Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

USRant: Waiting On The Oil Report...

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And you thought the Australian session was boring... the US market couldn't make up its mind whether to zig or zag, so it sat there like Buridan's Ass. There was one interesting divergence between the major indices, and that was literally about it as far as items of interest are concerned.

Economic data was thin - the two weekly measures of Chain Store Sales (the ICSC-UBS and Redbook surveys) agreed that sales rose a teensy bit - about 0.1% for the week - and both agree that growth in chain store sales is running at about 3.7% year-over-year.

Apart from that, there was the State Street Investor Confidence Index - which is useful because it uses a measure of portfolio riskiness from actual real-live portfolios. the more risky the bets being taken, the more confident investors are assumed to be about the near future of equity markets.  It swung upwards to 84.5, which was a decent jump from the (revised) May level of 81.4; at some stage I will grab some historical data on this puppy and examine its behaviour at turning points - it strikes me as a candidate for a contrarian indicator (similar to Commitment of Traders reports).

Federal Reserve Open Market Operations

The Fed's Open Market Operations desk performed 1 repurchase operation - a $3.25billion, overnight repurchase with $3.197billion in T-backed collateral. That's never enough to provide juice to the market - although there was a 50 point Dow burst between 10 a.m. and 10:35 that was the most impressive move of the entire day.

Major US Indices

After a wobbly opening, the Dow found its feet at 10 a.m., and rocketed from 10580.87 (which turned out to be its session low) to 10630.36 (which turned out to be its session high). The first-hour swing high was 10520-ish, and breakout traders jumped on when that broke just after the end of the first hour (which is when the market was finishing its 50-point burst). For the next four hours the market traded in a range of less than 30 Dow points... and those breakout traders never saw a cent of profit. Late in the day they obviously gave up across the board, taking the Nasdaq100 to a new session low (the only index that made a lower low in the afternoon).

By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had slid 9.44 points (0.09%), closing out the day at 10599.67 points. The high-low range (10580-10630) - although very narrow - is still not a good guide to just how anal this market was; it was, to use the piscatorial image, tighter than a cod's bumhole (I guess they have to have tight bums otherwise they would take on water, and sink).

Within the blue-chip index, 10 stocks rose, the biggest gainers being Hewlett Packard (HPQ, +3.19% to $24.61) and Caterpillar (CAT, +1.39% to $102.20), which accounted for 17 Dow points between them. Losers in the Dow numbered 19 and were led by Exxon Mobil (XOM, -2.20% to $59.51) and Boeing (BA, -1.40% to $62.78), with these two stocks contributing -17 Dow points worth of downward pressure on the index. Volume traded was tilted in favour of the gainers by 180.6m shares to 139.7m.

The broader S&P500 slid 2.49 points (0.2%), closing at 1213.61; there is still, for some reason, a whopping 7 point spread between the cash index and the futures (I can't recall seeing the number that high for ages). Within the index, gainers numbered 198, while 290 S&P500 stocks fell for the day. Volume was tilted 1.1:1 in favour of the losers with 844.41 million units traded in stocks that lost ground for the day, as compared with 756.39 million traded in the winners .

Over at Times Square, the Nasdaq Composite gained 2.94 points (0.14%), to close at 2091.07, while larger-cap technology issues fared worse with the Nasdaq100 losing 0.83 points (0.05%), to end at 1536.48 points. Within the tech benchmark, gainers numbered 44, while 55 Nasdaq100 stocks fell for the day. Volume was tilted 1.7:1 in favour of the losers with 415.13 million shares traded in the losers compared to 244.33 million in the winners .

NYSE Volume was chunky, with 1.72 billion shares changing hands, while Nasdaq Volume was pretty solid, with 1.6 billion shares traded.

Major Market Statistics
Dow Jones Industrial Average10599.67-9.44-0.09%
Nasdaq Composite2091.072.940.14%
NYSE Volume1.72bn--
Nasdaq Volume1.6bn--


My 9-stock "bellwethers" group rose by an average of 0.23%

  • General Electric (GE) -$0.13 (0.36%) to $36.15;
  • Citigroup (C) -$0.05 (0.11%) to $47.32;
  • Wal Mart (WMT) -$0.33 (0.68%) to $48.53;
  • I.B.M. (IBM) -$0.14 (0.18%) to $76.41;
  • Intel (INTC) +$0.28 (1.04%) to $27.18;
  • Cisco Systems (CSCO) +$0.17 (0.87%) to $19.77;
  • eBay (EBAY) -$0.34 (0.91%) to $36.90;
  • Fannie Mae (FNM) +$0.66 (1.09%) to $61.08; and
  • Freddie Mac (FRE) +$0.87 (1.31%) to $67.23.

Market Breadth & Internals

NYSE declining Issues beat out advancers by 1696 to 1568, for a single-day A/D reading of -128; Nasdaq gainers trumped losers by 1545 to 1482. The 10-day moving average of the A/D line fell to 297.5 on the NYSE, while the 10dma of the Nasdaq A/D fell to 94.1.

On the NYSE declining volume was greater than volume in advancing issues by 958.3 to 733.2 million shares; Nasdaq advancing volume was greater than volume in decliners by 856.2 to 693.2 million shares.

222 NYSE-listed stocks rose to new 52-week highs, and 35 posted fresh 52-week lows, while on the Nasdaq there were 114 stocks that hit new 52-week highs, and 34 which fell to fresh 52-week lows.

Market Breadth Statistics

Advancing Volume (m)733.24856.21
Declining Volume (m)958.25693.17
New Highs222114
New Lows3534

Market Sentiment Statistics
CBOE Volatility Index11.08-0.39-3.4%
CBOE Nasdaq Volatility Index13.43-1.27-8.64%
Equity Put-Call Ratio0.770.1626.23%
10-day PCR0.650.034.85%
SPX-VIX Ratio109.53.513.31%

Bond Market Analysis

Bonds rose at the long end, with the yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond shedding 5.1 bps to 4.333%. The 30-year T-bond futures spiked almost a full point, closing at 117&8/32.

The middle of the yield curve was broadly higher in price: five year yields fell to 3.84%, and ten-year yields fell to 4.049%.

Spreads between short-dated (2-yr) Treasuries and high-grade corporate bonds of similar maturity profiles were unchanged (at 0 basis points - i.e., 2-yr corporate paper is considered no riskier than Treasuries... what a farce). Spreads between longer dated Treasuries and their corporate AAA counterparts fell - to 43.0 bps for 10-year AAA, and 87.0 bps for 20-years.

Credit spreads (spreads between corporate bonds of the same maturity profile but different creditworthiness) were broadly wider with the AAA-A spread on 20-years 5.0 bps wider at 36.0 basis points and the 10-year AAA-A spread 12.0 bps wider at 11.0 bps. Someone must be 'doing their balls' (as the saying goes) in the 10-year corporate bond market - that spread is gyrating around like a mad woman in the snow.

Treasury Yields
UST 13wk (yld)2.9500%
UST 2Y (yld)3.67-0.03-0.81%
UST 5Y (yld)3.84-0.045-1.16%
UST 10Y (yld)4.049-0.054-1.32%
UST 30Y (yld)4.333-0.051-1.16%

The Banks Index declined 0 points (0%), to end the session at 99.62; within the index,

  • Northern Trust (NTRS) -$0.30 (0.65%) to $46.00;
  • Keycorp (KEY) -$0.20 (0.6%) to $33.28;
  • PNC Financial Services (PNC) -$0.29 (0.53%) to $54.80;
  • BB&T Corp (BBT) -$0.20 (0.5%) to $40.02; and
  • Golden West Financial (GDW) -$0.32 (0.48%) to $65.68.

The Broker-dealer Index rose 0.18 points (0.12%), closing at 150.41; the ticket clippers lined up as follows -

  • Ameritrade (AMTD) +$0.23 (1.58%) to $14.82;
  • Lehman Brothers (LEH) +$1.10 (1.14%) to $97.69;
  • Legg Mason (LM) +$0.93 (1.1%) to $85.61;
  • Raymond James (RJF) +$0.23 (0.83%) to $27.92; and
  • Jeffries Group (JEF) +$0.01 (0.03%) to $37.89.

The Philadelphia SOX (Semiconductor) index added 3.06 points (0.71%), closing at 431.36

  • Freescale Semiconductors (FSL-B) +$0.58 (2.7%) to $22.06;
  • Broadcom (BRCM) +$0.76 (2.13%) to $36.41;
  • Marvell Tech Group (MRVL) +$0.73 (1.89%) to $39.45;
  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) +$0.27 (1.54%) to $17.80; and
  • Texas Instruments (TXN) +$0.36 (1.3%) to $28.00.

Gold & Silver Markets

Gold rose $0.50 (0.11%) to close at $438.90 per ounce. The overnight-session going was tough, with Gold at one stage being down almost $3, but once the NY day session opened it was pretty much one-way traffic - up. From the NY session open to 1:30 NY time, August Gold went from $437 to $441 - a pretty impressive move.

Gold Bugs Index added 2.08 points (1.06%), to end the session at 198.95

  • Eldorado Gold (EGO) +$0.13 (5.18%) to $2.64;
  • Randgold Resources (GOLD) +$0.41 (2.96%) to $14.25;
  • Harmony Gold (HMY) +$0.22 (2.73%) to $8.29;
  • Golden Star (GSS) +$0.08 (2.61%) to $3.14; and
  • Glamis Gold (GLG) +$0.31 (1.92%) to $16.47.

Silver rose $0.02 (0.21%) to close at $7.31 per ounce. The Gold and Silver Index (XAU) gained 0.39 points (0.43%), ending the day at 91.78 points.

  • Harmony Gold (HMY) +$0.22 (2.73%) to $8.29;
  • Placer Dome (PDG) +$0.31 (2.03%) to $15.56;
  • Kinross Gold (KGC) +$0.04 (0.69%) to $5.83; and
  • Agnico Eagle (AEM) +$0.08 (0.64%) to $12.58.
Precious Metals and Indices
PHLX Gold and Silver Index91.780.390.43%
AMEX Gold BUGS Index198.952.081.06%

Oil Market

Oil lost ground after the August contract was unable to penetrate the $60 mark: the intraday high was $59.95, and at a couple of stages $60 was the offer, but nobody was prepared to be the dickhead who bought $60 and then ate a huge reversal.

After a couple of attempts, the crude market gave up and dropped over $1, eventually closing with a fall of $0.20 per barrel, closing at $58.90 per barrel. I would be surprised if this is the start of the reversal I talked about yesterday; I would expect a bigger upmove, a huge influx of nuffnuffs, and then a nuffie-massacre; that said, a lot of journalists are waffling about oil prices, so it's time for them to fall. When journalists are singing the Yazz classic "The Only Way Is Up", you can only make money by being short.

The Oil and Gas Index (XOI) shed 16.36 points (1.79%), ending the day at 895.15

  • Amerada Hess (AHC) -$3.82 (3.44%) to $107.11;
  • Marathon Oil (MRO) -$1.79 (3.28%) to $52.85; and
  • ConocoPhillips (COP) -$1.89 (3.14%) to $58.23.

The Oil service stocks (OSX) Index dipped 3.03 points (2.05%), to 144.94

  • Global Industries (GLBL) -$0.43 (4.61%) to $8.79;
  • Transocean (RIG) -$2.12 (3.73%) to $54.78; and
  • National Oilwells/Varco (NOV) -$1.72 (3.55%) to $46.74.
Energy Complex
Reuters CRB311.69-1.94-0.62%
Crude Oil Light Sweet58.9-0.2-0.34%
Heating Oil1.624-0.04-2.17%
Natural Gas7.512-0.09-1.22%
Unleaded Gas1.6151-0.03-1.7%
AMEX Oil Index895.15-16.36-1.79%
Oil Service Index144.94-3.03-2.05%

Currency Markets

USD Exchange Rates
US Dollar Index88.12-0.37-0.42%
Australian Dollar0.78090.00530.68%
Swiss Franc1.2658-0.0051-0.4%
Canadian Dollar0.81190.00240.3%