Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

USRant: Still Hand-Made... But YOWCH...

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Hoo Nellie - what a session. It all looked so promising until the mid-afternoon, when the CEO of AT&T mentioned that just maybe they faced soft demand. Frankly I don't see that as a genuine catalyst - after all, the market had weathered absolutely horrific front-month Pending Home sales (-2.7%.. although past months were revised upwards). It had weathered them with nary a murmur; it had also weathered weak ICSC-UBSChain Store sales (showing a year-over year increase of just 1.9%).

At 1 p.m. there was a Treasury auction - a 4 week bill auction - which took place at a final rate of 3.24%, which was not horrible.

Late in the session (3 p.m.) there was new day-da on Consumer Credit, which was stronger than expected (consensus was for an increase of about $9 billion and the actual number was about 15 billion). So that's not the catalyst.

The pumps were not really primed for the session though - The Fed gave absolutely zero Treasury-backed repurchase oomph to the market today - da Boyz must be chafing since we are heading to the period in which Citi is usually goosed using repo dough, in order to kill off puts before expiration.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped -238.42 points (-1.86%) to 12589.07 points; for the majority of the session the Dow wandered around the UNCH line, and in fact stuck its nose above 12900 for the briefest time just after 10 a,m. NY time. In fact the Dow was still above the gain line with a little over 90 minutes to go in the session... and then fell right off a cliff.

Still, 6 Dow components managed to gain ground for the session, includiing Merck (MRK, +1.74 (3.00%) on volume of 20.6 million shares).

The S&P500 dropped -25.99 points (-1.84%) to 1390.19 points, but it was far worser in Techland - the Nasdaq Composite dropped -58.95 points (-2.36%) to 2440.51 points and the Nasdaq100 dropped -47.11 points (-2.41%) to 1910.33 points.

Total Volume traded on the NYSE was 4.63 billion shares, of which 3.72 billion was transacted in stocks that wound up on the losing side of the ledger, and just 900 million shares traded in gainers. Advancing Issues traded on the NYSE was 1193 shares, which seems pretty good until you see that declining issued numbered 2134. Only 58 stocks made new 52-week highs, while 516 issues plumbed new 52-week depths.

Nasdaq Total Volume was 2.54 billion shares: 2.02 billion shares in 2120 decliners, and 500 million-odd in 916 advancers. 66 stocks made new highs, and 437 made new lows.

The Feb 08 contract in Gold (GCG8) added $18.6 (2.16%) to $880.60 an ounce - another closing record, if my finger-based counting method is still working as advertised. Meanwhile the front month in Silver (SIH8 - March 08) added 52.5 cents (3.43%) to $15.815 per ounce.

Crude Oil - fresh from scorching the nuffnuffs for a few days - reverted to the upside, adding $1.21 to $96.30 (but getting as high as 97.54... just enough to trigger the stops of the nuffnuffs who shorted the bottom over the last two days).