Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

USRant: Man, I've GOT to get a USB Keyboard today...

Note - from June 24th 2009, this blog has migrated from Blogger to a self-hosted version. Click here to go straight there.

This typing on the notebook rubbish is making my fingers hurt, and it is taking me AGES to get anything done.

Economic Statistics

The ICSC-UBS Store Sales numbers rose 2.7% for the week, which was the fastest rate of growth since the pre-Christmas week of 2001.

The year-on-year rate jumped to 4.3 percent, the fastest growth rate year on year since July 04 (i.e.,m the previous post-holiday shopping period) and compared with 3.5 percent in the prior week.

Although the blip looks impressive, it remains that the "period since Thanksgiving" sales have only risen 2.5 to 3.0% as `compared with the same period last year... that means (as I've said before) that nominal sales growth is running at a pace which is much lower than supposed "real" GDP growth; in fact, recent sales growth trends mean that full-year sales growth will be lower than even the massaged hedonicised inflation rate. That's zero real growth, goys and girls.

An hour after the ICSC-UBS report, Redbook reported its measure of retail chain store sales, and looked far less robust, showing sales just 3% ahead of last year's corresponding week. The Redbook was also less upbeat in its commentary, describing the pattern of activity as uneven.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence index showed that the silly season is upon us, with all indicators showing irrational exuberance. The ConCon number was 102.3, beating the consensus guess (93.0, with a range of 90.5 to 97.1) by a wide margin.

The biggest area of interest in this report was that almost 2.5% more people declared that jobs were plentiful, and the number declaring jobs hard to find fell by a correpsonding proportion - but this survey doesn't track either consumer spending or payrolls data very well at all, so it's nothing to hang your hat on.

There was the usual weekly auciton of 4-week bills - it cleared at 1.84% yield (down from 1.88% last week) as the lower auction volume (another $10b) helped raise prices by constricting supply. The bid to cover ratio dropped from 3.14x to 2.576x. Forthcoming US Economic Data

Tomorrow's US Economic Data Calendar

Federal Reserve Open Market Operations

The Fed's Open Market Operations desk performed 1 repurchase operation last night:

  • a $6.25billion, overnight repurchase with $0.568billion in T-backed collateral .

The biggest proportion of the repo was in the mortgage-backed market - can anyone spell "urgent - Fannie Mae needs support".

Major US Indices

The DJIA added 78.41 points (0.73%), closing out the day at 10854.54 points; the broader S&P500 added 8.62 points (0.72%), closing at 1213.54. Over at Times Square, the Nasdaq Composite advanced 22.97 points (1.07%), to close at 2177.19, while larger-cap technology issues fared worse with the Nasdaq100 adding 16.6 points (1.03%), to end at 1624.19 points.

NYSE Volume was modest, with 0.98 billion shares changing hands, while Nasdaq Volume was about average, with 1.59 billion shares being shifted around

Nasdaq Composite2177.1922.971.07%
NYSE Volume0.98bn--
Nasdaq Volume1.59bn--


My 9-stock "bellwethers" group rose by an average of 0.62%

  • Fannie Mae (FNM) +$0.12 (0.17%) to $69.84;
  • Citigroup (C) +$0.04 (0.08%) to $48.35;
  • Freddie Mac (FRE) +$0.70 (0.98%) to $72.49;
  • Wal Mart (WMT) +$0.44 (0.83%) to $53.23;
  • IBM (IBM) +$0.80 (0.82%) to $98.30;
  • Ebay Inc (EBAY) +$3.30 (2.92%) to $116.16;
  • General Electric (GE) +$0.12 (0.33%) to $36.69;
  • Cisco Systems (CSCO) -$0.04 (0.21%) to $19.26;
  • Intel (INTC) -$0.09 (0.39%) to $23.28;

Market Breadth & Internals

NYSE advancing Issues exceeded decliners by 2474 to 871 for a single-day A/D reading of 1603; let's get this year-end stupidity over with. Nasdaq gainers trumped losers by 2266 to 874

NYSE advancing volume exceeded volume in decliners by 783.58 to 179.16 million shares; Nasdaq advancing volume was greater than volume in decliners by 562.56 to 355.05 million shares.

206 NYSE-listed stocks rose to new 52-week highs, and 1 posted a fresh 52-week low. On the Nasdaq there were 171 stocks that hit new 52-week highs, and 3 which fell to fresh 52-week lows

Advancing Volume (m)783.58562.56
Declining Volume (m)179.16355.05
New Highs206171
New Lows13

Market Sentiment

This market is being set up royally; the "takedown" will happen sometime early in the new year, adn will be brutal. My year-end target for 1220-1225 is on track, but the next major swing will be down (probably from just above 11,000 on the Dow).

Equity Call Volume (000)2608.29-952.92-26.76%
Equity Put Volume (000)1045.36-1169.56-52.8%
CBOE Volatility Index12-0.27-2.2%
CBOE Nasdaq Volatility Index17.79-0.81-4.35%
Equity Put-Call Ratio0.4-0.22-35.56%
10-day PCR0.5700%
SPX-VIX Ratio101.133.073.13%

Bond Market Analysis

Bonds fell along the curve, but the damage was more heavily concentrated at the long end, with the yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond rising 9.4 basis points to 4.917%.

UST 13wk (yld)2.2670.031.3%
UST 2Y (yld)3.060.0822.75%
UST 5Y (yld)3.6470.082.3%
UST 10Y (yld)4.2920.1072.56%
UST 30Y (yld)4.9170.0941.95%

The Banks Index posted a rise of 0.52 points (0.5%), closing at 104.43; within the index,

  • PN Financial Services (PNC) +$0.68 (1.2%) to $57.19;
  • Golden West Financial C (GDW) +$0.71 (1.17%) to $61.40;
  • State Street (STT) +$0.48 (0.99%) to $48.90;
  • Suntrust Banks (STI) +$0.70 (0.95%) to $74.15;
  • MBNA Corp (KRB) +$0.26 (0.94%) to $27.99;

The Broker-dealer Index advanced 1.2 points (0.79%), ending the day at 152.73; the ticket clippers lined up as follows -

  • Legg Mason (LM) +$1.24 (1.74%) to $72.40;
  • Jeffries Group (JEF) +$0.63 (1.59%) to $40.13;
  • A G Edwards (AGE) +$0.68 (1.59%) to $43.48;
  • Raymond James (RJF) +$0.38 (1.23%) to $31.20;
  • Ameritrade (AMTD) +$0.13 (0.92%) to $14.27;

The Philadelphia SOX (Semiconductor) index added 3.66 points (0.87%), to 426.75

  • Broadcom (BRCM) +$0.60 (1.91%) to $31.95;
  • Novellus Systems (NVLS) +$0.46 (1.72%) to $27.16;
  • KLA-Tencor (KLAC) +$0.68 (1.51%) to $45.84;
  • Micron Technology (MU) +$0.17 (1.44%) to $11.96;
  • Maxim Integrated (MXIM) +$0.58 (1.42%) to $41.54;

Gold & Silver Markets

Gold fell by $0.8 (0.18%) to close at $445 per ounce.

Gold Bugs Index lost 2.1 points (0.96%), to 216.96

  • Golden Star (GSS) -$0.17 (4.07%) to $4.01;
  • Goldcorp (GG) -$0.38 (2.47%) to $15.02;
  • Coeur d'Alene (CDE) -$0.08 (1.95%) to $4.03;
  • Hecla Mining (HL) -$0.11 (1.81%) to $5.96;
  • Kinross Gold (KGC) -$0.10 (1.39%) to $7.07;

Silver rose $0.04 (0.5%) to close at $7.04 per ounce. The Gold and Silver Index (XAU) lost 0.77 points (0.77%), to end the session at 99.35 points.

  • Durban Roodopoort Deep (DROOY) -$0.06 (3.87%) to $1.49;
  • Goldcorp (GG) -$0.38 (2.47%) to $15.02;
  • Anglogold Ashanti (AU) -$0.56 (1.5%) to $36.79;
  • Kinross Gold (KGC) -$0.10 (1.39%) to $7.07;
PHLX Gold and Silver Index99.351.091.11%
AMEX Gold BUGS Index216.963.081.44%

Oil Market

Oil was firmer, rising by $0.68 per barrel, closing at $41.89 per barrel. The Oil and Gas Index (XOI) added 3.98 points (0.56%), ending the day at 718.35

  • Unocal (UCL) (former employer of HamidKarzai) +$0.65 (1.55%) to $42.65;
  • Sunoco (SUN) +$0.84 (1.05%) to $81.15;
  • Occidental (OXY) (former employter of Donald Rumsfeld) +$0.59 (1.03%) to $58.13;
The Oil service stocks (OSX) Index posted a rise of 0.73 points (0.6%), ending the day at 122.98

  • Global Inds (GLBL) +$0.18 (2.2%) to $8.37;
  • Tidewater (TDW) +$0.52 (1.49%) to $35.40;
  • Transocean (RIG) +$0.50 (1.21%) to $41.85;
Reuters CRB2841.250.44%
Crude Oil Light Sweet41.890.681.65%
AMEX Oil Index718.352.090.29%
Oil Service Index122.98-0.66-0.53%

Currency Markets

Everybody is still holding their fire on the USD, waiting for the BoJ to intervene at or near 100; the market is being perverted by the requirement to second-guess bureaucrats who would starve to death if they had to make aliving in the private sector. Despite this artificial roof over the Yen, every other currency is tennelling the USD; if 80 breaks on the USDX then a break of 100 Yen is a forgone conclusion and that will open the path down to 70 and 66 on the USDX.

US Dollar Index80.80.020.02%
Australian Dollar0.77830.00130.17%
Swiss Franc1.1336-0.0015-0.13%
Canadian Dollar0.82150.00130.16%

European Markets

France's benchmark CAC-40 Index advanced 7.14 points (0.19%), to end the session at 3824.83; the German DAX-30 Index rose 26.43 points (0.62%), closing at 4261.79 points, and in the UK, the FTSE-100 Index added 10.4 points (0.22%), to end the session at 4798.1 points.


Tonight's Pivots (US Futures Market)

R200037 29/32
R100075 27/32
Pivot00037 29/32
S100075 27/32
S200037 29/32