on global slowdown fears; gold collapsed to 1,784: Gold ends higher. The VIX fell 4.17 points to 35.59  
    Fed Chairman Bernanke announced today that the Fed would punt on financial changes until the September meeting: Easing: See you in Sept.?, Speech excerpts on economy, Congress, policy. This was evidently comforting to the markets in spite of the fact that U.S. economic weakness accelerates and U.S. second-quarter growth revised lower
    Aug. consumer sentiment revised higher  
    Zandi: Too close for comfort on recession  
    5 triggers to launch the next bull market  


2011-8-25: (Thursday Night): Market indices retreated somewhat today: Stocks slide; Ben's on tap, Buffet's Bet Not Enough, Stocks Fall. The NASDAQ Composite moved up a sedate  48.06 points (-1.95%) to close at  2,419.63. The Dow gave back 170.89 points (-1.51%) to close at 11,149.82; the S&P 500 ratcheted down 18.99 points (-1.56%) to settle at 1,159.27. Oil rose to $85.14:Oil higher ; gold collapsed to 1,784: Gold ends higher. The VIX rose 3.86 points to 39.76  
    Tonight's big news is the Federal Reserve meeting in Jackson's Hole, Wyoming: At Jackson Hole, little support for QE3, Five questions Bernanke may answer, Brainstorming U.S. and global slowdowns, and Bernanke hopes defy hurricane force
    Kevin Marder sees the markets forming a bottom.  
    From State of the Markets, we have: UBS and Citigroup Downgrade Global Growth Expectations, Weekly Jobless Claims, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Rises (A Little), Market Mover- Rumors of Debt Downgrade in Germany, Rating Agencies Reaffirm Germany's Debt Rating, Fed's Hoenig Says Chance Of Recession is Elevated, But, and Should We Laugh Or Should We Cry?.    
    Today's Technical Talk: Tough To Interpret.      

    Market futures are up about 0.4% tonight. 


2011-8-24: (Wednesday Night): Market indices cruised higher today: U.S. stocks extend winning run to third day, Bulls Get Follow Up Effort. The NASDAQ Composite moved up a sedate  21.63 points (0.88%) to close at  2,467.69. The Dow accrued 143.95 points (1.29%) to close at 11,320.71; the S&P 500 ratcheted up 15.25 points (1.31%) to settle at 1,177.60. Oil rose to $85.14; gold collapsed to 1,784: About drop in gold: 'Watch and wait'. The VIX crept down another 0.37 points to 35.90  
    Tonight's big news is the departure of Steve Jobs as Apple's CEO: Apple's Jobs leaves.
    Among the financial news today is German IFO Business Climate Index Continues to Sink, Eurozone Industrial New Orders Weaker Than Expected, Moody's Downgrades Japanese Sovereign Debt Rating, Merkel Rejects Ideaof Collateral for Greek Bailout Deal, Orders For Durable Goods Surprise To Upside in July, FHFA House Price Index Rises In June; Above Expectations, CBO Says U.S. Deficits To Decline Going Forward, ECB Says No Use of Dollar Lending Facility This Week, Don't Mess With Mother Nature, Investor's Intelligence Shows Bullish Sentiment In Decline, Corporate Insiders Hoping To Make Some Hay, and Margin Requirements Being Hiked on Gold Futures.  
    State of the Markets Technical Talk was Technical Talk: The Bottoming Process.   
    Marketwatch's Rex Nutting writes: Austerity's making it worse.  
    On Friday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak from a Jackson's Hole meeting: Bernanke ready for action, but when is in doubt.  
    Market futures are slightly negative tonight, perhaps in response to Steve Jobs' departure. 


2011-8-23: (Tuesday Night): Market indices bounced back today: Stocks stampede higher, Sigh of Relief Sends Stocks Soaring. The NASDAQ Composite leaped 100.68 points (4.29%) to end at  2,446.06. The Dow tacked on 322.11 points (2.97%) to close at 11,176.76; the S&P 500 ratcheted up 38.53 points (3.43%) to settle at 1,162.35. Oil rose to $84.29: Libya oil won't be back online quickly; gold leaped again to 1,910: Gold's next level: $1,900. The VIX inched down 0.61 points to 42.44  
    State of the Markets is describing this as a classical waterfall decline. There is a panicked washout, followed by a bounce, and then a retesting of the lows. Apparently, this latter step has been successful.
    There were several pieces of bad news today:
    New Home Sales Down Again in July 
    Is The Housing Market About To Get Worse?            
    Richmond Fed Index Takes a Dive in August  
    Pay hikes in 2012 won’t outpace inflation  
    Irwin Kellner has written:
Easy money is a mixed blessing.
    Michael Ashbaugh recounts what has happened in S&P 500 rallies from major support, and  Kevin Marder provides a different technical slant in Stock investors catch a glimpse of normalcy.
    Finally, there's Technical Talk: Will It Stick This Time?.
    Market futures are down about ½ % tonight.  
.   It may be time to buy back in, but I'll wait for an all-clear from State of the Markets before I sally forth.  


2011-8-22: (Monday Night): Market indices ended today flat to slightly higher: Stocks' first gain in days, A Step In The Right Direction, But.  The NASDAQ Composite gained 3.54 points (0.15%) to end at  2,345.38. The Dow added 37 points (0.34%) to close at 10,854.65; the S&P 500 inched up 0.29 points (-1.5%) to settle at 1,123.82. Oil rose to $84.29: Libya oil won't be back online quickly; gold leaped again to 1,910: Gold's next level: $1,900. The VIX inched down 0.61 points to 42.44
    State of the Markets Technical Talk: Both Teams Being Tested
    Chicago Fed National Activity Index Says No Recession (Yet), Chicago Fed's July index shows improvement  
    Goldman Sachs Joins Downgrade Parade; Cuts GDP Forecast  This is interesting. Goldman Sachs has just cut its forecast for U. S.' GDP to 1% and 1.5% from the 2% forecast it issued earlier this year because the U. S. economy is "losing additional momentum".
    Other than this, there isn't a lot of news tonight.
    Market futures are up more than ½ % tonight.  


2011-8-21: (Sunday Night): Market futures are up somewhat tonight.
    PIMCO's Gross: Recession inevitable. What's significant about this is the author.
    Will data confirm recession surveys predict?


2011-8-19: (Friday Night):  The markets closed down again today: Closing Thoughts: What We're Looking For Now, Weekly losing streak at four. The NASDAQ Composite lost 38.59 points (-1.62% ) to end at  2,341.84. The Dow declined  172.93 points (-1.57%) to close at 10,817.65; the S&P 500 sagged  17.12 points (-1.5%) to settle at 1,123.53. Oil rose slightly to $82.73: Oil falls as global demand prospects weaken; gold leaped again to 1,855: Gold gains 6% in week, sets sights on $2,000, Gold and VIX's interesting relationship. The VIX inched up 0.38 points to 43.05
    Tonight's article,
Closing Thoughts: What We're Looking For Now, written by State of the Markets' Curtis Bergquist, offers a summary of where things stand:
"Summing up, my market tactics will key off of what I believe are the 2 most likely possibilities:

A third possibility is a break below last week's lows which leads to a replay of the September/October 2008 waterfall plunge. While I do not believe this case is likely to occur, it could. And thus we must all keep one eye on the exit."
    
    State of the Markets' David Moenning opened the day with Will It Be Different This Time?
 This was followed by the bad news: Citi Cuts Forecasts for U.S. GDP and S&P Earnings , Germany's PPI (Producer Price Index) Much Hotter Than Expected, Spain Announces New Spending Cuts and Measure to Boost Economy, Europe Update: Finland Refuses to Compromise on Greece, and Fed Conspiracy Theory?          
    The only good news was Market Mover: Fed's Dudley Says Foreign Banks Not a Focus. This news release poured oil on troubled waters.  
    So far, the markets have remained above their August 9th lows (1101 on the S&P 500).
    And that's about it for tonight. 


2011-8-18: (Thursday Night):  The markets dove again today: Another steep selloff, Selling Resumes on Growth Fears. The NASDAQ Composite lost 131.05 points (-5.22% ) to end at  2,380.43. The Dow declined  419.63 points (-3.68%) to close at 10,990.58; the S&P 500 sagged  53.24 points (-4.46%) to settle at 1,140.65. Oil slipped to $81.78: Oil falls as global demand prospects weaken; gold leaped to 1,827: Gold's on a record run. The VIX soared 11.09 points to 42.67
    State of the Markets' Curt Berquist says, "Morning Brief: It's Ugly Out There" These were prophetic words as more and more bad news emerged today: Morgan Stanley Cuts Global Growth Forecasts, Signs of Bank Stress Cropping Up in Eurozone, Initial Jobless Claims Rise; Still Above 400K, CPI Surprises to Upside; More Than Double Expectations, Philly Fed Index Drops Off a Cliff; Lowest Level Since March 2009, Existing Home Sales Fall in July, and Let's Admit It; The Talking Heads Won't Help You. The only good news today was: US Leading Economic Index Rises in July. State of the Markets' technical talk, The Retest Phase Has Commenced, concludes that the markets are now retesting their August 9th lows, (1101 on the S&P 500). One other State of the Markets article is the continuation of the Underground Trader's What Makes a Market (Cont).
    At Marketwatch, Jon Markman opines that ‘R’ is for recession, not recovery. And Kevin Marder offers up Waiting for market’s other shoe to drop. Another Marketwatch article is entitled: Markets deep in correction; some sectors in bear's lair. Also, there's In danger of a double dip (video)? Meanwhile, Mark Hulbert says that it's rare we're at a bottom when so many market observers are calling one. Then there's Investors remain calm (video). From a contrarian standpoint, that doesn't sound good.
    Market futures are down about ½ % again tonight just as they were last night.


2011-8-17: (Wednesday Night):  Today, Stocks battle back to end mixed: . The NASDAQ Composite lost 31.75 points (-1.24% ) to end at  2,523.45. The Dow powered upward 76.97 points (-0.67%) to close at 11,405.93; the S&P 500 sagged  11.73 points (-0.97%) to settle at 1,192.76. Oil slipped to $87.15: Oil falls as global demand prospects weaken; gold climbed to $1,790: Gold rises to record $1,785 an ounce. The VIX rose 0.98 points to 32.85
    State of the Markets' David Moenning says, "Searching For The Truth" He concludes that the markets are readjusting to the prospects for slower growth, and are in a "discovery" process.   Technical Talk: I was Expecting Some Oomph: "Without any really bad news to send traders scurrying to the sidelines, the bounce phase of the waterfall decline pattern appears to be ongoing. And as we've been saying an upside of 1230 would seem "about right." However, we must keep in mind that history rarely repeats itself exactly. As such, we're on the lookout for an abrupt rally failure. Bottom line: Stay flexible and follow your trading guidelines, this is no time to start 'winging it'"  NAAIM Survey Shows Active Managers Not Taking Chances: Investment managers have gotten more bearish over the past week. at the same time: Investor's Intelligence Shows Sentiment Still UpbeatInflation at Producer Level Should Keep Fed on Hold, i. e., there probably won't be any QE3 or QE2.5. Go Anywhere Funds Stand and Deliver In Current Market Mayhem       
    The good news: Mark Hulbert says, Don't fret if Dow dips into death cross. Mark Hulbert points out that a death cross usually signals a market bottom.
    Harrison: Investors' rage against the machine   Todd Harrison is getting slightly optimistic.
    Brimelow: Was that the bottom?  
    Fisher talks Fed dissent. As I understand it, Mr. Fisher is saying that the Fed should be raising rates so that U. S. industry would be inspired to borrow money to expand before interest rates go up. Huh? We're threatened with a worldwide global slowdown if not an outright global recession. U. S. industry is already sitting on $2 trillion in cash. If I were a small businessman,
it doesn't seem to me that I would be worried about missing out on an opportunity to expand using a minimum interest loan. I wouldn't be ready to expand until customer demands were outstripping my ability to satisfy them.
    Of course, that may not actually be Mr. Fisher's argument, or if it is, there may be another side to the story that isn't in the news release. 
    Perry push to the right unsettles Republicans 
    Next major price cycle in October      
    Obama to offer more than $1.5 trillion in cuts   
    Market futures are down ½ % tonight.


2011-8-16: (Tuesday Night):  Today, stocks retreated: Stocks pare early losses but still end win streak, Bears come out of Europe, EU Conference, Policy Weighs on Stocks, and Signs of the 'death cross'. The NASDAQ Composite lost 31.75 points (-1.24% ) to end at  2,523.45. The Dow powered upward 76.97 points (-0.67%) to close at 11,405.93; the S&P 500 sagged  11.73 points (-0.97%) to settle at 1,192.76. Oil slipped to $87.15: Oil falls as global demand prospects weaken; gold climbed to $1,790: Gold rises to record $1,785 an ounce. The VIX rose 0.98 points to 32.85
    State of the Markets' David Moenning says, "Everything's Fine Now, Right?" Market news and market commentators have suddenly become quite upbeat... exactly as you'd expect in a waterfall decline. In the way of good news, there's: Fund managers brace for slowdown, no double-dip, Fitch Affirms U.S. Rating as 'AAA' with Stable Outlook, Industrial output jumps in July, What's This, Good Economic News? (Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization), Quick Comment: Time To Buy Back In?, and Inflationary pressures low. Mark Hulbert notes that Streaks signal a bottom. "Streaks of volatility aren't as rare as they seem, according to MarketWatch's Mark Hulbert, who says they are often part of a "'bottoming process.'"
    In the bad news department, there's: Germany's GDP growth nearly grinds to a haltGermany will lead the global downturn, Eurozone GDP Also Below Consensus in Q2, Recession risk up, says Atlanta Fed's Lockhart, Import Prices Up in July, Export Prices Down, and Housing starts slip 1.5% in July, U.S. data show. . 
    Michael Ashbaugh explains that "The major U.S. benchmarks have rallied sharply from the August low, but technical damage has been inflicted.": Technical repairs needed   
    This article by Dr. Irwin Kellner points out that even an economics ignoramus ought to be able to understand that if the government cuts its budget during a recession, less money is going to be pumped into the economy, with a downward ripple effect on the economy: Kellner: Some economic lessons from history. What he doesn't add is that a lowered GDP lowers GDP and government tax receipts, driving up the deficit that much further.    
    In the "general news: category: French and German Leaders Propose Common Governance For Eurozone, and Paulson's Big Bets Are Big Losers in 2011. "So far in 2011, investor loyalty and patience is being tested, specifically when it comes to newly-minted billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson. Economic hardships and stress on the banking sector have led the president and founder of Paulson & Co. to endure substantial loses; his flagship $38 billion hedge fund is down 21.5% already this year according to figures released last Friday and will likely continue on a downward path with each drop in the U.S. stock market. In ... Read More »
    We aren't the only ones who have found this stock market environment to be challenging! 
    Market futures are down a bit tonight. 


2011-8-15: (Monday Night):  More gains today: Stocks Rally, 3-In-A-Row, Bulls ring back in the gains. The NASDAQ Composite gained 47.22 points (1.88% ) to end at  2,555.20. The Dow powered upward 213.88 points (1.9%) to close at 11,482.90; the S&P 500 leaped  25.68 points (2.18%) to settle at 1,204.49. Oil advanced to $87.68; gold climbed to $1,768: Back to the gold standard?. The VIX fell 4.48 points to 31.87: VIX gives back five sessions of gains
    Of Trends, Traditions, and Commandments  State of the Markets' opening essay this morning observes that the markets are rising because no new bad news is hitting them. Nevertheless, historically, after a waterfall decline like the one that has just occurred, a 50%-retrace is typical. That would take the S&P 500 to 1250.
    NAHB Housing Market Index Stuck at Low Levels The housing index was unchanged for July. 
    Empire Manufacturing The Empire State manufacturing index fell to its lowest level since February, 2009 (just before the March, 2009, bear market bottom).
    Europe Update: Rehn Says Spain, Italy and France Won't Need Support  
    Technical Talk: Watching The Fibonacci Levels  This technical assessment notes that the S&P 500 faced resistance at 1200 (which it may have overcome by closing above 1200 tonight). It also restates the need for caution.
    This Is What Makes a Market  
    World Bank Chief: We Are Nearing the Danger Zone  
    Market futures are slightly negative (basically neutral) tonight.  


2011-8-12: (Friday Night):  The markets registered further gains today: Stocks end on an up note, Quick Comment: The Bulls Are Due. The NASDAQ Composite gained 15.3 points (0.61% ) to end at  2,507.98. The Dow powered upward 125.71 points (1.13%) to close at 11,269.02; the S&P 500 leaped  6.17 points (0.53%) to settle at 1,178.81. Oil was little changed at $85.30; gold closed way down at at $1,749: Gold's win streak halted. The VIX fell 2.84 points to 36.36.   
    Mark Hulbert notes that investment advice among the investment newsletters he tracks have gone from too complacent to quite bearish, which, from a contrarian perspective, is quite bullish:  Mark Hulbert: Contrarian indicator at hand (video). But he notes in this interview that time scales have been unthinkably compressed: that what took a week or a nth to play out in the past may occur now within an hour or a day. He also notes that Hulbert: Corporate insiders are buying. This viewpoint is augmented by Insiders are buying, and they’re worth watching and by Insiders are not bailing on this market (video).   
     State Of The Markets views what's happening as the unfolding of a classic waterfall decline. They forecast a climb to, Perhaps, 1,250 on the S&P 500, followed by a further fall:Technical Talk: Sticking To The Script .Here's additional information posted at the Stat Of The Markets website: Eurozone Industrial Production In Decline, France GDP Falls to Unchanged in Q2; Below Estimates, What's This, Good Economic News in the UK?, Retail Sales in U.S. Up +0.5% in July, University of Michigan Sentiment Dives in August, Business Inventories Below Consensus in June, and Bove: If The U.S. Were A Company We Evaluated... “'[The country] owes $14.4 trillion [and] over the next five years that will get up to $20 trillion,' he said. 'We’re building a reserve currency around a country which is bankrupt and can’t pay its debt. How can you, in essence, be aggressive and say, ‘I know where the bottom is, or I know how this is going to adjust’?' he said. 
    “In agreement, noted investor, Jim Rogers, told CNBC Monday that the United States is not currently worthy of the AA-plus credit rating, let along the cherished AAA designation. 'They can roll it over and continue to play the charade, but the U.S. is bankrupt.'” 
    “Said Bove, '…I think the markets going lower so I’m not buying anything.'”

    Generally, this news sounds pretty bad, and corporate-insider-purchases and newsletter-pessimism notwithstanding, it doesn't suggest jumping into the markets with both feet..


2011-8-11: (Thursday Night):  The markets roared back today in a reprise of Tuesday's action.: U.S. stocks surge, Lack of Bad News is Good News "Dow industrials rise more than 400 points, continuing Wall Street's most volatile week since 2008. Better-than-expected jobless claims and Cisco's results curb fears about the economy — for now.". The NASDAQ Composite galloped up 101.47 points (459% ) to end at  2,492.68. The Dow powered upward 420.72 points (3.93%) to close at 11,142.30; the S&P 500 leaped  51.74 points (4.62%) to settle at 1,172.56. Oil jumped to $85.72; gold closed way down at at $1,755: Gold's win streak halted. The VIX fell 3.69 points to 39.30.   
    The proximate causes of today's giddy action? Jobless claims came in less than expected: Weekly Jobless Claims Fall 7K; Back Below 400K, Then there's: Hoey: 20% chance of new recession bout, Prices at the gas pump are falling, Market bottoms are a process, and Volatility makes one economist rethink outlook.  
    State Of The Markets Technical Talk: Base Formation In Progress
    Michael Ashbaugh notes: Bulls absorb second test of S&P 1,120.   
    State of the Markets offers these commentaries: Technical Talk: Base Formation In Progress, Trade Deficit Widens Again In June, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Falls Again, White House Considering New Strategies to Stimulate Housing, Italy and France To Ban Short Selling at Close, and EU Market Regulator Bans Short Selling in Four Countries. The Underground Trader wonders why the media continue to quote 'experts" who have gotten it so wrong in the past: Yet Another Expert Opinion. And State Of The Markets Options Manager, Curt B., makes a Quick Comment: I (Still) Like The Odds
    Market futures are neutral tonight.


2011-8-10: (Wednesday Night):  The markets rebound: Market Wrap: Stocks Plunge on Euro Contagion Fears, Stocks dive again, bleeding losses in final hour. The NASDAQ Composite plummeted 101.47 points (-4.09% ) to end at  2,381.05. The Dow dove519.83 points (-4.62%) to close at 10,719.94; the S&P 500 stumbled 51.77 points (-4.42%) to settle at 1,120.76. Oil ended at $82.74; gold closed at $1,800: Gold soars past $1,800. The VIX climbed 7.93 points to 35.06.   
    Bank of England Downgrades Growth Expectations, S&P's next downgrade- France?, Beware the S&P 500 'death cross', Altucher affirms controversial Dow 20,000 call, Technical Talk- Trying To Get Our Bearings.    
    Irrespective of what the hedge funds do, the economy looks to me as though it's in a self-reinforcing downward spiral.
    Market futures are up more than 1% tonight.


2011-8-9: (Tuesday Night):  The markets rebounded today: Dow stages late recovery in best day since March 2009, Market Wrap: Stocks Finish Higher, Wild Ride The NASDAQ Composite reclaimed 124.83 points (5.29% ) to end at  2,482.52. The Dow regained 429.92 points (3.98%) to close at 11,239.77; the S&P 500 vaulted 53.07 points (4.74%) to settle at 1,172.53. Oil closed down at $82.14; gold closed at $1,747: The VIX backed off 12.94 to 35.06. 
    State Of The Markets asks Is This 2008 Again?: A Review of Waterfall Patterns. Richard Meiers predicts a 10% rise in the market indices... about 5% above tonight's close... followed by a further decline. The Underground Trader asks: Underground Trader: Is The Fed Out of Ammo? In it, he lists various moves the Fed could make, including the specific choice the Fed did make: "announcing a specific longer than expected date for an extended 'zero interest rate' policy". Other articles are: Technical Talk:Time For A Bounce, Quick Comment: Is That a Ray of Sunshine?, Fed Sees Economy Slowing But Offers No New Stimulus Plans, and White House Hunkering Down After Market Dive.         
    Although the Fed promised to keep interest rates low through 2013, there was an uncommon degree of disagreement among its members: Discord at the Fed: "Federal Reserve pledges to keep rates on hold "at least through mid-2013. That action brings an unusual three dissenting votes.". Fed's stuck like Congress
    Irwin Kellner observes that Fear of recession may help avoid it.  
    Law gives SEC scope to probe S&P insider trading, Moody’s, S&P lobbying spending on rise, , S&P's scarlet 'E' — as in, Enron, and Recalling Canada's own S&P debt downgrade. "The economy is slumping, and the word from the Fed on Tuesday is that the central bank is just as paralyzed as Congress is (First Take)."         
    Mark Hulbert states that    Insiders think now is the time to be buying.
    Michael Ashbaugh reports that U.S. markets traverse less-charted territory.  


2011-8-8: (Monday Night):  Whew! The Dow had its sixth worst fall in history, and the NASDAQ and S&P 500 fell even farther, percentage-wise: Nightmare on Wall Street, Market Wrap: Stocks Flushed, Confidence Erodes.   The NASDAQ Composite subsided 174.72 points (-6.9% ) to end at  2,357.69. The Dow collapsed 634.76 points (-5.55%) to close at 10,809.65; the S&P 500 drifted down 79.92 points (-6.66%) to settle at 1,119.46. Oil closed down at $77.40; gold catapulted to $1,755: The VIX leaped 50% to 48: VIX jumps the most in a session since 2007.
   
And tonight: Asia zooming down: Hong Kong down more than 6%, Tokyo off 4.3%. U. S. stock futures are also down again sharply, presaging another day of ruinous decline: Dow's drop and potential of new recession (video), The pros are bracing for another recession. Meanwhile, Senate panel may probe S&P.
    China prices racing up: "Chinese consumer prices accelerate further to 6.5% in July, beating expectations and keeping alive the prospect of more tightening."
    David Weidner's idea of buying short-term puts on the S&P 500 ETF, SPY, looks like a sage idea to me right now.
    Here are some additional ideas: 8 strategies for a market crash.
    And from State Of The Markets: Quick Comment: Things We're Hearing At This Hour, Technical Talk: Is This The Emotional Washout?, Moody's Reiterates Warning of U.S. Downgrade, China Takes U.S. To Task After Downgrade, OECD Says Global Slowdown Likely, President Addresses Debt Downgrade; Markets Fall, Goldman Sachs Finally Cuts Estimates for Year-End S&P, Heads Up: Margin Requirements In Flux, Reasons Not To Fear the Downgrade, and Technical Talk: Is This The Emotional Washout?                     


2011-8-7: (Sunday Night):  Stock market futures are down bout 2% tonight in response to S&P's downgrading of U. S. debt. 
    One Marketwatch columnist writes: Downgrade won't have much effect. Then there's Economic preview: consumers still jittery and Stock investors' focus will be split.


2011-8-5: (Friday Night):  The market indices ended the day chaotically, with the Dow up 0.5%, the NASDAQ down almost 1%, and the S&P little changed on the day: Dow wilts in August heat.  The NASDAQ Composite fell 23.98 points (-0.94% ) to end at  2,532.41. The Dow climbed 60.93 points (0.54%) to close at 11,444.61; the S&P 500 drifted down 0.69 points (-0.06%) to settle at 1,199.38. Oil closed down at $87.26; gold rose $16 to 1,666: The VIX ended at 32.
    The big news tonight is the S&P downgrade of U. S. sovereign debt: S&P yanks coveted rating for first time: "The U.S. government's AAA sovereign credit rating is stripped by S&P in an unprecedented action that could send shock waves through the global financial system." I haven't quoted Paul Krugman for a while because he missed the market up-legs and he spoke of Depression 2.0 before its time. But long-term, his forecasts and interpretations seem to me to be spot-on.  Dr. Krugman pointed out in January, 2009, that President Obama's  stimulus package was ½ to ⅓rd as large as it needed to be to jump-start the economy, and that President Obama would lose the political window of opportunity he had at the beginning of his term if he didn't shoot for what he needed from the outset. Furthermore, when the stimulus package didn't work, the Republicans would argue that Keynesian economics doesn't work in the first place, and that the stimulus had been a failure. And although the $700 billion TARP program was the Republicans' opening shot at the crisis, most people would forget that it was  the Republicans who had run up the deficit during both the Reagan-Bush and Bush II administrations. (The budget had been balanced during the Clinton administration, though in deference to the truth, this may have had more to do with a booming economy than it did with fiscal prudence.)
    But the bottom line is that the ratings agencies are pushing for fiscal restraint and deficit cutting. If we slide into another recession, there will be no fiscal stimulus programs to pull us out. Furthermore, most of the deficit spending that the Obama administration inherited has stemmed from safety net spending in areas such as unemployment compensation and bailing our state and local governments. It could be that as a society, we've learned nothing from the Depression of the 1930's, and we may be doomed to repeat it.


2011-8-4: (Thursday Night):  The market indices have crashed, with the Dow down more than 500 points: Dow, S&P, Nasdaq suffer worst point drops since 2008, Stocks pricing in recession, Market Dives To Worst Loss Since Dec. 2008 .  The NASDAQ Composite collapsed 136.68 points (5.08% ) to end at  2,556.39. The Dow deflated 512.76 points (4.31%) to close at 11,383.68; the S&P 500 slumped 60.27 points (-4.78%) to settle at 1,207.07. Oil closed down at $86.29; gold fell $20 to 1,650: The VIX exploded 8.28 (!) to 31.66!
    Two market mavens argue that now is the time to begin buying, when fear running wild: Why now is the time to buy, and Cody Willard: Why I'm buying. But Mark Hulbert warns that markets don't bottom in a spate of panic selling when gurus are  proclaiming a market bottom: Hulbert: It's not a bottom, and Panic in the air. Rather, they sneak up on the experts, and are generally only recognized in hindsight.   
    In Two ways to protect against the market swoon, low-cost, out-of-the-money puts against the S&P 500 ETF SPY are recommended as insurance against further losses.
    Money moves from Gary Shilling: "To economist Shilling, another U.S. recession within 12 months is a matter of when, not if. It may be here already."
    Market futures are neutral tonight.  

2011-8-4: (Thursday Noon):  The exceedingly oversold markets have tanked again today on yet more bad news: Weekly Jobless Claims Fall; Still At 400K, JPMorgan Cuts Growth Estimate for U.S, Spanish Bond Auction Sees Rates Spike Higher, Spain Cancels Remaining Bond Auctions in August, and Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Falls Again. The State of the Markets technical analysis suggests that the U. S. markets are becoming extremely oversold and may be ripe for a fast-and-furious bounce: Quick Commentary: Time To Abandon All Hope?. The author of this article suggests that it's time for a  gradual accumulation of oversold stocks, and opines that we aren't entering a new long-term bear market because the signs of a bull market peak haven't been in evidence since 2007.
    Right now, cash is still king, with a little bottom-fishing possibly indicated.


2011-8-3: (Wednesday Night):  The deeply oversold markets turned up today: Worst streak for stocks since credit crisis, Market Wrap: Losing Streak Comes to an End. The NASDAQ Composite moved up 23.83 points (0.89% ) to end at  2,693.07. The Dow added 29.82 points (0.25%) to close at 11,896.44 the S&P 500 climbed 6.29 points (0.5%) to settle at 1,260.34. Oil closed down at $92.17; gold jumped to 1,670: The VIX declined 1.41 to 23.38.  
    That this was a technical bounce seems to me to be assured by today's bad news: Challenger: Planned Layoffs Surge In July, Factory Orders in U.S. Fell in June, Bad news: Indicators weak, and ISM Non-Manufacturing Index Disappoints. On the plus side (slightly): China's Services PMI Up; First Rise in Three Months, ADP Employment Report Shows Private Sector Jobs Rose in July, and Stimulate This! (Part II - Why It Could Happen)
    The Tell: Did market just put in a bottom? and Awaiting a buy signal from VIX concern where the markets could go from here. The first of these articles warns: "So, played properly, Wednesday’s action is a buying opportunity, as long as you take the trouble to protect yourself from getting your head cut off because this is an economic backdrop that really and truly stinks.
    Beyond that: The bull's back is broken, says James Brumley and  Mark Hulbert: Market’s major trend now down. Given the consensus that doom lies ahead, I'd expect the market indices to rise until the bears doubt that this is a bear market. Then the markets will fall out from under the bears who have bought back into them.
    Market futures are up modestly tonight.


2011-8-2: (Tuesday Night):  The markets crashed today: Worst streak for stocks since credit crisis, Market Wrap: Outlook Turning Dour. The NASDAQ Composite swan-dived 75.37 points (-2.75 ) to end at  2,669.24. The Dow declined another 265.87 points (-2.19%) to close at 11,866.62 the S&P 500 dropped 32.89 points (-2.56%) to settle at 1,254.05. Oil closed down at $92.25; gold jumped to 1,660: Gold hits new record. The VIX advanced 1.13 to 24.79.  
    State of the Markets (TopStock Portfolios) had this opening analysis by David Moenning: Shifting The Focus (Again)?, followed by Technical Talk: Technical Levels in Jeopardy But a Bounce is Due
    S&P 500 now down for the year and S&P is at a critical point: Ashbaugh. Mark Hulbert observes that Ned Davis has just issued a likely "sell" signal: Ned David spots likely sell signal. Also from Mark: Hulbert has contrarian take on the debt deal. In other news, S&P 500 in tight spot, El-Erian; U.S. outlook darkens (video), and Weighing on the Dow.  
    In one piece of good news, both Fitch and Moody's have retreated from downgrading U. S. sovereign debt.
    China cuts U.S. debt rating.
    The indices have plunged below their 200-day moving averages. Short-term, they're very oversold, so a short-term bounce is likely before the week is out. Long-term, it looks like a head-and-shoulders pattern. Right now, the S&P 500 has both hit and closed at a new low for the year
    Market futures are neutral tonight.


2011-8-1: (Monday Night):  The markets fell today for the seventh day in a row: Stocks play swing time, House Passes Debt-Ceiling Bill; Senate Vote on Tap, and Market Wrap: Disappointing Response. The NASDAQ Composite shrank 11.77 points (-0.43 ) to end at  2,744.61. The Dow declined another 10.75 points (-0.09%) to close at 12,132.49 the S&P 500dropped 5.34 points (-0.41%) to settle at 1,286.94. Oil closed down at $95.11; gold settled at 1,623. The VIX remained unchanged at  23.66.  
    TopStock Portfolios had this opening analysis by David Moenning: Now The Fun Begins, followed byTechnical Talk: The Bears Are Making a Statement, After Friday's GDP disappointments, ISM Manufacturing Report Well Below Expectatons, hitting its lowest level in two years. Also, there was Construction Spending Remained Weak in June.
    Marketwatch's Kevin Marder says: Large investors getting nervous.
    Irwin Kellner observes that we are Trading one uncertainty for another. By instituting spending cuts as we slide back into reession, we are making the same mistake Herbert Hoover made in 1930, and Roosevelt made in 1937.
    TopStock Portfolios (now "State of the Markets") is downbeat today. I've sold my ETFs and am now sitting in cash.
    Market futures are down a bit tonight.


2011-7-29: (Friday Night):  The markets plunged again today:.Worst Dow week in a year, Senate rejects House plan. The NASDAQ Composite fell 9.87 points (-0.36 ) to end the day at  2,756.38. The Dow dropped another 96.87 points (-0.79%) to close at 12,123.24; the S&P 500 gave way 8.39 points (-0.32%) to settle at 1,292.28. Oil closed down at $95.86; gold climbed to 1,629: Gold settles at record as GDP disappoints. The VIX climbed to 25.25.  
   
Stock fortunes hinge on debt, and then jobs..
    TopStock Portfolios had this opening analysis by David Moenning: Where Is The Leadership?, followed byTechnical Talk: Computers Don't Care About Trendlines, 4-D Debate Update: House Passes Boehner's Bill; Senate Rejects Plan
, University of Michigan Sentiment Also Down in July, Chicago PMI Report Also Below Expectations, GDP in U.S. Continues Weak in 2nd Quarter, A Closer Look At GDP (And the Headlines), and Underground Trader: A Quick Look At the Futures.           
    Meanwhile, there's Banks seek guidance on bonds in default scenario. Mark Hulbert reports that Insiders selling at unusually fast pace.
    The economy's growth rate was adjusted downward sharply today, suggesting an impending recession. 


2011-7-28: (Thursday Night):  More of the same: Dow sinks for fifth session, Market Wrap- Same Song, Different Day. The NASDAQ Composite 1.46 points (0.05% ) to end the day at  2,766.25. The Dow subtracted 62.44 points (-0.51%) to close at 12,240.11; the S&P 500 gave way 4.22 points (-0.32%) to settle at 1,300.67. Oil closed down slightly at $97.19; gold climbed to 1,617. The VIX climbed 0.76 to 23.74.  
   
The key issue remains the deadlock in Washington: No Seriously, August 2nd is the Deadline..
    TopStock Portfolios had this opening analysis by David Moenning: As Expected?, followed by Technical Talk: Time to Do Less And Wait, An Update On the 4-D Debate in D.C
., Underground Trader: We Are All Thinking The Same Thing, Pending Home Sales Up Nicely In June, Debate Update- Stopgap Measure Being Considered, Credit Suisse Handicaps the Scenarios, House Postpones Vote on Boehner Plan, El Erian: Debt Debacle Intensifies Economic Headwinds, and House Calls Off Vote on Boehner Plan; Futures Drop.           
    Meanwhile, there'sWhiff of GDP stagflation, 5 tips for surviving a murderous market, Weak Treasury auction sparks debt worries, 5 tips for surviving a murderous market, and Weak Treasury auction sparks debt worries
    Market futures are down another 0.8% tonight.


2011-7-27: (Wednesday Night):  The indices tanked today, in the face of more bad news,  combined with a "laughingstock-of-Europe" performance in Washington: Dow CEO: U.S. Becoming a Laughingstock in Europe, and  Market Wrap: Down We Go. The NASDAQ Composite fell today 75.17 points (2.65% ) to end the day at  2,764.79. The Dow subtracted 198.75 points (-1.59%) to close at 12,302.55; the S&P 500 gave way 27.05 points (-2.03%) to settle at 1,304.89. Oil closed down slightly at $99.15; gold climbed to 1,625. The VIX climbed 2.75 to 22.98.  
   
The key issue remains the deadlock in Washington: The Plot Thickens As Boehner Struggles With Own Party and Boehner pulls Republican debt bill after CBO rating.
    TopStock Portfolios had this opening analysis by David Moenning:Avoiding the Dark Side (For Now?), followed by Technical Talk: Stuck In the Middle, Durable Goods Orders Fall In June; Below Expectations, Economists Expect Downgrade Says Reuters Poll,
 Burnett: Boehner Plan Doesn't Prevent Downgrade; Reid's Does, NAAIM Survey Shows Active Managers Staying Bullish, Quick Comment: Looks Like We're Getting Closer, How Much Would a Debt Downgrade Cost? Fed's Beige Book Indicates Pace of Economic Growth Moderating and CBO: The Political Math Doesn't Add Up
    Meanwhile, there's Debt doldrums amidst a massive top, Growth slows as labor markets ‘soft’- Beige Book, Markets gird for U.S. credit downgrade, andHold on, August is a rocky month extols the perils of August.
    Getting the message that the stock market appears doomed? Is this the kind of set-up for an unexpected rally?
    Market futures are up slightly tonight just as they were last night.


2011-7-26: (Tuesday Night):  The indices closed lower again tonight, as the default deadline moves still closer: Debt gridlock slams stocks; Market Wrap: Playing the Waiting Game. The NASDAQ Composite fell today 2.84 points (0.1% ) to end the day at  2,839.96. The Dow subtracted 91.5 points (-0.73%) to close at 12,501.30; the S&P 500 gave way 5.49 points (-0.41%) to settle at 1,331.94 Oil closed down slightly at $99.15; gold climbed to 1,625. The VIX climbed 0.88 to 20.23.  
   
The key issue remains the deadlock in Washington: The Plot Thickens As Boehner Struggles With Own Party and Boehner pulls Republican debt bill after CBO rating.
    TopStock Portfolios had this opening analysis by David Moenning: If You Liked Monday, followed by Technical Talk: Can You Say Neutral?, Economic Update: Richmond Fed Index, Consumer Confidence Rises Unexpectedly in July, and Case-Shiller Home Price Index Rises in May. Normally, this good news would be prompting a market boost, but given the 
    Meanwhile, Michael Ashbaugh has published his weekly fortune cookie: Ashbaugh marks off bulls-bears battleground.        
    Market futures are up slightly tonight.
    And this just in: A head and shoulders top may be forming.


2011-7-25: (Monday Night):  The indices closed lower tonight, as the default deadline moves ever closer: Market Wrap- Stocks Slide As Debate Heats Up, Debt fears rattle Street. The NASDAQ Composite fell today 16.03 points (00.56% ) to end the day at  2,842.88. The Dow subtracted 88.36 points (-0.7%) to close at 12,592.80; the S&P 500 dropped 7.53 points (-0.56%) to settle at 1,337.43 Oil closed down slightly at $99.49; gold climbed to 1,617. The VIX was unchanged at 19.35.  
   
The key issue remains the deadlock in Washington: Two New Deficit Plans Presented With Clock Winding Down.
    TopStock Portfolios had this opening analysis by David Moenning: No Deal, Seriously?, followed byTechnical Talk: Bulls Get Benefit of Doubt So Far, and Chicago Fed National Business Activity Index Subpar.  
    Mark Hulbert writes Stocks as safe haven in event of default.
    Irwin Kellner's article, The Fed should twist again, argues for a more stimulative federal olicy if we're to avoid the mistakes of 1937.
    Here's a tongue-in-cheek article by Paul Farrell: Pity the Super Rich, miserable lost souls.        


2011-7-22: (Friday Night):  The indices closed mixed tonight, with the Dow down and the other two indices up: Dow weighs on Wall Street. The NASDAQ Composite rose today 24.4 points (0.86% ) to end the day at  2,858.83. The Dow rocketed 43.25 points (-0.34%) to close at 12,681.16; the S&P 500 adjusted upward 1.22 points (0.09%) to settle at 1,345.02 Oil closed up at $99.81; gold climbed to 1,600. The VIX was unchanged at 17.73.  
    TopStock Portfolios had this opening analysis by David Moenning: Deal Or No Deal?, followed by Technical Talk: Waiting On Washington. Then there's Is It Time To Start De-Risking Again?
    In the meantime, Fitch Comments On New Euro-zone Bailout Plan, Eurozone Industrial Orders Climb in May , Standard & Poor's Issues Reminder About Risk of Downgrade, and What Does "Selective Default" Really Mean?  
    What slowed today's action was the fact that Senate rejects House plan and Debt talks collapse.
    And that's about it for the week. The key issue right now is the deadlock in Washington.


2011-7-21: (Thursday Night):  The indices powered higher again today. The NASDAQ Composite rose today 23.03 points (0.82% ) (as much as it fell yesterday) to end the day at  2,837.26. The Dow rocketed 148.57 points (1.18%) to close at 12,720.48; the S&P 500 adjusted upward 17.68 points (1.33%) to settle at 1,343.52. Oil closed up a little at $99.42; gold shifted slightly to 1,590. The VIX fell a tidy 1.36 points to 17.73.  
    TopStock Portfolios had this opening analysis by David Moenning: Time To Make An Adjustment?, followed by Technical Talk: Not Out of the Woods Yet, and Market Wrap: Sentiment Improving. Among the good news today was U.S. Leading Economic Index (LEI) Up +0.3% in June, Philly Fed Index Rebounds In July, and Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index Gains Ground. Oh, and then there's this Sneak Peek of Euro-zone Bailout Plan Draft.
    Across tha poond, there's Greece gets another break as 30 global firms sign up for Greek bond swap. Meanwhile, IMF: Fix Europe crisis or risk global spillover
    One investment advisor argues that The S&P 500 is headed for a breakout.
    Mark Hulbert points out the Transports’ weakness as a leading indicator. The Dow Transports, which suggested a continuing bull market two weeks ago, have now fallen back without having been confirmed by the Dow Industrials, typically calling for a slowdown in the economy toward the end of the year.
    Market futures are slightly positive tonight.


2011-7-20: (Wednesday Night): After yesterday's big run-up, the markets marked time: U.S. stocks end slightly lower; Dow down 16 points today. The NASDAQ Composite fell 23.11 points (-0.8% ) to 2,789.80. The Dow slipped 14.57 points (-0.11) to close at 12,571.91; the S&P 500 gave up 14.57 points (0.2%) to settle at 1,325.84. Oil closed up a little at $99.20; gold inched down to 1,588. The VIX was basically unchanged at 19.09.  
    Jeff Reeves has written: Why we’ll have 10% unemployment soon.
    TopStock Portfolios' articles for the day include: Weekly Jobless Claims Up 10K Last Week.


2011-7-15: (Friday Night): Nobody did anything threatening today so the markets rose: Sour week ends on up note, Between Hope and Fear, Technical Talk: Bears' Game to Lose. The NASDAQ Composite annexed 27.13 points (0.98%) to 2,789.80. The Dow rose 42.61 points (0.34%) to close at 12,479.73; the S&P 500 gained 7.27 points (0.56%) to settle at 1,316.14. Oil closed up a little at $97.49 gold set another record, Gold's record-setting week, closing at 1,595. The VIX sidled up another 0.89 to close at 20.801.  
    The news was mainly downbeat: Eight European Banks Fail EU-Wide Stress Tests, University of Michigan Confidence Report A Shocker (And Not in a Good Way), Empire Manufacturing Disappoints Again in July, Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization Light in June, and Italy's Lower House Approves Austerity Package
    In an interesting article, Jim Rogers- The Game Is Simple Right Now - Buy Commodities.
    "Jim Rogers says the investing game is simple these days. Rogers said this week, “I do believe I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve been presented with an investment opportunity that guarantees success no matter what direction the economy takes.” Rogers adds, “If the world economy gets better, I earn my money on commodities. If the global economy gets worse, then they will print more money and I will make money in commodities.” Although we have featured comments by Rogers many times on the site, Jim Rogers, who ran money with Mr. George Soros way back ... Read More »"
    Howard Gold suggests Lightening up on stocks for good. "Howard Gold is convinced stocks are more risky than conventional wisdom makes them out to be and says it's time to permanently reduce allocations."
    Mark Hulbert points to the "Beginning of the end of the entire (real estate) crisis-"


2011-7-14: (Thursday Night): The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away: Stock rebound disappoints. After Fed Chairman Bernanke allegedly hinted at QE3 should it become necessary, today he took it all back: Bernanke pulls rally's plug. The NASDAQ Composite declined 34.25 points (-1.22%) to 2,762.67. The Dow drifted down 54.49 points (-0.44%) to close at 12,437.12; the S&P 500 lost 8.85 points (-0.67%) to settle at 1,308.87. Oil slipped to $96.15: Brimelow: Golden opportunity in chaos, closing at 1,584. The VIX sidled up another 0.89 to close at 20.801.  
    After Moody's warned of a U. S credit downgrade yesterday, S&P steps up U.S. warning; S&P: 50% chance of U.S. downgrade. Dollar skids after S&P warns on U.S. debt
    The day started on an upbeat note, with June retail sales edge up 0.1%, Jobless claims fall, and Falling PPI, imports hint at first CPI fall in a year. But then Fed Chairman Bernanke spoke.
    Stock market futures are up slightly tonight.


2011-7-13: (Wednesday Night): After climbing vigorously on Fed Chairman Bernanke's hints at QE3: Fed weighing further easing, Bernanke says, stocks fell back on news that Moody's warns Uncle Sam to close modestly higher: Market Wrap: Another Poor Finish. The NASDAQ Composite advanced 15.01 points (0.54%) to 2,796.92. The Dow climbed 44.73 points (0.36%) to close at 12,491.61; the S&P 500 gained 4.08 points (0.31%) to settle at 1,317.72. Oil rose to $97.57: Gold rises to record on debt-crisis fears closing at 1,583. The VIX sidled up another 0.04 to close at 19.91.  
    There are some worrisome themes bedeviling the stock market: the game of chicken between the Democrats and the Republicans over lifting the debt ceiling, the never-ending degringoladé in European sovereign debt: Fitch Downgrades Greece, and the slowing global economy, to mention three of them.  
    Analysts see uptick for chips in second half 
    Paul Farrell has an insightful piece in War is hell, politics is hell, I’m mad as hell (or at least that's what I think). What's significant for me is the notion that the "military-industrial complex" President Eisenhower warned against is whirring away quietly, bleeding the economy for the benefit of the owners of the military-industrial complex.
    Apparently Investors Intelligence Shows Sentiment Improving
    Here's a reassuring assessment from David Moenning: Our Summer of Discontent II. And here's a discussion of what's going on among the hedge funds: High-Frequency Trading Still Gumming Up The Works (On Purpose).
    Market futures are down somewhat tonight. 


2011-7-12: (Tuesday Night): The market fell yet another day:.Stocks tank after Ireland downgrade to junk, Market Wrap: A Poor Finish. The NASDAQ Composite slipped 20.71 points (-0.74%) to 2,781.91. The Dow dipped 58.88 points (-0.47%) to close at 12,446.88; the S&P 500 dropped 5.85 points (-0.44%) to settle at 1,313.64. Oil rose to $96.88: Gold rises to record on debt-crisis fears closing at 1,567. The VIX upticked another 1.48 to close at 19.87.  
    Michael Ashbaugh says, S&P faces big technical test.      
    Investment doomsday lurks- Robert Powell  Mr. Powell is discussing what will happen if the U. S. defaults n its debts by failing to raise the debt ceiling.
    Mark Hulbert describes Maybe the best market-timing system ever.    
    Marketwatch's Forecaster of the Month, Stu Hoffman, says Economy will stabilize later this year.  
    Fate of Italian bond market crucial to Euro's future  
    On a positive note: EU Finance Ministers Vow To Backstop Struggling Banks and Fed Debates Exit Strategy AND More QE.  
    This morning's assessment from TopStock Portfolios  is here, entitled Fed Debates Exit Strategy AND More QE.
    Market futures are up tonight.  


2011-7-11: (Monday Night): The market tumbled again today: Europe fears sink Street, Market Wrap: Stocks Tumble on Eurozone Fears, Is Italy the Next Big Problem for Markets? and EU Said To Be Considering "Partial Default" on Greek Debt. The NASDAQ Composite careened 57.19 points (-2.0%) to 2,802.62. The Dow plummeted 151.44 points (-1.2%) to close at 12,505.76; the S&P 500 slid 24.31 points (-1.81%) to settle at 1,319.43. Oil fell to $94.98: Oil drops to lowest in five sessions; Gold rose to $1,553: Gold gains modestly on European debt fears. Interestingly, the VIX upticked 2.44 to close at 18.39.
    In the meantime, talks between Democrats and Republicans concerning the impending U. S. debt ceiling have broken down: Market 'not worried yet' over debt limit, Aug. 2 deadline will be missed
     Cody Willard has written: Intel is headed to the moon.
    Peter Brimelow says that Key letters sticking with stocks.  
    You Have To Ask Yourself.  
    Buffett: We'll Come Back Big Time  
    Stock market futures are down sharply tonight.
    TopStock Portfolios considers this stock market soft patch to be a good buying opportunity.


2011-7-8: (Friday Night): The market fell today and no wonder: Job fears spook Wall Street and Just 18,000 jobs created; jobless rate up. The NASDAQ Composite dropped 12.85 points (-0.45%) to 2,859.81. The Dow slipped 62.39 points (-0.49%) to close at 12,657.20; the S&P 500 slid 9.42 points (-0.7%) to settle at 1,343.80. Oil fell to $96.96; Gold rose to $1,545. Interestingly, the VIX was unchanged at 15.95.
    Last night, I wrote, "Jobs expected to show bounce  Economists are expecting nonfarm payrolls to have expanded by 125,000 jobs. If the jobs number falls below that bogey, the stock market will probably fall with it." Well, guess what? The unemployment rate after bottoming last year at 9% ticked up from 9.1% to 9.2%: Swonk: Jobs report ugly from every angle - audio. This debacle has inspired talk of QE3: ‘QE3’ by fall, expert says, and Hope, prayer, magic and 'QE3'. Responses to this morning's report include: Call for action on unemployment rate, and Obama urges stronger job-growth measures. But then there's Look for new S&P high by year-end. Go figure.
    It's Friday night and news is sparse.


2011-7-7: (Thursday Night): The market surged today: Stocks up near 2011 highs. The NASDAQ Composite was up 38.64 points (1.36%) to 2,872.66. The Dow uptilted 93.47 points (0.74%) to close at 12,719.49; the S&P 500 increased 14 points (1.05%) to settle at 1,343.22. Oil ticked up to $98.78; Gold leaped to $1,533. Interestingly, the VIX fell 0.39 to 15.95.
    What will replace dollar around globe? The author suggests either the renminbi or a commodity-based currency unit based upon the prices of gold, oil, iron, and rice could replace the dollar. But one way or another, the dollar probably isn't going to remain the world's reserve currency. 
    China bull defensive but not despairing Paul Goodwin's China and Emerging Markets newsletter has entered a soft patch. China is experiencing more than routine economic difficulties.
    How to predict the market’s next moves  Gives basics for using moving averages to assess the market's performance. Has a link to Laszlo Birinyi's market plans.
    Stocks stubbornly cling to gains The market keeps climbing, but so far, volume has been "lethargic". 
    How now Dow Theory? It's make or break time for the Dow. The Dow must close above 12,810.54 within the next few days to confirm a bull market. 
    Jobs expected to show bounce  Economists are expecting nonfarm payrolls to have expanded by 125,000 jobs. If the jobs number falls below that bogey, the stock market will probably fall with it.
     A 3-D investor horror show  "Debts, deficits, and demographics could blow investors away, Robert Powell says.
     Stock market futures are neutral tonight.


2011-7-6: (Wednesday Night): The market closed somewhat higher today: Market Wrap: Quiet Day, Decent Action. The NASDAQ Composite was up 8.25 points (0.29%) to 2,834.02. The Dow gained a respectable 56.15 points (0.45%) to close at 12,626.02; the S&P 500 increased 1.34 points (0.1%) to settle at 1,339.22. Oil ticked up to $97.33; Gold leaped to $1,530. Interestingly, the VIX rose another 0.28 to 16.34.
    Mark Hulbert tells How to beat the market without even trying by using dollar-cost averaging.
    Brett Arends has written a Paul-Farrell-class article, Brett Arends: Get set for next financial crisis, documenting the fact that Wall Street has contrived to regenerate the set-up for the 2007-2008 meltdown, only worse. For example, "6. The derivatives time bomb is bigger than ever — and ticking away. Just before Lehman collapsed, at what we now call the height of the last bubble, Wall Street firms were carrying risky financial derivatives on their books with a value of an astonishing $183 trillion. That was 13 times the size of the U.S. economy. If it sounds insane, it was. Since then we’ve had four years of panic, alleged reform and a return to financial sobriety. So what’s the figure now? Try $248 trillion. No kidding. Ah, good times."
    The only question is: when will this be triggered?
    Market futures are up tonight.


2011-7-5: (Tuesday Night): The market closed basically flat today, with the NASDAQ up a small fraction of a percent and the Dow and S&P down a small fraction of a percent: U.S. stocks retreat after best week in two years when Moody's cuts Portugal debt rating to junk grade, and S&P Warns That Greece Plan May Still Trigger Default. The NASDAQ Composite closed up 9.74 points (0.35%) at day's end to 2,825.77. The Dow fell 12.9 points (0.9%) to close at 12,569; the S&P 500 lost 1.79 points (-0.13%) to end at 1,337.88. Oil advanced to $96.96 Gold jumps more than $30, Gold is best debt-crisis defense — just not yet; Gold leaped to $1,416: Gold jumps more than $30. The VIX rose 0.19 to 16.06.
    How to use paired trades to profit in July. I didn't really follow this author's stategy. It's wonderful that his strategy returned 24% during the month of June, but what kind of return will it yield in the future? I've decided to stick with TopStock ortfolios' timing system.
    Michael Ashbaugh's weekly column notes that U.S. markets sustain the third-quarter breakout.
    Vast rare-earths discovery in the news  Troves of rare-earth ores lie on the ocean floor, and are in the spotlight.
    In this excellent explanatory article, Dr. Irwin Kellner illucidates that For the economy, it’s a tug of war. I've excerpted the following passages from his article: 
    "Because the economy has been growing at only a glacial pace, more stimulus would seem to be called for. However, since the political situation in Washington is so contentious, fiscal policy as a means of stimulating consumer spending has been rendered virtually useless. 
    "Enter the Federal Reserve. Fed chair Ben Bernanke recognized early on that monetary policy was the only game in town when it came to boosting aggregate economic activity. The Fed flooded the financial system with money, pushing interest rates down to near zero. This sent money into stocks, bonds and commodities, boosting the wealth of people who owned them, who tend to be affluent. 
    "On the other hand, this increase in liquidity has led to a sharp run-up in prices of two key staples in the average American’s market basket: food and energy. And while the Fed and many others like to look at prices excluding these items (so-called “core” prices), the fact remains that for people in the middle- and lower-income classes, higher food and energy prices have hurt their buying power immensely. 
   " So while the wealth effect has risen, the income effect has fallen. And because the affluent are relatively few in number and do not spend all they earn, the rise in their well-being is more than offset by the decline in the income effect felt by the vast majority of Americans on whom the economy relies. 
    "Thus, unless policy makers stop bickering and enact some fiscal stimulus soon, you may expect that economic growth will be weak and that unemployment will remain high well into 2012.
"
    TopStock Portfolios' David Moenning writes: The Next Question.  
    Market futures are neutral again tonight.


2011-7-4: (Monday Night): Market futures are basically neutral tonight.
    TopStock Portfolios predicts a dip sometime this week, and suggests that Research Shows It's Time To Buy the Dip.


2011-7-1: (Friday Night): The markets have gone wild again today, for a fifth "up" day in a row: Week capped by fireworks, ISM manufacturing gauge's rise is a surprise. The NASDAQ Composite was up 42.51 points (1.53%) at day's end to 2,816.03. The Dow jumped 168.43 points (1.36%) to close at 12,582.77; the S&P 500 gained 19.03 points (1.44%%) to end at 1,339.67. Oil climbed back up to $94.75 Oil snaps three-day rise, settles 0.5% lower; Gold rose a little to $1,487: Gold falls to six-week low. The VIX was unchanged at 15.87.
    TopStock Portfolios expects the markets to sell off after they reopen on Tuesday: Technical Talk: Running With The Bulls: "That being said, stocks can be expected to hiccup at least a little bit early next week, as we have gained over 5% in just 6 trading days." This may afford another chance to "buy in".
    The next resistance zone comes at the 1,345-1,350 level.
    U.S. to exhaust borrowing power Aug. 2
    There's really a lot of bad news waiting in the wings for investor attention.  


2011-6-30: (Thursday Night): The markets have now soared for a fourth day in a row: Market Wrap: Another Strong Showing, . The NASDAQ Composite was up 33.03 points (0.41%) at day's end to 2,740.49. The Dow jumped 152.92 points (1,25%) to close at 12,414.34; the S&P 500 gained 13.23 points (1.01%%) to end at 1,320.64. Oil climbed back up to $95.10; Gold rose a little to $1,511: Some gold bugs think storm has passed. The VIX fell 0.75 to 16.52.
    Technical Talk: Bulls Charging 
    Possible market bottom 
       
    How QE2 shook markets  
    "While initially benefiting Treasurys themselves, the program has done more for commodities and stocks since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in late August suggested the Fed could roll out a new bond-buying program.
Since then, gold futures have jumped 22% and the Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB index of global commodities has gained 28%. As for U.S. stocks, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is up 26%. The dollar index, which measures the performance of the U.S. unit against a basket of six currencies, has lost more than 10%; more money in the system is considered a way to devalue the currency."
    What the end of QE2 means for Wall Street (video)        
    "Recent gains could be a blip in the downtrend that started in April, writes Jon Markman. Here's his advice: "Apply caution in late July  The key idea is that the fiscal stimulus program failed to lift the economy enough to lower the unemployment rate, and to generate higher consumer spending.... in other words, to kick-start the economy and to generate the higher tax revenues that would pay for the money spent to stimulate the economy. "Analysts at the start of 2011 expected U.S. GDP growth to clock in at around 4% this year. And yet as manufacturing has stalled amid stubborn unemployment and a plunge in consumer confidence, economists have had to ratchet down estimates to 2% or lower. Two percent, you need to know, is stall speed for an economy as large as ours. It’s not enough to grow jobs at any kind of reasonable pace to make up for the ones lost since the last recession. So that $750 billion borrowed and allocated for stimulus by Congress in the president’s first year, and the $600 billion borrowed and allocated for bond buying by the Federal Reserve, have literally bought us nothing. There has been no payoff. None. Zilch. Nada. That’s why we’ve now got to cut into the kids’ milk money to pay the bills. 
    "Lakshman Achuthan, head of the Economic Cycle Research Institute — the one forecasting organization that I trust — says the hidden reason for all this is that the global industrial machine has entered a profound and pervasive cyclical slowdown that cannot, at this point, be blunted. Concurrently, he says, employment growth has peaked for this cycle, and will never improve beyond the pace seen in February to April this year. “That was as good as it’s going to get,” he told me in an interview this week. This is a huge problem because the only way that debts can be paid off — in Greece or the United States — is if borrowed money is used to create valuable assets that spin off cash. Without growth that creates jobs (and in turn generate taxes that can pay off the debt), you have one big smokin’ hole in the middle of your country.

   
Market futures are slightly lower tonight.  


2011-6-29: (Wednesday Night): The markets soared for a third day in a row: S&P advances above 1,300, . The NASDAQ Composite was up 11.18 points (0.41%) at day's end to 2,740.49. The Dow jumped 72.73 points (0.6%) to close at 12,261.42; the S&P 500 gained 10.74 points (0.83%) to end at 1,307.41. Oil climbed back up to $95.10; Gold rose a little to $1,511: Some gold bugs think storm has passed. The VIX fell 1.9 to 17.27.
    Brett Arends writes about the Story behind the market's ‘boom’... namely, that during the booming first quarter of 2011, corporations were using their excess cash to buy up corporate stock, but corporate insiders weren't buying. ""
“'While insiders are willing to use corporate cash to try to support the value of their stock-based compensation, they don’t seem to think their stocks are attractively priced,' Biderman said. Where did the companies find the money to buy back their stock? In some cases the money came from profits. That’s a good thing. But in other cases they just borrowed the funds. According to the latest data from the Federal Reserve, corporate debt surged again last quarter — to the highest levels on record... When a company borrows money to bolster its own stock price, it makes me wary of the bonds. When the executives aren’t even willing to invest their own money, it doesn’t exactly make me enthusiastic about the stock either."
    Stocks are up slightly tonight.


2011-6-28: (Tuesday Night): The markets soared again today: Rally rolls on in second day, Stocks soar on housing data, and Market Wrap: Stocks Gain; Greece to Vote. The NASDAQ Composite was up 41.03 points (1.53%) at the end of the day to 2,729.31. The Dow jumped 149.13 points (1.21%) to close at 12,188.69; the S&P 500 gained 16.57 points (1.29%) to end at 1,296.67. Oil climbed back up to $93.06: Crude rallies 2.5%; Gold rose a little to $1,502: Contrarians still bullish on gold. The VIX fell 1.39 to 19.17.
    Michael Ashbaugh tells us that the markets could go up or down from here: Staking out the technical cross currents.
    Fido traders call S&P 1,400. This article has Fidelity investors calling for 1400 on the S&P 500 by year's end. (It's worth noting that the retired chief forecaster for Standard & Poor's has predicted an S&P at 1,450 by October 1.)
    Two good articles at the TopStock Portfolios website are: Technical Talk: Rally Ahead of the Vote, and Caveat Emptor - Who Can You Trust?.
    Market futures are down slightly tonight.


2011-6-27 (Monday Night): The markets rose today about as much as they fell on Friday: Dow retakes 12,000 level, Street optimistic on Greece. The NASDAQ Composite was up 33.86 points (1.33%) at the end of the day to 2,688.28. The Dow jumped 108.98 points (0.91%) to close at 12,043.56; the S&P 500 gained 11.65 points (0.92%) to end at 1,280.10. Oil slipped to $90.79: Oil slides to 4-month low; Gold declined to $1,498: Gold falls to 5-week low below $1,500. The VIX fell 0.54 to 20.56.
    Bad press is killing the recovery! 
    Peter Brimelow writes: Stocks suffering, but crash fears recede  
    Mark Hulbert notes that S&P 500 passes third moving average test, but is it a fake out? Dennis Slothower suggests that the refusal of the S&P 500 to drop below its 200-day moving average three times in a row is a classical technical bullish signal, and that it may encourage traders to jump aboard, only to take them down in July. On the other hand, he notes that the S&P 500 must close below its 200-day moving average in order to signal the start of a bear market.
    Market futures are up about 0.1% tonight.


2011-6-24 (Friday Night): The markets swooned again today and this time, they didn't recover: Durable-goods rebound, GDP revised upward, Stocks: No summer love. The NASDAQ Composite dropped 33.86 points (-1.26%) (about as much as it lost yesterday) to 2,652.89. The Dow tumbled 115.42 points (-0.96%) to close at 11,934.58; the S&P 500 lost 15.05 points (-1.17%) to end at 1,268.45. Oil slipped to $91.28: Regulators looking into oil reserve-release leak; Gold plunged again to $1,503: Gold's June bugs its bulls. The VIX rose 1.81 to 21.10.
    U.S. too big to fail, right? This title is self-explanatory.
    New recession begins next year: Shilling Notice the distinction between "Shiller" and "Shilling". Shilling is a permabear. 
    Shiller: Recession Is Substantial For U.S  
    Mark Hulbert notes that Betting on last six months’ momentum isn't a winning strategy  The markets are still up for the first half of the year, but there's no meaningful correlation between their first-half performance and their second-half performance.
    The good news today was: Durable-goods rebound, GDP revised upward


2011-6-23 (Thursday Night): The markets swooned today and then partially recovered: Stocks rebound on reports of new Greek austerity plan, 200-day moving average holds again. The NASDAQ Composite recovered 17.256 points (0.66%) (about as much as it lost yesterday) to 2,686.75. The Dow fell 59.67 points (-0.49%) to close at 12,050.80; the S&P 500 lost 3.64 points (-0.28%) to end at 1,283.50. Oil dove to $91.8: Oil sinks after IEA moves to release reserves; Gold plunged to $1,522. The VIX rose 0.77 to 19.29.
    Five moves one hawk is making: Well-respected investment advisor Robert Arnett suggests five moves that could be advisable if Washington decides to print its way out of debt. The first is to dump traditional asset allocation. The second is to buy inflation adjusted Treasury bonds ("TIPS"). The third is to stock up on commodities. The fourth is to embrace emerging markets. And the fifth is to reach for high-yield bonds.

    10 fees that can wreck your retirement savings  
    Individual investor sentiment improves  
    5 hard questions many bears just can’t answer  
    Peter Brimelow tells us that the Top letter is free, but frightening . The author hasn't posted for sic months, but his stock selections have done well. Last December, he recommended investing in gold and oil, and both have done well so far this year. He also expects a decades-long bear market which he forecast starting early this year. (He now says, "As usual, I was early.")
    I, by contrast, expect the current secular bear market to continue through this presidential cycle but to shift into a secular bull market in the latter half of the next presidential cycle.
    It's much too early to read much into market futures, but stock market futures are up ⅓ %  tonight.  


2011-6-22 (Wednesday Night): After four consecutive advances, the market averages fell today: Bernanke bums out bulls, Stocks end down after Fed comments on economy. The NASDAQ Composite retrenched 18.07 points (-0.67%) to 2,669.19. The Dow retreated 80.34 points (-0.66%) to close at 12,109.67; the S&P 500 slid 8.38 points (-0.65%) to end at 1,287.14. Oil inched up again to $94.16 (FTC probes oil, gasoline); Gold rose to $1,557. The VIX fell 0.34 to 18.52.
    Fed Chairman Bernanke is the heavy in today's market retreat: Bernanke offers sobering economic outlook, Street's worried but not Fed,, Bernanke: 'Years' before a return to full employment, and Asia slumps on Fed outlook.
    Mark Hulbert
suggests that the stock market is overvalued by historical standards: Stock-market history telling us two things
    Marketwatch's Matthew Lynn says, Forget economics, politics rules markets.
    Irwin Kellner writes: Jobs reach fork in the road.
    And Record corporate cash isn't necessarily bullish.
    Market futures are down about ¼ % tonight.


2011-6-21 (Tuesday Night): The markets soared today, marking the fourth day of gains in a row: Street awaits Greece vote. The NASDAQ Composite catapulted 57.6 points (2.19%) to 2,687.26. The Dow lifted 109.63 points (0.91%) to close at 12,190.01; the S&P 500 added 17.16 points (1.34%) to end at 1,278.36. Oil inched up again to $93.70 (FTC probes oil, gasoline); Gold rose to $1,548. The VIX fell 1.13 to 18.86.
    In Michael Ashbaugh's weekly column, he observes that S&P 500 rises to first major technical test. What he says is pure Ashbaugh.
    Mark Hulbert assesses recent sentiment changes, Have the bulls retreated enough? and concludes market sentiments are consistent with a bear market... not that a bear market has to ensue, but that conditions are more favorable than not for such an outcome.
    Faith and credit:
Colquhoun also said the U.S. will move to 'restricted default' if it fails to make its Aug. 15 coupon payments. While a U.S. default is likely to be cleared promptly, 'it’s highly unlikely after such a default that the (U.S.) rating would move back to triple-A.'”
    Stock futures are down slightly tonight.


2011-6-20 (Monday Night): The markets all rose today: Market Wrap: Three In a Row. The NASDAQ Composite gained 13.18 points (0.5%) to 2,629.65. The Dow lofted 76.02 points (0.63%) to close at 12,080.38; the S&P 500 added 6.86 points (0.54%) to end at 1,278.36. Oil inched up to $93.32 (FTC probes oil, gasoline); Gold rose to $1,541. The VIX fell 1.86 to 19.99.
   Jeffrey Hirsch of Stock Trader's Almanac says that the U. S. stock market is in its historically worst six-month period, and you shouldn't be taking chances: It's time for these 5 moves.
   Mark Hulbert quotes Dennis Slothower, who predicts that the S&P will stall below its 50-day moving avaerage, currently at 1,322, and that it will then turn down in a big way. Is that the death cross on the horizon?
   No plan B if Greece fails to pass austerity measures "To be sure, the entire crisis at the moment is over whether to have Greece default now or later, and formally or informally."  
   Bernanke's challenge will be to soothe markets: "It's not what the Fed does at the end of its meeting Wednesday but how the chairman says it."
   TopStock Portfolios' David Moenning writes: Now It Gets Interesting. "So, without any real news to drive the action, I'm of the mind that the market may show its true colors between now and Wednesday afternoon. For me, the question at hand is if the nearly two-month old correction and a -7% decline is enough to discount the negatives and the uncertainty. If so, then I'd expect to see the indices waffle sideways for a while awaiting a positive catalyst from either Mr. Bernanke or some news out of Europe. However, if the big funds have moved into a de-risking mode, we might see the indices work lower and take out the March lows."
    The major drop in the Volatility Index (VIX) suggests to me that the markets performed well today, supporting a short-term "run for the roses".
    Stock futures are up a bit tonight.  


2011-6-19 (Sunday Night): Market futures are neutral-to-slightly-lower tonight. Here are a few articles that might be helpful in interpreting this coming week:
    Investors search for signs U.S. will avert a double dip 
    Rough patch here to stay?  
    S&P 500 dodges a bullet…barely  
    U.S. stocks struggling to hold gains  
    Long recovery delay? 
    European Finance Ministers Postpone Decision on Greek Loans     


2011-6-17 (Friday Night): The markets ended mixed again, with the NASDAQ down, and the Dow and the S&P 500 up a bit: U.S. stocks post first weekly gain since April, Market Wrap: Good News But Weak Action. The NASDAQ Composite subtracted 7.22 points (-0.22%) to 2,616.70. The Dow advanced 42.84 points (0.36%) to close at 12,004.36; the S&P 500 gained 3.86 points (0.30%) to end at 1,271.50. Oil plummeted to $92.91; Gold eased down to $1,528. The VIX rose another 0.88 to 21.85.
    In the good news department, there's IMF looks past soft patch, and Mark Hulbert's observation that corporations and corporate insiders have recently started buying up their corporate shares instead of selling them: Repurchases running at near record levels. Mark argues that they wouldn't be re-investing in themselves if they thought that the economy were headed toward recession.
    On the other hand, Howard Gold says: Bells ring out the end of this bull market, and Peter Brimelow cites Harry Schultz foreseeing: Stock collapse and $12,000 gold? The Aden sisters are also warning of risks ahead, and are recommending that their clients be 30% in cash, 40% in  precious metals, and 30% in stocks.
    TopStock Portfolios' David Moenning sees the markets basing in preparation for a short-to-intermediate move to the upside: Is The Tide Turning?.  
    Moody's has just placed Italy on review for a downgrade.


2011-6-16 (Thursday Night): The markets ended mixed, with the NASDAQ down, and the Dow and the S&P 500 up a bit: Dow, S&P 500 snap back. The NASDAQ Composite subtracted 7.76 points (-0.29%) to 2,623.70. The Dow advanced 64.25 points (0.54%) to close at 11,961.52; the S&P 500 gained 2.22 points (0.18%) to end at 1,267.64. Oil eased up to $99.24; Gold eased down to $1,531. The VIX rose another 1.41 to 22.73.
    Here are 11 reasons stocks will storm back soon. Peter Brimelow counters with Stock collapse and $12,000 gold? ... the usual "Tower of Babble".
    TopStock Portfolios' contributions to today's analyses are: 
Market Wrap: More Good News Than Bad,
 
Economic Research Research InstituteI Founder Calling For Prolonged Slowdown in U.S
:
    "On the U.S. economic front, there’s good news and bad news: The good news is the U.S. is “not yet” entering a double-dip recession. The bad news- we are headed toward a sharp and prolonged economic downturn. …at least according to a Wall Street Journal interview with Lakshman Achuthan, co-founder of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, a well-respected economic forecasting firm that has a strong track record for identify turning points in the market."
and Will They Muck It Up?  
    "I've been working under the assumption that the powers-that-be in Europe (the EU, ECB, the IMF, and the heads of the various PIGI states) would find a way to eventually "handle" the situation in Greece. Note that I did not say "fix" the situation in Greece, or Portugal, or Spain, or Ireland. No, I have merely been expecting the guys and gals in charge to find a way to avoid a "credit event" that, if not dealt with correctly, could threaten the global banking system all over again. Given the amount of time that the leaders of the world have had to work on this issue, I've assumed that they would figure out some way to make everyone (meaning the Germans) happy enough to kick this ugly can down the road - at least far enough to give the world some breathing room. However, with riots in the streets of Greece and the politicians now getting involved, I am becoming more than a little concerned that the politicos might muck this thing up. And in short, THIS is what Wednesday's dance to the downside in the stock market was all about.
.....
"Looking ahead, once the powers-that-be DO actually ride in on their white horses and save the day, it is a safe bet that stocks will rally ferociously. And THEN traders can return their attention to the state of the U.S. economy. And on that note, if the data doesn't start improving, we might be in for a very long summer.
"
    Market futures are up slightly tonight.


2011-6-15 (Wednesday Night): The markets plunged: S&P off 7% from April high, 'smelling blood', Greece, data sink stocks, Why The Dive: (It's the Politicos in Europe). The NASDAQ Composite tumbled 47.27 points (-1.76%) to 2,631.46. The Dow retreated 178.84 points (-1.48%) to close at 12,897.27, while the S&P 500 parted with 22.45 points (-1.74%) to end at 1,265.42. Oil eased up to $99.24; Gold eased down to $1,531. The VIX jumped 3.02 to 21.32.
    The reasons aren't hard to find: Market Wrap: Contagion Fears Drive Stocks to New Correction Lows, and Back To Data Dependent. As if this weren't enough the Empire Manufacturing index was negative and far below expectations: Empire Manufacturing Index Dives in June. Then, too, NAHB Homebuilder Confidence Index Falls in June. The only good news, from a contrarian standpoint, is: Bullish Sentiment Takes a Dive After Six Weeks Decline.
    Another article, Beware Of Greeks Bearing Debts, spelling out the sequence of events that could follow Greece' default on its debts, gives chilling reasons for caution and temporizing.
    Stocks are slightly up tonight.


2011-6-14 (Tuesday Night): Today, the markets rebounded: Blue chips reclaim 12,000, Market Wrap- Bulls Get Their Bounce. The NASDAQ Composite jumped 39.03 points 1.48%) to 2,678.72. The Dow advanced 123.14 points (1.03%) to close at 12,076.11, while the S&P 50 hopped 16.04 points (1.26%) to end at 1,287.87. Oil eased up to $99.24; Gold eased down to $1,531. The VIX fell 1.35 to 18.26.
    Michael Ashbaugh's column today is entitled: S&P and Dow return to scene of the breakdown.
    Mark Hulbert has an interesting column tonight: Insiders turn back from the brink. His point is that corporate insiders, who were leading the stock market retreat two weeks ago, began buying back in late last week, and are continuing to buy stocks this week. 
    David Moenning has maintained the same stance this morning: What Comes Next?. His point is that the indices now face resistance levels that will determine whether they are going up or down from here. (Two resistance lvels are 1300 and 1320 on the S&P 500.) 
    On the other hand, Nouriel Roubini
is quoted as saying: Roubini- More Than a Soft Patch (And QE3 is on the Way).
    For whatever it might mean, market futures are down a couple of tenths of a percent tonight.


2011-6-13 (Monday Night): The markets treaded water today. The NASDAQ Composite slipped 4.04 points (-0.15%) to 2,639.69. The Dow eased  up 1.06 points (0.01%) to close at 11,952.97, while the S&P 500 added 0.85 points (-1.4%) to end at 1,271.83. Oil climbed to $99.17; Gold slipped to $1,531. The VIX rose 0.85 to 19.61.


2011-6-10 (Friday Night): The markets crumpled again today: Dow sinks below 12,000, Goldman served first again: Maybe not. The NASDAQ Composite tumbled 41.14 points (-1.53%) to 2,643.73. The Dow sank 143.45 points (-1.42%) to close at 11,951.91, while the S&P 500 sagged 18.02 points (-1.4%) to end at 1,270.98. Oil fell to $98.92; Gold slipped to $1,533. The VIX rose 1.09 to 18.86.
    Yesterday, I wrote,
    "
Today's action probably reduced the rebound pressure on the markets, although I would expect them to continue to rise to their resistance levels (1300 and 1320 on the S&P 500), and to make their bounces sufficiently compelling that many professional investors buy back in. Then the markets can suddenly reverse, and take away their money."
    Instead, the markets plunged.
    So much for my future as a stock market psychic.
    Here's what TopStock Portfolios featured today: Buzzkill - Part III (Tepper's View), Did Anything Change?, and The Way I See It (A Look At the Big Picture).     
    The first of these articles interviews David Tepper, who, when QE2 was first approved, announced that it was "game on" in the stock markets. Mr. Tepper is now predicting that there wont be a QE3... i. e., it's "game off" time now.
    The second article, written by David Moenning, asks whether Thursday's rise was just a technical bounce, based upon no meaningful changes in the economic outlook, or whether it had further to run. He concluded... correctly we know now... that it probably was just a "dead-cat bounce".
    The third article, by "Curt B.", concludes, "To sum up - My intuitive sense is uncomfortable but I also recognize that there is not yet objective market based evidence indicating that the bull market cannot continue. So I circle back to what I have stated before. I will keep positions small, attempt to quickly cut losses, look to take profits without quickly (and avoid getting greedy), and stay flexible."
    Mark Hulbert on Are stocks sending a sell signal?. He explains that he tried a market timing system in which he sold whenever one of the market indices (the S&P 500?) fell below its 200-day moving average and bought whenever it rose above its 200-day average. The system worked well in the 80's, and broke down in the 90's and the 00's.


2011-6-9 (Thursday Night): After six down days, the markets finally  bounced: Lucky 7 brings out bulls. The NASDAQ Composite rose 9.49 points (0.35%) to 2,684.87. The Dow acquired 75.42 points (0.63%) to close at 12,124.36, while the S&P 500 gained 9.44 points (0.74%) to end at 1,289.00. Oil closed up at $101.88; Gold slipped to $1,545. The VIX dropped 1.02 to 17.7.
    Oil prices are moving up now that OPEC has eschewed production hikes.
   
Today's action probably reduced the rebound pressure on the markets, although I would expect them to continue to rise to their resistance levels (1300 and 1320 on the S&P 500), and to make their bounces sufficiently compelling that many professional investors buy back in. Then the markets can suddenly reverse, and take away their money. 
    TopStock Portfolios' Market Wrap: A Good News, Bad News Situation. TopStock Portfolios observes that today's bounce was nothing special, and that good news was hard to find.
    As Fidelity words it: Wall Street bounce fails to impress the skeptics.
    ECB’s Trichet signals hike, vows no default   Euro drops after ECB press conference   Euro end game draws nearer  
    Many will have to work into their 80s   
    Selling pressure is on — defense takes hold  
    Stock market futures are neutral again tonight.


2011-6-8 (Wednesday Night): The markets closed lower again today: Street's down for 6th day. The NASDAQ Composite fell 2618 points (-0.97%) to 2,675.38. The Dow drifted downward 21.87 points (-0.18%) to close at 12,048.94, while the S&P 500 slid 5.38 points (-0.42%) to end at 1,279.56. Oil closed down at $101.07; Gold slipped to $1,538. The VIX dropped 0.72 to 18.79.
    The economic news continues to disappoint: Fed's Beige Book Shows Some Signs of Deceleration,
EU/IMF/ECB Says Greece Deficit Worse Than Expected, and OPEC Decides Not To Increase Crude Output. The only good news is: Bullish Sentiment Falls In Response To Correction, if you can call that good news. 
    Master investor Mark Moebius is eagerly anticipating a market collapse: The Brighter Side to a Market Meltdown. But this article claims that the Economy is not collapsing. TopStock Portfolios' David Manning also subscribes to that interpretation, although his actions are informed by his indicators rather than his opinions.
    At the moment, I'm almost entirely in cahs.
    Market futures are up tonight. (Stock indices continue to be very oversold.)


2011-6-7 (Tuesday Night): The markets rallied strongly today and then lost it all near the close, ending down slightly for the day: Stocks shed day's gains, Market Wrap: Late Fade Leads to Fifth Consecutive Loss. The NASDAQ Composite fell 1 points (-0.04%) to 2,701.56. The Dow drifted downward 19.15 points (-0.16%) to close at 12,070.81, while the S&P 500 slipped 1.23 points (-0.1%) to end at 1,284.94. Oil closed down at $99.09.; Gold ended at $1,544. The VIX dropped 0.42 to 18.17.
    Fed Chairmen Bernanke: No double dip. Chairman Bernanke sees jobs and growth picking up in the second half of this year: Bernanke: Economic Growth Subpar; Low Rates Still Needed. One question that comes to mind is that of whether the markets didn't like what Dr. Bernanke said this afternoon: Stocks tank after speech, and Don't bet on 'QE3,' Dave Callaway advises.
   
Later: That's what happened: Bernanke kills Wall Street's buzz.
    I think Fed Chairman Bernanke might be trying to pour oil on troubled waters.
TopStock Portfolios' David Moenning published this article this morning: Are We Scaring Ourselves?.  Could there be other behind-the-scenes steps the Fed can take to boost economic growth? With the federal budget still up for grabs, now might not be a politically savvy time to announce further government stimulus rograms. If things get worse later in the summer, Dr. Bernanke can always revisit the topic of additional stimulus.
    Consumer Credit Expands for Second Straight Month in April. There hasn't been a lot of coverage in the news about the softening of the economy. I suspect most people aren't aware yet that the unemployment rate has inched up again to 9.1% from 9%, or that the economy is slowing. However, consumer sentiment is falling.
    Saudi Arabia Upping Production Ahead of OPEC Meeting... I wonder if this is because of they perceive a gathering threat of a worldwide downturn.
   Stock market futures are flat again tonight (but the indices are very oversold).


2011-6-6 (Monday Night): The markets dropped sharply again today: Stocks slip on investor jitters, S&P's back below 1,300. The NASDAQ Composite fell 30.22 points (-1.11%) to 2,702.56. The Dow dove 61.3 points (-0.5%) to close at 12,089.96, while the S&P 500 was thrown for a loss of 13.99 points (-1.08%) to end at 1,286.13. Oil closed down at $98.77.; Gold gained to $1,545. The VIX rose 0.54 to 18.59.
    TopStock Portfolios has this to say about today's market action: Technical Talk: It's About Time For a Bounce, and Market Wrap: Another Ugly Day on Macro Worries: "The recent downtrend remained solidly intact on what amounted to a quiet news day with no significant economic data and little company specific news.... 
    "From a big-picture standpoint, the market appears to be struggling with the outlook for the future. With very weak job growth, a double-dip in the housing market, and nearly all governmental stimulus programs now ending, the question becomes one of what will be the driver for economic growth over the next 12 months?
    "From a chart standpoint, the technicals are quickly becoming ugly. While stocks are indeed oversold and due for a bounce, the bulls would now need a meaningful move back above 1320 in order to turn things around. Thus, traders will be watching to see if the coming bounce has any support
."
    Apparently, today's mini-bounce didn't replace a bigger bounce yet to come. 
    Peter Brimelow writes: Five down weeks stir crash whispers
    Focus on Asia: It’s ‘where the money is’  
    Soros is selling his gold, so should you? 
    Stock market futures are flat again tonight.


2011-6-5 (Sunday Night): A hurricane warning has been posted for the stock market this week: Technical Talk: It's a Downtrend Until Proven Otherwise. The financial outlook is very gloomy. The market could bounce upward from here or it could go further down, but financial portents have reached an extreme. This is a good time to be in cash, or maybe even to short the market.
    Market futures are neutral tonight.


2011-6-3 (Friday Night): The markets dropped sharply today: Stocks drop 2.3% in week. The NASDAQ Composite fell 40.93 points (-1.46%) to 2,732.78. The Dow dove 97.29 points (-0.79%) to close at 12,151.26, while the S&P 500 was thrown for a loss of 12.78 points (-0.97%) to end at 1,300.16. Oil closed up a tad at $100.64.; Gold fell back to $1,534. The VIX fell 0.14 to 17.95 (go figure!)
    As I said yesterday, every indication points toward a flagging economy. How to cope with global slowdown "David Rosenberg offers five tips to play a disinflating, dramatically weaker global economy, says Jonathan Burton."
    Jaffe: Stock touts prey on inflation fears.
    It's been a bad week for the investors, but also for the administration, which had better respoond forthwith if it hopes for re-election.


2011-6-2 (Thursday Night): The markets closed flat today: Technical Talk: Bulls Clinging to Line In Sand, Market Wrap: Waiting On The Jobs Report. The NASDAQ Composite gained 4.12 points (0.15%) to 2,773.31. The Dow dipped 41.59 points (-0.34%) to close at 12,248.55, while the S&P 500 posted a loss of 1.61 points (-0.12%) to end at 1,312.94. Oil closed up a tad at $100.64.; Gold fell back to $1,534. The VIX leaped 0.21 to 18.09.   
    Every indication points toward a flagging economy. '...And Then They Matter A Lot'. Of course, not everyone thinks that the sun is setting in the west: Dow 20,000, here we come. The author lists 10 cogent reasons why the markets are primed to rise.
    Market futures are slightly lower tonight.


2011-6-1 (Wednesday Night): The markets crashed today, losing more than they gained yesterday on fears of slowing economy: Growth fears spur wipeout, U.S. stocks slammed by downbeat data. The NASDAQ Composite lost 66.11 points (-2.33%) to close at 2,769.19. The Dow shed 279.65 points (-2.22%) to close at 12,290.14, while the S&P 500 posted a loss of 30.65 points (-2.28%) to close at 1,314.55. Oil closed down at $99.70; Gold climbed to $1,541. The VIX leaped 2.85 to 18.30.   
    Whether to jump ship as QE2's end approaches  
    Moody's cuts Greece rating; outlook negative.
    Why housing is in a depression
    Mark Hulbert has two articles tonight: Think again before going tech, and Rebuild the wall.  
    Market futures are up a little tonight.


2011-5-31 (Tuesday Night): The markets rose again today, rupturing resistance levels. The NASDAQ Composite gained 38.44 points (1/37%%) to close at 2,835.30. The Dow jumped 128.21 points (1.03%) to close at 12,569.79, while the S&P 500 posted a gain of 14.1 points (1.06%) to close at 1,345.20. Oil closed essentially unchanged at $100.75; Gold climbed to $1,538. The VIX slipped 0.53 to 15.45.   
    David Weidner's column is entitled: Why no jail time for Wall Street CEOs.  
    Irwin Kellner observes that: ‘Soft patch’ catches economists off-guard.  
    Mark Hulbert provides an Update on inflation-deflation battle.  
    Peter Brimelow asks: Gold signaling hyperinflation-
    TopStock Portfolios has a defensive posturte regarding what's currently going on, with the expectation of further downside and a possible change in trend from bull to bear: The Newest "Trade" In Town?, Market Wrap: Risk Back On as Default Fears Recede.
    Stock futures are up tonight.


2011-5-27 (Friday Night): Well, the markets rose again today in defiance of Laszlo Birinyi's warning (but NYSE composite volume logs lowest level this year). You just can't depend on those markets to do what you tell them to do. The NASDAQ Composite gained 38.82 points (0.31%) to close at 2,796.86. The Dow rose 38.82 points (0.31%) to close at 12,441.58, while the S&P 500 posted a gain of 5.41 points (0.41%) to close at 1,331.18. Oil closed essentially unchanged at $100.75; Gold climbed to $1,538. The VIX slipped 0.11 to 15.98.   
    Topstock Portfolios Daily State of the Markets discussion is entitled: Who Do You Believe? Are They Watching In Washington? is a companion article. 
    Investment consultant Liz Miller doesn't "think that we're hitting a true soft patch": Miller: Market will take choppy path higher.
    Tuesday will be the last day of May, and may mark the end of the current modest rally.  

2011-5-27 (Friday Afternoon): What I said below was wrong: today isn't the last trading day of the month. Tuesday, May 31st, will be the last trading day of the month. However, Laszlo Birinyi warns that stocks tend to fall on the last trading day before the Memorial Day holiday: Birinyi: Watch for the pre-Memorial Day fade.


2011-5-26 (Thursday Night): The markets rose again on the third day:.Stocks shake off losses The NASDAQ Composite rose 21.54 points (0.78%) to close at 2,782.92. The Dow gained only 8.1 points (0.07%) to close at 12,402.76, while the S&P 500 posted a gain of 5.22 points (0.4%) to close at 1,325.69. Oil retreated to $100.64; Gold ended at $1,526. The VIX fell another 0.98 to 16.09.  
    The indices have long hills to climb before they hit resistance levels at their previous highs. The general consensus is that they won't make it before they fall down again ("Sell in May and go away.")
    Goldman Sachs revised their year-end forecast for a year-end S&P 500 reading of 1500 downward to 1450 today: Additional Input On Goldman's Downgrade of S&P Target
    Mark Hulbert writes: Bet on short-term strength.
    Since Monday is a holiday, tomorrow will be the last trading day of the month.
    Beware of experts bearing predictions  
    Veteran Allmon sees no crash ... just yet  
    Market futures are up tonight. 


2011-5-25 (Wednesday Night): The markets rose somewhat today. (They were oversold short-term.) The NASDAQ Composite rose 15.22 points (1.58%)0.55%) to close at 2,761.38. The Dow gained 38.45 points (0.31%) to close at 12,394.66, while the S&P 500 added 4.19 points (0.32%) to close at 1,320.47. Oil popped to $101.82; Gold ended up at $1,528. The VIX fell another 0.75 to 17.07.   
    At least one TopStock Portfolio expert expects to see further weakness in the stock market indices: Market Wrap: Stocks Snap Losing Streak on Window Dressing.
    Michael Ashbaugh adds: S&P 500 survives test of major support.
    In What the insiders are telling us about stocks, Mark Hulbert notes that corporate insiders consider the current doldrums as part of a correction in an ongoing bull market. I would add that the markets haven't pulled back much in the face of quite a bit of bad news.
    Market futures are flat tonight.


2011-5-24 (Tuesday Night): The markets are down again tonight, though not by terribly much: U.S. stocks end near one-month lows The NASDAQ Composite retreated another 12.74 points (1.58%)-0.46%) to close at 2,746.16. The Dow dropped 25.05 points (-1.05%0.2%) to close at 12,356.21, while the S&P 500 slipped 15.9 points (-1.19%0.08%) to close at 1,316.29. Oil retreated to $98.82; Gold ended unchanged at $1,524. The VIX fell 0.45(!) to 17.82.
    Stocks are down again today because the dollar is slightly higher again today.  Michael Ashbaugh writes that: Cracks widen in S&P’s technical backdrop. He explains that 1,313 on the S&P is a major milestone. Right now, the S&P 500 has closed 3 points above this watershed.  
    TopStock Portfolios writes Something To Look Forward To? and Technical Talk: The Battle For 1320 Continues to Rage.
    Stocks are down significantly again tonight.  


2011-5-23 (Monday Night): Whew! The stock market dove today on S&P downgrades of .Italian and Spanish debt, and a falling Euro: Italy, Spain trigger fears, Stocks skid on renewed worries about Europe, and U.S. stock indexes hit by global concerns. The NASDAQ Composite plummeted 44.42 points (1.58%) to close at 2,758.90. The Dow plunged 130.78 points (-1.05%) to close at 12,381.26, while the S&P 500 lost another 15.9 points (-1.19%) to close at 1,317.37. Oil retreated to $97.12; Gold jumped to $1,501. The VIX rose 0.84 to 18.27.
   
The markets were down today on a rising dollar brought on by global worries. TopStock Portfolios warns of a possible downshift in the stock markets, although they're best guess is that it will pop once more before retreating: Are The Winds Shifting?
Other TopStock articles include: Market Wrap: Stocks Struggle with Signs of Weak Global Growth, The Latest on the European Debt Mess, Chicago Fed National Activity Index Falls in April, Eurozone Elections Creating Concerns About Bailout Programs, Eurozone PMI's Below Expectations in May, S&P Reduces Italy's Debt Rating Outlook, PIGI'S Update: Norway Stopping Aid to Greece, Bundesbank Says German Economic Growth Will Slow, and Equity Funds See Outflows For Second Consecutive Week.
    Gas prices still choke consumer spending   
    Reagan insider: GOP destroyed U.S. economy, Part 2   
    Willard Cody advises his subscribers that they should be the bearish grain.  
    Market futures are neutral tonight.  


2011-5-22 (Sunday Night): I haven't mentioned TopStock Portfolios Daily Decision Stock Trade service for a few weeks because it hasn't been doing too well lately. I don't know why, and neither does Richard Meiers, who operates the service. He says he's going to spend the weekend trying to figure out what to do about this.
    It looks to me as though the markets have been particularly perverse over the past few weeks, perhaps because of hedge funds jumping in and out of the markets and manipulating them.
    Market futures are down sharply tonight.


2011-5-20 (Friday Night):  The market indices fell significantly today in response to European woes leading to a falling Euro and a rising dollar: Volatile ride in down week. The NASDAQ Composite dropped 19.99 points (0.71%) to close at 2,803.32. The Dow fell 93.28 points (-0.74%) to close at 12,512.04, while the S&P 500 lost 10.33 points (-0.77%) to close at 1,333.27. Oil rose a little to $98.99; Gold closed at $1,495. The VIX ended the day at 17.43. 
    Mark Hulbert explain that Bulls may head for the exits (audio). Other kindred articles include A shift toward defensive sectors, Three stock sectors to protect your portfolio, and Messages from the Russell 2000. Mark Hulbert adds that "Surveys of investors' moods throw off different indications, but actual exposure to the market appears even more bullish than these measures suggest." in War of sentiment indicators (video). Another article observes that "Stocks are caught in a tug-of-war between the bears, focused on weaker economic data, and investors more bullish on growth." in "Whipsawed? Get used to it (video)". 
    I'm struck by the bearishness of the general tone on Marketwatch right now... a very bullish sign. Bull markets don't end in a fit of gloom and doom.


2011-5-19 (Thursday Night):  The market indices rose again today, albeit modestly: Stock bulls hang in there. The NASDAQ Composite added 8.31 points (0.3%) to close at 2,823.31. As mentioned above, the Dow rose 45.14 points (0.36%) to close at 12,605.32, while the S&P 500 tacked on 2.92 points (0.22%) to close at 1,343.60. Oil rose a little to $98.99; Gold closed at $1,495. The VIX fell 0.71 to 15.52. 
    Peter Brimelow remarks: Top-performing bull edges to exit, "but based on a pretty subtle reading of his system". Also, Leading indicators reverse: "The pace of economic growth may be 'choppy' in the summer and fall, the Conference Board says."
    TopStock Portfolios' David Moenning analyzed the day like this: Market Wrap- Wall Street Cheers IPO (And the Dollar's Decline).
    Stock market futures are slightly down tonight. 


2011-5-18 (Wednesday Night):  The market indices all hopped up today (the technical bounce mentioned yesterday?). The NASDAQ Composite rose 31.79 points (1.14%%) to close at 2,815.00. As mentioned above, the Dow lifted 80.6 points (0.65%) to close at 12,560.18, while the S&P 500 regained 11.7 points (0.88%) bringing it to a resistance level at 1,340.68. Oil rose a little to $97.78; Gold closed at $1,491. The VIX fell 1.32 to 16.23. 
    Stock market futures are up tonight. Otherwise, I'm aware of very little that's new today. 


2011-5-17 (Tuesday Night):  The NASDAQ and the S&P 500 indices ended the day essentially where they started it, but the Dow fell by 68.79 points. The NASDAQ Composite rose 0.90 points (0.03%) to close at 2,783.21. As mentioned above, the Dow lost 68.79 points (-0.55%) to close at 12,479.58, while the S&P 500 fell back 0.49 points (-0.04%) to close at: 1,328.98. Oil rose a little to $97.78; Gold closed at $1,491. The VIX fell 0.69 (!) to 17.55. 
    Stocks are oversold and due for a technical bounce. And the headlines are predicting doom! Dr. Irwin Kellner is warning: Don’t be fooled by the money illusion. David Weidner warns: Beware if this market goes off its meds . SmartMoney writes about The invisible stock bubble. Mark Hulbert notes that Low-quality stocks still lead, that the Fed's easy money is allowing junk stocks to outperform blue chips at a time when the blue chips should be leading the markets, and that sooner or later, small stocks will fall while big caps rise: "Indeed, according to Grantham, he is hard pressed to find other times in U.S. stock market history when quality (large-cap value) has been as undervalued as it is today, relative to junk (small-cap growth)."
    Then there's How far will home prices fall? and Fund managers in a gloomy mood. Surely it's time to sell all our stocks and switch to cash ahead of the second dip in this Great Recession!
    Michael Ashbaugh observes that S&P, Nasdaq challenge the 50-day average.
    Stock market futures are up tonight..


2011-5-16 (Monday Night):  The markets fell again today as the dollar rose against the Euro. The NASDAQ Composite dropped 46.16 points (-1.63%) to close at 2,782.21. The Dow lost 47.38 points (-0.38%) to close at 12,548.37, while the S&P 500 retreated 8.3 points (-0.62%) to close at: 1,329.47. Oil dropped to $96.95; Gold slipped to $1,491. The VIX climbed 1.17 to 18.24. 
    One factor may have been the arrest of the International Monetary Fund's Dominique Strauss-Kahn on sexual assault charges.
    Stock market futures are down again tonight, presaging another bad day tomorrow. However, so far, the market indices are still comfortably above their 50-day moving averages.
    TopStock Portfolios observes that with the markets held hostage to hedge-fund computer games, it's hard to know what's really going on in the underlying markets. 


2011-5-13 (Friday Night): The dollar rose and the markets rose today, after initially falling on less-than-stellar economic news: Dow declines for the week. The NASDAQ Composite added 34.57 points (-1.21%) to close at 2,828.47. The Dow gained 100.17 points (-0.79%) to close at 12,595.75, while the S&P 500 advanced 10.88 points (-0.81%) to close at: 1,337.77. Oil dropped to $99.34; Gold tumbled to $1,494. The VIX climbed 1.04 to 17.07. 
    David Moenning observes that Wall Street it running the same old  dollar-up-stock-markets-down play that has worked so well for them over the past year or so. When threatening economic clouds appear out side the U. S., foreign money seeks the safe haven of the world's reserve currency, the U. S. dollar, the dollar rises, and U. S. stock markets fall: Run It Again!. Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger warns that high-frequency trading (HFT) is a legalized form of using inside knowledge to play the stock market: Berkshire's Munger: HFT is Legalized Front Running.


2011-5-12 (Thursday Night): The dollar fell and the markets rose today, after initially falling on less-than-stellar economic news: Business Inventories Rise in March, Bloomberg Consumer Confidence Index Falls, Producer Price Index Comes In Hotter Than Expected, Retail Sales Up +0.5% in April But Below Consensus, Weekly Jobless Claims Pull Back But Still Above 400K, Eurozone Industrial Production Below Expectations in March, and China Continues to Tighten; Increases Bank Reserve Requirement. The NASDAQ Composite added 26.83 points (0,63%) to close at 2,863.04. The Dow gained 65.89 points (0.52%) to close at 12,695.92, while the S&P 500 advanced 6.57 points (0.49%) to close at: 1,348.65. Oil dropped to $98.14; Gold declined to $1,5104 The VIX slipp 0.92 to 16.03. 
    David Moenning reiterates yesterday's explanation that the market indices are inversely tied to the strength of the dollar: Once More For Emphasis
    To me, the day's most important news is buried in this article: Investor Spotlight: When John Paulson Talks, People Listen. Mr. Paulson is the president and founder of the hedge fund that bears his name, and is a legend in the hedge fund industry. He foresees a rise of about 34% from here, presumably over the next two or three years. That would take the S&P 500 from its current level of about 1,350 to 1,800. Direxion's large-cap bull 3X ETF, BGU, should approximately double from here. For example, in the chart below, the Dow Jones Index

increased about 32% by April, 2010, while BGU was up a little more than 100% at that same  time.
    Michael Ashbaugh has published an article analyzing today's price action:Dollar strength sends S&P back to the range.
    The commodity sell-off: What’s next?  
    Tomi Kilgore writes: Equities finally seeing light on the economy.  
    Chuck Jaffe has written: Inflation diet: same price, less product, and Peter Brimelow tells of Two hard-asset letters still confident.
    Market futures are down a bit tonight.


2011-5-11 (Wednesday Night): The dollar rose and the markets fell today. The NASDAQ Composite lost 26.83 points (-0.93%) to close at 2,845.06. The Dow retreated 130.33 points (-1.02%) to close at 12,630.33, while the S&P 500 dipped 15.08 points (-1.11%) to close at: 1,342.08. Oil dropped to $99.52; Gold declined to $1,5104 The VIX rose 1.04 to 16.95. 
    David Moenning sums up nicely the gap between the frothiness of the news and the underlying realities: Making It Difficult. He observes that news mavens come up with all sorts of excuses why the market has gone up or down when, in reality, it depends only upon the dollar.


2011-5-10 (Tuesday Night): The markets closed up yet again today. The NASDAQ Composite gained 28.64 points (1.01%) to close at 2,871.89. The Dow advanced 75.68 points (0.6%) to close at 12,760.36, while the S&P 500 added 10.87 points (0.81%) to close at: 1,357.16. Oil jumped to $103.65; Gold rose to $1,516. The VIX fell 1.25 to 15.91. 
    David Moenning sums up nicely the gap between the frothiness of the news and the underlying realities: Making It Difficult. He observes that when the dollar goes down, dollar-denominated assets, including the U. S. stock market, go up. What most of the financial media do is give a "balanced" (no commitment) review of what's happening. In the meantime, I believe the S&P 500 will fulfill the prediction that it will cross something like 1,450 on or around the first of September. That' 112 days from now. It closed today at 1,357, so it would have to gain something like 93 points over the next 112 days. It rose almost 11 points today. Obviously, it's going to have to do a lot of backing and filling if it is to rise only 93 points in 112 days. 
    What we're seeing at the moment is a market that has been moving higher over a period of 26 months, with lots of pullbacks along the way. From April 26, 2010, when it peaked at 1,220, to February 18, 2011, when it peaked at 1,344, it rose about 120 points over a period of about 10 months, or about 12 points a month. From February 18, when it peaked (as mentioned above) at 1,344, to May 2, when it peaked at about 1,370, it rose at a rate of about 10 points a month. At that rate, it would hit approximately 1,410 by September 1, and 1,450 by year's end. 

    Of course, this is all absolutely dodgy. The markets will presumably roll over when they reach their cyclical bull market peaks. I would expect the S&P 500 to at least revisit its 2007 bull market peak, and I would expect to see that occur in 2012. But in the meantime, sophisticated investors are going to have to be repeatedly convinced that the economy is getting ready to nosedive. That's the only way they can be euchred into taking losses on some of their carefully chosen investments. I'm personally thinking in terms of long-term investments in the major indices, either in leveraged ETFs or in long-term, deep-in-the-money calls on leveraged ETFs.
    Michael Ashbaugh has written: Ashbaugh- S&P shrugs off commodity crash
    Market futures are up slightly tonight.


2011-5-9 (Monday Night): The markets closed up again today. The NASDAQ Composite gained 15.89 points (0.55%) to close at 2,843.25. The Dow advanced 45.94 points (0.36%) to close at 12,684.68, while the S&P 500 added 6.09 points (0.45%) to close at: 1,346.09. Oil ended at $100.90; Gold rose to $1,509. The VIX fell 1.24 to 17.16. 
    Peter Brimelow has written: Does dollar strength herald another crash?.  Mark Hulbert warns us to  Get ready for another flash crash.     TopStock Portfolios says, Technical Talk: Sideways Is Good Right About Now. Another article suggests "establishing some 'shorts' for a 2 to 4 day trade". In A Lack of Conviction? , David Moenning suggests that a current fall in the stock market could be simply tied to a temporary rise in the dollar.
    Market futures are flat tonight.


2011-5-7 (Saturday Night): The markets closed up a little, although not much considering the good news on the job front. The NASDAQ Composite gained 12.84 points (0.46%) to close at 2,827.56. The Dow advanced 139.41 points (0.43%) to close at 12,638.74, while the S&P 500 added 5.1 points (0.38%) to close at: 1,340.20. Oil plummeted to $98.06; Gold rose to $1,489. The VIX was unchanged at 18.40. 


2011-5-5 (Thursday Night): The markets fell again today, though they haven't yet violated support. The NASDAQ Composite gave up 13.51 points (-0.48%), about the same as yesterday to close at 2,814.72. The Dow drooped 139.41 points (-1.1%) to close at 12,584.17, while the S&P 500 lost 12.22 points (-0.91%) to close at: 1,335.10. Oil plummeted to $100.28; Gold plunged to $1,489. The VIX rose 1.12 to 18.20. 

To be continued in the morning.


2011-5-4 (Wednesday Night): The markets fell again today, though they haven't yet violated support. The NASDAQ Composite gaveup 13.39 points (-0.47%) at 2,828.23. The Dow drooped 83.93 points (-0.66%) to close at 12,723.58, while the S&P 500 lost 9.3 points (-0.69%) to close at: 1,347.32. Oil dropped a little to $108.55; Gold fell back to $1,533. The VIX rose 0.38 to 17.08.  
    Between Amber and car trouble, I've had no time for typing again today.  
    My intuitive feeling is that there isn't enough fear and contemplation of economic disaster yet to warrant an imminent rise in the stock market. It's going to take the anticipation of financial ruin to build a contingent of short sellers who can be sucker-punched by a surge in the markets. 
    Michael Ashbaugh writes about: Strong charts vs. weak season.  
    Irwin Kellner tells us about The Fed’s impossible dream.  
    Stock trading snafu should worry investors    
    Hulbert: Partying like it's 1999 and Funny thing happened on way to bank.  
    Fed's Williams: Inflation will ease later this year        


2011-5-3 (Tuesday Night): After yesterday's retreat, the major indices dipped a little further today, presumably digesting the galloping gains they registered while I was incomunicado. The NASDAQ Composite sld 22.46 points (-0.78%) at 2,841.62. The Dow squeegeed up 0.15 points (0.0%) to close at 12,807.51, while the S&P 500 fell 4.6 points (-0.34%) to close at: 1,356.62. Oil dropped a little to $110.69; Gold fell back to $1,533. The VIX was unchanged at 16.70.
The rest of this will have to come in the morning.


2011-4-26 (Tuesday Night): The stock market indices powered through overhead resistance  and out of their trading ranges today, with all three reaching new highs for this bull market cycle: Street gets earnings bump. The NASDAQ Composite closed up 21.66 points (0.77%) at 2,847.54. The Dow leaped 115.49 points (0.93%) to close at 12,595.37, while the S&P 500 jumped 11.99 points (0.9%) to close at: 1,347.24. Oil dropped a little to $111.95; Gold fell back to $1,507: Gold's 8-day run halted. The VIX fell 0.16 to 15.62.  
    So what should we do now? The markets have certainly climbed a wall of worry. Just a week ago today, it looked as though the stock market was heading for the basement. Now it's making

new highs. I was certainly caught flat-footed by this. (I had loaded up on the Direxion Daily Small Cap Bull 3X shares at $82.65 a share, but I sold them at a negligible profit last Tuesday. Now they're running $91 a share.)  
    My guess would be that now is the time to stock up on stocks, in keeping with Michael Ashbaugh's advice: S&P 500 rattling the cage: Ashbaugh
    TopStock Portfolios hasn't issued a "buy" signal, which is conspicuous by its absence. Of course, the markets thrive on doing the unexpected. Everyone knows that the markets have broken out of their two-month trading ranges, and everyone knows that it's safe now to pour money into the markets... isn't it? But as the above chart shows, last August, the indices hit a breakout peak, only to fall back down again. (Michael Ashbaugh observes that their upside-down head-and-shoulders patterns are "a high-reliability bullish reversal pattern.") 
    This comment on their website may explain why: Quick Comments: Jailbreak!
    My own thinking is to put the bulk of my money into either a 2X (MVV) or a 3X (BGU) S&P 500 ETF. The downside to this is that if the market dips, say, 20% from its peak value, a fund like BGU would drop 60%, to 2/5ths of its peak value. The S&P 500 would have to gain 25% to get back where it was before the 20$ correction. If the S&P 500 rose by 25%, BGU would rise by 75% but that would only take BGU to 2/5 X 7/4 = 14/20 = 07. = 70% of its peak value before the correction. So you have to get out of a fund like BGU before it goes very far down. For that now-and-then situation, I plan to rely on the Daily Decision timing strategy to get me out of BGU in a timely manner. 
    Market futures are up a bit tonight.


2011-4-25 (Monday Night): The markets took a breather today as the oversold dollar rose slightly on foreign currency exchanges: Street takes step back, U.S. dollar trims its losses. The NASDAQ Composite closed up 5.72 points (0.2%) at 2,825.88. The Dow fell 26.11 points (-0.21%) to close at 12,479.88, while the S&P 500 shed 2.13 points (-0.16%) to close at: 1,335.25. Oil dropped minutely to $112.33 , while Gold hit yet another new high at $1,511: Gold jumps for eighth day, Brimelow: Russell endorses gold-bug theory. The VIX fell 1.08 to  15.77.  
    Brett Arends writes Age of America near end in response to a prediction by the International Monetary Fund that China's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will surpass that of the U. S. in five years (2016). Of course, China's per capita GDP will still be only about ¼th that of the United States... it will be the middle of the century before China's per capita GDP overtakes that of the U. S....  but China's influence on the world economy will eclipse that of the U. S. in only five more years. He mentions that other Asian countries would rather see a U. S. hegemony than a Chinese hegemony.
    Rex Nutting writes about the time it's going to take to get the U. S. economy fully functioning again: Patience and the recovery.
    Stock market futures are down slightly tonight.  


2011-4-21 (Thursday Night): The markets climbed again today on positive earnings reports and upbeat forecasts: Bulls have Good Thursday, Leading indicators up. The NASDAQ Composite closed up 17.64 points (0.63%) at 2,820.16. The Dow added 52.45 points (0.42%) to close at 12,505.99 (a new high for the year), while the S&P 500 jumped 7.02 points (0.53%) to close at: 1,337.38. Oil stayed put at $112.33 (Obama: Panel to monitor 'speculators' on gas), while Gold slipped to $1,505. The VIX fell 0.38 to  14.69.  
    There was bad news mixed with the good news today. Weekly jobs claims fell, but not as much as they were expected to fall: Weekly Jobless Claims Fall 13,000 But Above Expectations. The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index was only up 18.5 versus an expected value of 35.5: Economic Update: Philadelphia Fed Index. Also, housing prices fell more than expected in February: Housing Update: House Price Index. Finally, a Treasury auction of 5-year TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities) sold at a negative interest rate of 0.18% today: What it means that TIPS yields are negative. The reason is that the buyers of these TIPS believe that inflation will average more than 2.35% over the next five years
   This article, It's Baaaaack!, refers to the fact that suddenly, the "risk trade" is back on.  
   Only the Dow broke out to new highs today. Meanwhile, the S&P is less than 7 points away from surpassing its February intra-day high of 1,344.
    Market futures are neutral tonight. (Some backing and filling wouldn't be a surprise, given the rapid run-ups over the past three days.)


2011-4-20 (Wednesday Night): The markets soared today on stellar earnings reports: U.S. stocks leap on Intel, home sales. The NASDAQ Composite closed up 57.54 points (2.1%) at 2,802.51. The Dow catapulted 186.79 points (1.52%) to close at 12,453.54, while the S&P 500 jumped 17.74 points (1.35%) to close at: 1,330.36. Oil rose to $112.22 (Crude futures break through $112 a barrel, Oil prices likely to keep rising until June), while Gold jumped to $1,507. The VIX fell 0.76 to  15.07.  
    Michael Ashbaugh warns that S&P 500 in caution zone: Ashbaugh
    From TopStock Portfolios: The Bulls May Be Back, But Here's Two Things To Noodle On.
    Last night, I wrote: " The key question is: will this rebound continue? Resistance levels lie at 1,310, 1,315, and 1,320 on the S&P 500. The S&P 500 has closed above 1,310 tonight, but it didn't surmount the other two hurdles today." Tonight, that question has been answered resoundingly. The indices broke through their resistance levels as though they weren't there. And market futures are up substantially tonight on the basis of excellent after-hours earnings reports. 


2011-4-19 (Tuesday Night): The markets partially recovered today (stalling out at their support levels) on the strength of good news: Housing picks up pace, Street holds on to gains, U.S. stocks rise on J&J profit, steelmaker rally, and U.S. stock indexes lifted by earnings. The NASDAQ Composite closed up 9.59 points (0.35%) at 2,744.97. The Dow advanced 65.16 points (0.35%) to close at 12,266.75, while the S&P 500 progressed 6.28 points (0.48%) to close at: 1,311.41. Oil rose to $108.12, while Gold jumped to $1,496: Gold flirts with $1,500, Gold's bounce-back on dips a good sign. The VIX fell 1.16 to  15.79.  
    Michael Ashbaugh warns that S&P 500 in caution zone: Ashbaugh
    From TopStock Portfolios: One Trader's View of the Action and a Bullish Omen. Also from TopStock Portfolios: Technical Talk: The Key Question Is...  
    The key question is: will this rebound continue? Resistance levels lie at 1,310, 1,315, and 1,320 on the S&P 500. The S&P 500 has closed above 1,310 tonight, but it didn't surmount the other two hurdles today.
    Tonight's after-hours reports showed Intel, IBM, and Yahoo beating analysts' expectations handily, as well as providing upbeat guidance going forward: Intel climbs, IBM lags late, IBM earnings climb 10%, VMware beats targets with strong growth, Wynn profit soars on Macau growth, and Yahoo beats the Street. As a result, market futures are up somewhat tonight (about ⅓ %, although as we saw last night anything can happen between night and morning). 
    The markets rose today only about rd as far as they fell yesterday. Still, they held at the S&P 1,300 level, and showed remarkable resiliency in the face of a load of bad news: Ben Stein talks investing (video), and Game Changers?


2011-4-18 (Monday Night): The markets skidded off the road today. Standard & Poors cut its long-term outlook for U S. debt from stable to negative: Stocks sink after U.S. outlook slashed. The NASDAQ Composite closed down 29.97 points (-1-06%) at 2,73538. The Dow plummeted 140.24 points (-1.14%) to close at 12,201.59, while the S&P 500 regressed 14.54 points (-1.1%) to close at: 1,305.14. Oil rose to $109.39, while Gold jumped to $1,487: Gold, copper prices raise the stakes for miners: Gold hits record; silver at 31-year high. The VIX rose 1.64 to  16.96.  
    Unfortunately, today was the last day to file income taxes, and I had last-minute details to clear up, so I couldn't take time to update this website.
    What are we to make of today's price plunge?
    One Marketwatch pundit has written: Final stage of the bull market? He's arguing that the markets will either enter a final "blow-off" phase in which the major indices rise, in a final push, an additional 30% (to 1,700 for the S&P 500?) to 50% (to 2,000 for the S&P 500?), or they'll plunge to or below 1,250 on the S&P 500. The point is: they won't sidle sideways.
    The TopStock Portfolios advisory service is more pessimistic, a position that seems to be in the cards, with market futures down sharply again tonight.


2011-4-15 (Friday Night): At the end of a very choppy day, the markets closed up less than half a percent. The NASDAQ Composite closed up 4.43 points (0.16%) at 2,764.65. The Dow rose 56.68 points (0.46%) to close at 12,341.83, while the S&P 500 progressed 5.16 points (0.39%) to close at: 1,319.68. Oil rose to $109.39, while Gold jumped to $1,487: Gold hits record; silver at 31-year high. The VIX fell 0.95 to  15.32.  
    Among the interesting articles today were Mark Hulbert on How to forecast a stock-market top, Using volume to play the market: Dormeier, Bull market faces big test: Howard Gold, and Watch out for small caps: Arends. Of possible interest might be Rare find in rare-earth elements: Kerr.
    With respect to the question: "What does the stock market do next?", I don't want to speculate. The markets have risen for the past two days, but whether that's the beginning of their recoveries or just bounces on their way down is more than I can say.


2011-4-14 (Thursday Night): After plunging on bad news this morning, Stocks waver after jobs data, earnings caution, U.S. wholesale prices rise 0.7% in March, the markets ended about where they started: Stocks get late-day lift, Stocks close flat as oil rises again. The NASDAQ Composite slipped 1.3 points (-0.05%) to 2,760.22. The Dow rose 14.16 points (0.12%) to close at 12,285.15, while the S&P 500 gained 0.11 points (0.01%) to close at: 1,314.52. Oil rose to $108.46, while Gold jumped to $1,475 The VIX fell 0.65 to  16.27.  
    Meanwhile, the news is lightening up: Detrick: market at plateau, not at edge of cliff, And stock prices are resilient: Stocks claw way back to positive territory. TopStock Portfolios' David Moenning wrote this morning: The Wait Is Almost Over
    Stock futures are flat tonight.


2011-4-13 (Wednesday Night): Today's Dow and S&P market profiles looked a lot like yesterday's market profiles, although they were all up for the day. (The NASDAQ was up substantially all day.) So far, the Dow and S&P 500 have bounced off their resistance levels.  The NASDAQ Composite climbed 16.73 points (0.61%) to 2,761.52. The Dow popped 7.41 points (0.06%) to close at 12,270.99, while the S&P 500 gained 0.25 points (0.02%) to close at: 1,314.41. Oil rose slightly to $107.23, while Gold tiptoed up to $1,457 The VIX fell 0.17 to  16.92. 
     One of the more interesting articles tonight is The Valuation Debate- Pick Your Side. This article rebuts Mark Hulbert's article last night, History bodes ill for stock market, that argued that stocks are overvalued. In another article, Are They Real-, David Moenning asks whether the fears drawing down the markets are realistic.
     Robert Powell observes that there's No room for error in earnings season.
    Market futures are neutral-to-slightly-down tonight. 


2011-4-12 (Tuesday Night): Today, the markets went down for reasonable reasons: Stocks, oil take a pounding. The NASDAQ Composite slid 26.77 points (-0.96%) to 2,744.79. The Dow careened 117.53 points (-0.95%) to close at 12,263.58, while the S&P 500 lost 10.30 points (-0.78%) to close at: 1,314.16. Oil dropped to $106.02, while Gold fell back to $1,455 The VIX jumped 0.5 to  17.09. 
 
   Last night, I wrote: " I'm not seeing talk about a double-dip recession tonight, but surely, that's coming soon." Well, today was suddenly "Gloomsday": Recovery worry hits stocks. Mark Hulbert, who's been writing columns proclaiming the bull market, today wrote: History bodes ill for stock market. Another headline reads, • Gas prices expected to rise 40% this summer. (It turns out that the 40% rise refers to the average price of gasoline last summer versus the average price of gasoline this summer... not a 40% rise from here.) Michael Ashbaugh's Tuesday column is entitled, S&P 500 drops to major technical test. Brett Arends' Tuesday article is titled: Why Europe’s debt crisis isn’t over. Among the downers may have been reductions in the estimates for U. S. GDP growth in 2011: GDP estimates slashed, together with U.S. runs $188 billion deficit in March, Trade activity softens, Prices for U.S. imports jump, U.S. needs to cut deficit soon, IMF says, Small-business survey worsens, and Inflation stokes fears over shopper resilience.... all bad news appearing suddenly on a "down" day. There were two upbeat articles: Seize the moment on equities: Cohan and Bears, bugs still respect the bull.
    TopStock Portfolios asks: Bears Finally Finding Their Mojo?
    The S&P 500 index closed at its 25-day moving average after bouncing off its 75-day moving average at its mid-day low.
    Right or wrong, I'm treating this as an opportunity to back up the truck and load up on TNA (the Direxion Daily Small Cap Bull 3X Shares). (One fact that concerns me is that the chart pattern for the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ Composite doesn't look healthy to me.)
    Stock market futures are up a bit tonight.  


2011-4-11 (Monday Night): Today, the markets went down because they wanted to. The NASDAQ Composite slid 8.91 points (-0.32%) to 2,771.51. The Dow gained 1.06 points (0.01%) to close at 12,381.11, while the S&P 500 lost 3.71 points (-0.28%) to close at: 1,324.46. Oil dropped to $108.23, while Gold fell back to $1,457 The VIX was unchanged at 16.59. 
   
The most significant news tonight is that market futures are down sharply and falling tonight: Blah day for Wall Street. It looks as though the gap at 1,319 is going to be filled in. I'm not seeing talk about a double-dip recession tonight, but surely, that's coming soon. 
    I'm going to consider this a buying opportunity, although I'll wait until the market seems to heave bottomed.


2011-4-8 (Friday Night): Today was the same story as yesterday, except that today, it was $113 oil along with the impending government shutdown that did the markets in. The NASDAQ Composite slid 15.72 points (-0.56%) to 2,780.42. The Dow dropped 29.44 points (-0.24%) to close at 12,380.05, while the S&P 500 skidded 5.34 points (-0.4%) to close at: 1,328.17. As mentioned above, Oil closed above $113 a barrel at $113.05, while Gold registered yet another new high of $1,476. The VIX rose 0.76 points to 17.87.    
    The S&P 500 got down to 1,324 today. Unfortunately, the gap that needs to be filled lies between its high of 1,319.45 on March 29th and its low of 1,321.89 on March 30th, so today's action didn't eradicate the gap. Of course, the markets are allegedly overbought on a short-term basis, and the price of oil may rise from here, leading to further pullbacks. But hopefully, by the end of next week, the markets will be back on track. Now may be a good time to buy.
    Part of today's sell-off may have stemmed from concerns over what might happen this weekend.
    There's very little other news on this Friday night. The movers and shakers have taken the weekend off.
News Update:
    It has just been announced that a U. S. government shutdown has been averted, and that a consensus budget should be passed next Tuesday or Wednesday. This eleventh-hour reprieve should alleviate budget concerns that may have adversely affected the equity markets. 


2011-4-7 (Thursday Night): The bulls appeared to be heading for another new high today when all of a sudden, news of Japan's Richter 7.1earthquake broke over the markets, followed by oil priced above $110 a barrel: U.S. stocks slide after quake hits Japan. The markets swooned and then partially recovered.  The NASDAQ Composite retreated 3.68 points (-0.13%) to 2,796.14. The Dow dipped 17.86 points (-0.14%) to close at 12,409.49, while the S&P 500 fell 2.03 points (-0.15%) to close at: 1,333.51. As mentioned above, Oil closed above $110 a barrel at $110.23, while Gold registered a new high of $1,460. The VIX rose 0.21 points to 17.11.  
    China data spark slew of upgrades
    Tomi Kilgore argues that the fact that the Dow Theory "buy" signal occurred on low volume doesn't mean that it isn't a valid prognosticator of a bull market: Low volume doesn’t cancel buy signal.
    Mark Hulbert writes: Bull market is alive and well
    Michael Ashbaugh's weekly column is entitled: Starting the second quarter on an upswing
    Articles that I like are posted on the TopStock Portfolios website. Their take on the next week is that (1) stocks are overbought, and (2) their inverse ETF market indicator is pointing toward a modest downturn over the next few trading days.
    Right now, I'm setting myself up with January 21, 2013, $40 calls on SSO, the Proshares Ultra S&P 500 ETF. These options currently cost about $16, with SSO at $54. That means I'm paying $2 in "rent" ($40 + $16 - $54) to "own" 100 shares of SSO (equivalent to 200 shares of SPY) between now and next January. That yields leverage from 5-to-1 to 6-to-1 on the S&P 500. If the S&P 500 rises 10% between now and September, per Sam Eisenstadt's A bullish six-month forecast , my $40 calls will rise 50% over that interval.
    A $54, at-the-money, January, 2012, call costs about $6, and would give higher leverage, but its value will decline as we get closer to the strike date of January, 2012, losing about $3 by September. However, it should still rise about 100% over the interval.
    Market futures are up a little tonight.   


2011-4-6 (Wednesday Night): Once again, the bulls have foiled the bears by inching slightly higher.  The NASDAQ Composite rose 8.63 points (0.31%) to 2,799.22. The Dow annexed 32.85 points (0.27%) to close at 12426.75, while the S&P 500 rose2.91 points (0.22%) to close at: 1,335.54. Oil tolled the knell of parting day at $108.46 a barrel, while Gold rose to $1,458. The VIX fell 0.25 points to 17.25.
   
Perhaps the most important happening today was that the Dow closed above 12,400, confirming the Dow Theory "buy" signal. Meanwhile the S&P 500 closed 6½ points below its previous 2011 high (1,343), after flirting with a level (1,339) four points below that value.
    No to stocks — and to bonds
    Rates to rise in 2012?
    Market futures are neutral tonight.


2011-4-5 (Tuesday Night): For the second day in a row, the markets ended about where they started as they challenge their pre-correction highs. The NASDAQ Composite rose 2.00 points (0.07%) to 2,791. The Dow slipped 6.13 points (-0.05%) to close at 12,363.90, while the S&P 500 lost a trivial 0.24 points (-0.02%) to close at: 1,332.24. Oil said "sayonara" at $108.00 a barrel, while Gold rose to $1,455. The VIX fell 0.25 points to 17.25.
    TopStock Portfolios expects the markets to fall back slightly, with the S&P 500 filling in a gap at 1,320 (about 12 points below where it closed tonight). However, they aren't expecting a meltdown or a double-dip recession: Technical Talk- Same Song, Different Day. They also note that 1st Quarter GDP Forecasts Cut At Major Investment Firms, in part because of higher crude oil prices. Mark Hulbert cites Sam Eisenstadt, Value Line's former research director, who has an excellent track record predicting what the economy and the stock markets will do. He's calling for a September 30 S&P 500 reading of 1,450, or about 9% above where the S&P stands today: A bullish six-month forecast
    Market futures are up slightly tonight.

2011-4-5 (Tuesday Morning): I'm sorry to be half a day late in posting this. Amber fell asleep around 5 p. m. last night, and woke up hungry and energetic at 10 p. m. It was after midnight before we got her asleep again, and could fall into bed.
    The markets are retesting their resistance levels again this morning.


2011-4-4 (Monday Night): The markets ended the day about where they started. The NASDAQ Composite declined a negligible 0.41 points (-0.01%) to 2,789.19: Nasdaq ends win streak. The Dow increased 23.31 points (0.19%) to close at 12,400.03, while the S&P 500 gained a paltry 0.46 points (0.03%) to close at: 1,332.87. Oil bid the day adieu at $108241 a barrel, while Gold vamoosed at $1,438. The VIX rose 0.1 points to 17.50..
    The indices are facing major resistance as they approach their pre-correction highs. There's still the possibility that they could retreat from their current levels and slide to new lows. But it's  time for a pause, if not a brief pullback, or a sideways consolidation..
    Fed chairman Bernanke stated today that the current bout of incipient inflation will prove "transitory".
    Stock market futures are down a bit tonight.


2011-4-1 (Friday Night): The markets soared this morning on the back of a positive jobs report (In charts: Jobless rate) and encouraging remarks by the Fed, and then sagged into the close as oil topped $108 a barrel. The NASDAQ Composite ascended 8.53 points (0.31%) to 2,789.60. The Dow increased 56.99 points (0.46%) to close at 12,376.72, while the S&P 500 gained 6.58 points (0.5%) to close at: 1,332.41. Oil ended the day at $108.31 a barrel, while Gold closed at $1,429. The VIX fell 0.26 points to 17.14..
    The S&P 500 index closed tonight 11 points below its highest close  before the recent correction began. As the trend lines show below, it still

has some way to go... a gain of 40 to 60 points... to catch up with either one of them. One of its notable features is that its rate of rise since it bottomed on March 16th is shallower than the recoveries from other pullbacks (only slightly steeper than the trend line it's chasing), although it matches the latter half of the recovery from last August's decline. After that, stock prices could continue to rise for a month or two before any further major  setback occurs.
    On the other hand, the marketplace is full of surprises. For example, at some point, oil prices could once again engage the attention of the stock market. 
   In his article, In charts: Jobless rate, Mark Hulbert notes that investor sentiment is more pessimistic and anxious than it was on January 1st, which is very bullish for stocks. He also notes that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is close to flashing a strong market "buy" signal Waiting for the signal, All-clear signal for stocks? A close above 12,393, 16 points above where it closed tonight, would confirm a recent new high in the Dow Jones Transportation Average and augur a Dow Theory Forecast "buy" signal.
    Another article warns that it would be wise to "sell in April and go away": April strength makes for a great market exit.


2011-3-31 (Thursday Night): The markets closed mixed today, with the NASDAQ up a few points and the Dow and the S&P down a few points: Big hopes for jobs report. The NASDAQ Composite rose 4.8 points (0.15%) to 2,781.07. The Dow fell 30.88 points (-0.25%) to close at 12,319.72, while the S&P 500 retreated 2.43 points (-0.18%) to close at: 1,325.83. Oil ended the day at $104.62 a barrel, while Gold closed at $1,427. The VIX was unchanged at  17.74..
   The markets are waiting for tomorrow' monthly jobs report. About the only real news is that the the Fed's Kocherlakota says 2011 hikes 'possible'.
    Should you sell in April and go away?
    Market futures are up slightly tonight,


2011-3-30 (Wednesday Night): The markets reached new two-year highs: Dow soars to 6-week high. The NASDAQ Composite added 19.9 points (0.72%) to 2,776.79. The Dow gained 71.6 points (0.58%) to close at 12,350.61, while the S&P 500 advanced 8.82 points (-0.67%) to close at: 1,328.26. Oil ended the day at $104.62 a barrel, while Gold closed at $1,427. The VIX was unchanged at to 17.71
    The chart below shows how the recovery is coming:

The markets are due for a consolidation soon. Market futures are down slightly tonight.
    Obama outlines oil plan.
    Rex Nutting writes, On inflation, don’t believe your eyes.


2011-3-29 (Tuesday Night): To my surprise, the markets rose again today: Street powers back higher. The NASDAQ Composite added 12.38 points (-0.45%) to 2,730. The Dow gained 22.71 points (-0.19%) to close at 12,197.88, while the S&P 500 advanced 3.67 points (-0.27%) to close at: 1,310.19. Oil ended the day at $103.41 a barrel, while Gold closed at $1,420. The VIX was unchanged at to 19.24
    I personally expect to see the markets climb as the recovery continues.       
    Ashbaugh stakes out bull-bear battleground      
    The next oil shock?    
    Confidence slides in March.  
    Irwin Kellner has written, Home prices slide, but end may be near.  
    Market futures are up slightly tonight.  
      
2011-3-29 (Tuesday Afternoon): Most of what I would have said last night has been overtaken by today's events.


2011-3-28 (Monday Night): The markets fell a little today on light volume. The NASDAQ Composite gave up 12.38 points (-0.45%) to 2,730. The Dow dipped 22.71 points (-0.19%) to end at 12,197.88, while the S&P 500 gave backed 3.67 points (-0.27%) to close at: 1,310.19. Oil ended the day at $103.41 a barrel, while Gold closed at $1,420. The VIX was unchanged at to 19.24
    I've run of of time tonight. I'll have to finish this tomorrow.
    Market futures are flat tonight.


2011-3-27 (Sunday Night): Stock market futures are flat tonight, and the markets are on the edge between "buy" and "go to cash".


2011-3-25 (Friday Night): The markets rose a little more today in a way that points toward a not-unexpected down day early next week: Bulls have the bears' number. The NASDAQ Composite increased 6.64 points (0.24%) to 2,743.06. The Dow gained 50.03 points (0.41%) to end at 12,220.59, while the S&P 500 incremented 4.14 points (0.32%) to close at: 1,313.80. Oil ended the day at $105.52 a barrel, while Gold closed at $1,430. The VIX fell to 17.09
      
      
    The chart above shows how this retrenchment looks in relation to other ups-and-downs over  the past year. The S&P 500 has successfully broken through its resistance at 1300 but has bounced down from 1320. It's now up 70 points from its low, with the potential for, perhaps, about 40-to-50 additional points of "upside potential" to catch up with its bullish trend line. Of course, presumably, it will then continue to rise, albeit at a slower pace. 
    The catalyst for today's market rise was probably the fact that last year's 4th quarter GDP was revised upward to 3.1%: GDP: An even higher all-time high.
    There are two commentaries on inflation from Fed members: Consumer-sentiment index falls in March and Plosser: Funds rate should hit 2.5% in year
    Right now, I'm investing in the 2X S&P 500 ETF, SSO, to take advantage of the presumed stock market rebound. (I sold my position in SSO this afternoon in anticipation of a possible temporary market reversal on Monday morning, but I'll play it by ear on Monday, buying it back if the market moves up.) 


2011-3-24 (Thursday Night): Don't look now but the markets have been sneaking back up. The NASDAQ Composite added 38.12 points (1.41%) to 2,736.42. The Dow rose 84.54 points (0.7%) to 12,170.56, while the S&P 500 advanced 12.12 points (0.93%) to close at: 1,309.66. Oil ended the day at $105.21 a barrel, while Gold adjusted to $1,428. The VIX fell to 18.02
    Perhaps the most significant thing about today is that the markets broke above their resistance levels and are cleared for a resumption of the bull market: Cover Your Ears If You're a Bear . In particular, the markets are advancing in the face of bad news: Technical Talk: Back on the Bandwagon?  
    TopStock Portfolios' David Manning has some insights to share in Bad News For Stock Pickers: 'Risk Trade' May Be Here To Stay. The gist of this article is that stock-picking may be more-or-less a thing of the past. The problems he relates are that (1)  the investment community has begun to invest in the investment themes ("macro trades") that are in fashion at any given time (such as emerging markets, oil, shorting the markets, etc.), (2) investors are switching between "risk on/risk off" trading, and (3) the increasing use of ETF indexes in lieu of baskets of individual stocks. Mr. Manning explains that the "risk on/risk off" approach as follows:  
    "
The idea here is instead of spending time doing company research (which is VERY expensive and VERY time consuming, by the way), traders today simply “put risk on” (via leveraged ETF’s, futures and derivatives) when the news is good and the market is moving up, and then “go the other way” by taking risk off (and/or by putting shorts on) whenever things start to get ugly. The bottom line here is that using a risk on/off approach is quicker than stocks, easier than stocks, and much cheaper than creating, maintaining and trading baskets of stocks. So, if you are a fast-money type, there is no need to do any research on things as silly as earnings or company fundamentals when you can “bomb in” or out of the overall market or specific indices with the click of a button (or better yet, you can always program the computer to do it for you!)."
    Marketwatch's Tomi Kilgore writes, "Mob mentality is driving the markets". (I favor David Manning's interpretation.)
    Market futures are up about 0.3% tonight.


2011-3-22 (Tuesday Night): Last night, I wrote that, " Typically, the next move from here could be a dip or consolidation after the run-up of the past few days: Quick Comments: Better Safe Than Sorry. If so, it might be a good buying opportunity: Ready For The Rebound?. As it turned out, that's what happened. The NASDAQ Composite slipped 8.22 points (-0.31%) to 2,683.87. The Dow dipped 17.90 points (-0.15%) to 12,018.63, while the S&P 500 ponied up 4.61 points (-0.36%) to close at: 1,293.77. Oil hit a new high of $105.23 a barrel, while Gold adjusted to $1,429. The VIX fell to 20.21
    The logical next move might be a retest of last week's low. The fact that oil ran above $104 a barrel (and is now sitting above $105 a barrel) initiated a downward bias in today's markets. This bias is built into tomorrow's opening, with market futures down, and falling tonight. I know. You're saying, "That's ridiculous! The economy's moving up, and the markets are obviously going to follow the economy." But markets find a "wall of worry": Stocks face 'tremendous' risks, and toot out potential perils to worry about. Mark Hulbert's article tonight says, There’s a huge wall of worry out there. If the markets retest their lows, I'll wait until they start back up, and then I'll buy.


2011-3-21 (Monday Night): The markets rose resoundingly today, with the Dow climbing nearly 180 points. The NASDAQ Composite rose 48.42 points (1.83%) to 2,692.09. The Dow leaped 178.01 points (1.5%) to 12,036.53, while the S&P 500 vaulted up 19.18 points (1.5%) to close at: 1,298.38. Oil advanced to $102.54 a barrel, while Gold climbed to $1,431. The VIX fell to 20.61
    Typically, the next move from here could be a dip or consolidation after the run-up of the past few days: Quick Comments: Better Safe Than Sorry. If so, it might be a good buying opportunity: Ready For The Rebound?
    Marketwatch's William Watts writes, Dollar’s safe-haven status evaporates..
    Market futures are slightly lower tonight.   


2011-3-18 (Friday Night): The markets rose somewhat again today, although it was an up-and-down ride.  The NASDAQ Composite rose 7.62 points (0.29%) to 2,643.67. The Dow gained 83.93 points (0.71%) to 11,858.52, while the S&P 500 added 5.48 points (0.43%) to close at: 1,279.20. Oil was essentially unchanged at $101.62 a barrel, while Gold climbed to $1,419. The VIX ended at 26.44
    What happens next will depend upon this weekend's news.


2011-3-17 (Thursday Night): Today, the markets came part way back: Dow's best day in weeksThe NASDAQ Composite rose 19.23 points (0.73%) to 2,636.05. The Dow gained 161.29 points (1.39%) to 11,774.59, while the S&P 500 added 16.84 points (1.34%) to close at: 1,273.72. Oil jumped up to $101.70 a barrel, while Gold climbed to $1,404. The VIX rose 3.03 points to close at 26.37
    While today saw a nice little pop, it was far from a turnaround. In the meantime, the UN Security Council has approved air strikes and, sub rosa, perhaps other forms of interventions to stop Qaddafi from crushing his Libyan rebels: U.N. takes on Libya: "Military strikes expected within hours, reports say. Security Council votes 10 to 0 supporting 'all necessary measures,' including no-fly zone to protect civilians and rebel forces from Gadhafi."
    Oil has immediately jumped to $103 a barrel.
    So far, Japan's attempts to cool their reactor have been only partially successfu.
    Right now, market futures are up
0.8%.
    Brett Arends writes: Ten stocks to look at in the panic, while Jonathon Burton suggests that we: Buy what's used to rebuild.


2011-3-16 (Wednesday Night): The markets have fallen deeper today than they did yesterday.  The NASDAQ Composite closed down another 50.51 points (-1.89%) to 2,616.82. The Dow dipped 242.12 points (-2.04%) to 11,613.30, while the S&P 500 dropped 24.99 points (-1.95%) to close at: 1,256.88. Oil ended the day a little higher, at $98.28 a barrel, while Gold fell to $1,4397. The VIX rose 5.08 points to close at 29.40 after spiking above 31. 
    The market began climbing until 11 a. m. Eastern time. Then a remark that had been made several hours earlier and ignored, suddenly caught the attention Wall Street's  "headline-o-phagic" trading computers and triggered a massive stock sale. The remark was a statement by the European Union's energy chief, Guenther Oettinger, that the situation is out of control. He warned that there could be dire happenings within hours. 
    It should be noted that the worst thing that could happen would be a meltdown of one or more of the reactor cores, releasing a relatively small, highly radioactive plume into the atmosphere. Right now, the wind is blowing from the east, transporting colloidal radioactive solids away from the Japanese islands over the Pacific. As long as the continues to blow from the east, the results should be harmless (unless you're a fish swimming east of Japan). My guess is that these particles will settle out of the atmosphere fairly quickly, and that they will be washed out of the air by rainfall. Also, they'll be hugely diluted as the cloud expands into the vast expanse of the atmosphere. This Japanese catastrophe is being described as a debacle falling between Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl (which, I'm reading, was worse than Three-Mile Island by a factor of a thousand). Chernobyl caused no problems for the Americas, and we're being told that the same would be true for Fukushima reactors. 
    Tomorrow, a power line is being installed that will, hopefully, power the pumps that cool the reactor cores and spent-fuel pools: Japan Nuclear Update: New Power Line Could 'Solve Crisis', Hopes high of getting electricity to crippled Japan nuclear plant.
    Meanwhile, there's other ominous news: Saudi Shi'ites protest, support Bahrain brethren, and the fact that Inflation could stall recovery: Swonk (audio)
and Producer prices up 1.6% on food-price jump. Also, Housing's deep freeze.
    Mark Hulbert writes: Gold: Sell first — and then ask questions.
    Brett Arends presents Contrarian’s trouble with new bubble.
    Market futures are neutral tonight.   
    As the chart below shows, we're well past last November's decline.    


2011-3-15 (Tuesday Night): Same story as yesterday: the markets crashed at the beginning of the day but then partially recovered. The NASDAQ Composite closed down another 33.64 points (-1.25%) to 2,667.33. The Dow dipped 137.74 points (-1.15%) to 11,855.42, while the S&P 500 dropped 14.52 points (-1.12%) to close at: 1,281.97. Oil ended the day a little higher, at $97.95 a barrel, while Gold fell to $1,400. The VIX rose 3.19 points to close at 24.32: CBOE's VIX 'fear index' sees record volume.
    The news that has partially driven this market meltdown is the continuing threat of real reactor meltdowns, and their financial implications.    
    Michael Ashbaugh warns that U.S. indexes’ plunge points to new trend. The intermediate-term trend is now down.
    Topstock Portfolios is also looking for an extended correction period: Joined At The Hip? At the same time, because this is news-driven, it may end sooner than expected: Short-term hit seen to Japan economy. Mark Hulbert notes that: The retreat of the bulls may be good sign.
    Market futures are up a bit tonight, although a lot can change between now and morning.  


2011-3-14 (Monday Night): The markets partially recovered by the end of the day, but not enough to avoid triggering a "sell" signal: U.S. stocks finish in the red as Japan remains in focusThe NASDAQ Composite gave up 14.64 points (-0.54%) to 2,700.97. The Dow dipped 51.54 points (-0.43%) to 11,993.16, while the S&P 500 dropped 7.89 points (-0.6%) to close at: 1,296.39. Oil ended the day a little higher, at $100.59 a barrel, while Gold closed at $1,425. The VIX rose 1.05 points to close at 21.13.
    Today's price action took all three main market indices below their 50-day moving averages, which is generally a "sell" signal. So far, this is looking similar to last November, but it's far from over. 
    Market futures are way down tonight (1¼ %). Now it's time to short the markets. My choices for this purpose are SDS, the Proshares Ultrashort S&P 500 ETF (currently at $22), or TZA, the Direxion Daily Small Cap Bear 3X ETF (currently at $41.95). there's been a third explosion at Japan's Fukushima nuclear facility, causing dives in Asian markets and U. S. futures.

    A final update on whether or not to short the markets should be available from TopStock Portfolios tomorrow morning before the markets open.

2011-3-14 (Monday Noon): The markets have fallen into the basement. In particular, they've broken through their 50-day moving averages, as well as other resistance levels. However, it's still not quite time to short the markets (although that could change at any moment). To the extent to which this breakdown is news-driven, the markets could still recover. At the moment, the indices are in low-volume plateaus. They're currently setting up wedge patterns from which breakouts will soon occur. Usually, the indices break in the direction in which they were initially heading (in this case, down), and these wedges have the bottoms falling and the bottoms flat, suggesting further downward action. How the indices emerge from their plateaus should tell the tale. 
      


2011-3-11 (Friday Night): The markets rose smartly today, though it remains to be seen whether this marks a market recovery or whether it's a hump in a falling market.  The NASDAQ Composite rose 14.59 points (0.59%) to 2,715.61. The Dow gained 59.79 points (0.5%) to 12,044.40, while the S&P 500 added 9.79 points (0.71%) to close at: 1,304.28. Oil ended the day a little lower, at $100.59 a barrel, while Gold closed at $1,420. The VIX rose 1.8 points to close at 20.08.
     Mark Hulbert writes: March Madness and your portfolio 
     Howard Gold tells a cautionary tale: Dow 36,000 man back, with yet more advice
     Ethics editor Thomas Kostigan has an interesting article: Global trust in business is on the rise
     In my view, the best information of which I'm aware is to be found on the TopStock Portfolios website: Technical Talk: Bulls Trying To Hold On, and Taking Another Look?


2011-3-10 (Thursday Night): In the end, the markets closed below their resistance levels, but they went not gently into that good night. The NASDAQ Composite fell 50.7 points (-1.84%) to 2,701.02. The Dow plummeted 228.48 points (-1.87%) to 11,984.61, while the S&P 500 dropped 24.91 points (-1.89%) to close at: 1,295.11. Oil ended the day a little lower, at $102.58 a barrel, while Gold ended at $1,411. The VIX rose 1.66 points to close at 21.68.
    I wondered last night what piece of news was lowering market futures. Apparently, it was a wake-up call about U. S treasury bonds issued by Bill Gross, the co-CEO of PIMCO. PIMCO is the 800-pound gorilla in the bond world, with over one trillion dollars under management: A Not-So Subtle Tip: Sell Gov't Bond Funds Now. Mr. Gross presents three pie charts in his latest monthly investment newsletter. The first pie chart shows a breakout of the traditional buyers of U. S. Treasuries... about 40% to U. S. customers, 50% to foreign customers, and 10% to the Federal Reserve. The second chart shows the current buyers of Treasuries... 30% foreign and 70% Federal Reserve. The third chart asks who will buy U. S. Treasuries after June, when the Fed terminates its Quantitative Easing II bond purchases? Mr. Gross' conclusion is that interest rates may have to rise substantially to attract more buyers and fund the deficit once the Fed curtails its bond-buying program. And that could derail the recovery.
    In addition to the threat to the economic recovery, stun bombs and guns were used against Saudi protestors today: Brace for $200 oil if unrest spreads in Saudi Arabia.  
    In The retreat of the bulls , Mark Hulbert notes that investors have become quite a bit more cautious over the past twelve days. 
    Bull market should see third anniversary  
    Technical Talk: The Battle For 1300 Is On
    Market futures are a bit higher tonight.   
      
2011-3-10 (Thursday Afternoon): Richard Meiers at TopStock Portfolios is warning that it's probably too early to short the markets just yet: Mid-Day Market Update: Sell Signals Piling Up, But....

2011-3-10
(Thursday Morning):
 It's possible that this might be the final dip, the "capitulation of the bulls" when everyone sells their best stocks, followed by a rapid climb: Happy Anniversary, but the charts don't look that way. The Underground Trader observes that today is "rollover" day for the S&P e-minis futures contracts.
    In the meantime, oil has slid below $101, and is falling toward $100 a barrel, catching the oil traders by their futures contracts. The price of oil certainly isn't driving the markets lower. There has been some slightly bad news: Recovery fears slam Street, but nothing that wouldn't normally be shrugged off: Quick Comments: A Change In Market Tone?, The Underground Trader: What's going On With Futures?. The Underground Trader suggests that this sell-off might have to do with the announcement by PIMCO's Bill Gross that he has dumped all U. S. Treasury bonds.
    In this kind of random walk, the best move to make is probably none at all... to wait until the dust settles before making a move.


2011-3-9 (Wednesday Night): Stock markets ended the day flat: Dow struggling for gains. The NASDAQ Composite lost 14.05 points (-0.51%) to 2,751.72. The Dow inched down 1.29 points (-0.01%) to 12,213.09, while the S&P 500 slipped 1.8 points (-0.14%) to close at: 1,320.02. Oil ended the day a little lower, at $104.05 a barrel, while Gold ended at $1,430. The VIX rose 0.38 points to close at 20.19.
    It's an interesting fact that the S&P 500 and many lesser stocks have set up wedge or pennant formations that have reached the points at which they break out either above or below their trading ranges: Foreshadowing?, Technical Talk: Important Juncture On The Charts. Tomorrow or Friday could see breakouts of the major trading indices. Market futures are seriously down (½ % or more) tonight, so that breakout may be on the downside. There's probably some piece of big news, but so far, I haven't found it. Perhaps in the morning...
    Market pundits are banging the gloom-and-doom drum on this second anniversary of the current bull market: Investor lessons as bull market turns two, Bull markets and the judgment of history, and Dailey: Bull market ready to retire (video). "The S&P 500 has doubled since it hit its bear-market bottom on March 9, 2009." What they don't bother to mention is that the bear-market bottom in 2009 was the deepest since The Depression... down more 57% from its October, 2007, high, It would have to rise 15% to get back where it was 3½ years ago. Furthermore, the recovery from this Great Recession has required a huge Keynesian stimulus program, and is occurring very slowly. When we start comparing this bull market with other bul markets, we're comparing apples with an orange. But, of course, the markets could see a long, deep correction. And I could be wrong about what's coming next. The QE II program is currently scheduled to phase out in June. But the arguments I'm reading aren't about a double-dip recession, but about the idea that the markets have come so far so fast that they must be running out of steam.
    The stock market will do what it wants to do, and I'll try to respond to it as best I can. But I don't buy the (in my view fallacious) argument that the market should run out of steam because it's come so far so fast.


2011-3-8 (Tuesday Night): Stock markets rose today, though remaining well-embedded in their trading ranges: U.S. stocks surge on bank-dividend hopes. The NASDAQ Composite gained 20.14 points (0.73%) to 2,765.77. The Dow climbed 124.35 points (1.03%) to 12,214.38, while the S&P 500 added 11.69 points (0.89%) to close at: 1,321.82. Oil ended the day basically unchanged, at $104.61 a barrel, while Gold slid to $1,427. The VIX dropped 0.84 points to settle at 19.82.
    This article, News-Driven Markets: Our Favorite Ways To Play, discusses why the markets have been so chaotic over the past eleven trading days, and  lists four strategies for dealing with this. (There have been days when just about every stock I could find has gone down.) It mentions the fact that the markets are being driven by computer-trading programs that, in turn, are driven by the scanning of news headlines. 

    The above chart of the NASDAQ Composite shows how the last eleven trading days look from a longer-term perspective. So far, the markets have trended upward, with two down days followed by two up days, though with dizzying downdrafts every fourth day. A similar pattern in November took a month to regain its original starting level. 
    Stock market futures are neutral tonight.  


2011-3-7 (Monday Night): Stocks closed down for the day, moving close to the bottoms of their trading ranges: A volatile day (video). The NASDAQ Composite was hit the hardest, falling 39.04 points (-1.4%) to 2,745.63. The Dow declined 88.32 points (-0,72%) to 12,169.88, while the S&P 500 subtracted 9.52 points (-0.74%) to close at: 1,3321.15. Oil ended the day at $104.42 a barrel, while Gold slid to $1,433. The VIX tacked on 0.46 points settle at 19.06
    So far at least, the market indices have risen and fallen within a trading range, consistent with a period of consolidation. Will Libya will sooner or later lose its status as the world's focal point? With the market indices dependent upon the vagaries of the news and computer-driven trading systems, The better part of valor may be to wait for this range-bound trading to resolve either up or down. Trading in the midst of this is challenging.
    Bullish on large-cap stocks "Advisers are far more upbeat about the market‘s prospects than they were six months ago." Money
    Rex Nutting has written a surprising (to me) article: America is still No. 1 in manufacturing.
    Stock market futures are up about ⅓ % tonight.

2011-3-7 (Monday Afternoon): As unsettling as is today's market declines, stocks are (so far) trading within their trading ranges as oil backs away from $107 a barrel to $105 a barrel.

2011-3-6
(Sunday Night):
   Oil is at $106 a barrel and climbing tonight, while U. S. stock futures, and Asian markets are down and falling. This price boost is most likely hedge funds and other traders "piling on" in the oils futures market. But the last time the speculators took over, oil went to $147 a barrel before the speculation ran its course. At the same time, this price gouging could elicit dramatic responses from the international community. But right now, the trend for stocks is down.


2011-3-4 (Friday Night):   The stock market continued its decline until half an hour before the end of the trading day. Then it rallied partially, though not enough to finish in the black. The NASDAQ Composite gave back 14.97 points (-0.05%) to 2,784.67. The Dow redacted 88.32 points (-0,72%) to 12,169.88, while the S&P 500 subtracted 9.52 points (-0.74%) to close at: 1,3321.15. Oil ended the day at $104.42 a barrel, while Gold slid to $1,433. The VIX tacked on 0.46 points settle at 19.06
    Topstock Portfolios explains that today's mal de mer was strictly a consequence of oil prices: Friday's Action - All About Crude. All the other news was good: Factory Orders Above Expectations in January, Jobs Report Shows Improvement; Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.9%, Nation's Retailers Report Good Results in February. By Monday, oil will probably have stepped across the $105-a-barrel threshold. (It's at $104.91 tonight.): Cardillo: Oil prices will hit $115 a barrel, soon Since it's probably being driven more by speculation than by tangible supply-and-demand, it's hard to know how high it will rise before it crashes back to its Plimsoll Line. In the meantime, so far at least, market indices have remained within a trading range.
    Personally, I suspect that there will be further stock market shocks emanating from the Middle East and North Africa before the dust settles. Long-term, I wouldn't expect this to affect to global recovery, but short-term, with traders surfing the market's waves, we may see even greater market swings than have manifested themselves so far. Foreign military intervention in Libya would, I should think, send the world's stock markets into a transient tailspin. 
    A lot is being said about the fact that this bull market is approaching its second birthday (next Wednesday), and comparing it to previous cyclical bull markets.  But I try to remind myself that this has not been a typical bear mark