Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

USRant: Obvious, But Neat Nonetheless...

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Well, I think that yesterday's USRant was reasonably unambiguous - 

I mentioned in today's OzRant that the markets are coiling for a rebound. Today's US session was NOT - repeat, NOT - the start of that rebound. Anyone who goes long on the back of today's US session is going to wind up wearing their colon around their neck.

You can't say fairer than that... forewarned is forearmed, if that's the phrase I'm looking for. Today was a coast-to-coast decline for the US indices. 

In other news, our bond short position from some weeks ago is paying handsomely (after a nasty negative excursion), showing the usual 100% profit on initial futures margin. Yay for me.

Economic News

Economic data was relatively sparse, and the key stuff is not really part of normal coverage.

First, there have been very large numbers of Municipal Bond Sales  that have failed to find buyers (or have been settled at - get this - interest rates of up to 20%) . A lot of Muni bond debt is rolled over at 43-79 day intervals, and it appears that with the lack of faith in monoline insurers, municipalities that have borrowed heavily (banking on continued high tax receipts from rising house prices) are going to go toes-up like Orange County did in the 90s.

Second, the Bush administration is continuing its recent habit of suppressing uncomfortably bad data, by shutting down the primary government-based aggregator of US Economic stats. And here is an even fuller exposition of the chicanery undertaken by this clown and his cronies,  

Anyhow - today it was

  • Trade Balance better than expected (a $58.8 billion deficit compared with consensus of $61.3 billion... the difference is a week of Iraq War-ifiyin'), and
  • New Jobless Claims just a tad below estimates (348k versus 350k expected).
Fed Open Market Operations

The Fed did three repurchase operations today:

  • a $15 billion 14-day operation, with 3.505 billion in Treasury-backed collateral;
  • a $13 billion 7-day operation with 9.482 billion in Treasury-backed; and
  • an $8.25 billion overnight repo entirely in Treasury-backed.
Headline Indices

Insert material here

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 175.26 points (1.4%) to 12376.98 points. The index high for the day was 12557.61 at the open, while the low was 12361.46 just before the close.

Only one Dow component advanced...

  • Exxon Mobil Cp (XOM) +0.06 (0.07%) to 85.55 on volume of 17.4 million units

Major Decliners in the Dow were

  • Intel (INTC) -0.75 (3.54%) to 20.46 on volume of 70.8 million units
  • JP Morgan Chase (JPM) -1.56 (3.54%) to 42.54 on volume of 26.9 million units
  • Home Depot (HD) -0.83 (2.93%) to 27.51 on volume of 13.3 million units
  • American Express (AXP) -1.16 (2.48%) to 45.69 on volume of 5.7 million units
  • General Motors (GM) -0.62 (2.34%) to 25.84 on volume of 16.3 million units

Most Traded Dow stocks were

  • Intel (INTC) -0.75 (-3.54%) to 20.46 on volume of 70.8 million units
  • Microsoft (MSFT)  -0.46 (-1.59%) to 28.5 on volume of 67.3 million units
  • Citigroup (C)  -0.6 (-2.28%) to 25.74 on volume of 58.5 million units
  • General Electric (GE)  -0.59 (-1.69%) to 34.39 on volume of 30.5 million units
  • Pfizer (PFE)  -0.29 (-1.28%) to 22.45 on volume of 29.9 million units

The S&P500 Index lost 18.35 points (1.34%) to 1348.86 points. The Nasdaq Composite lost 41.39 points (1.74%) to 2332.54 points; the Nasdaq100 lost 35.41 points (1.94%) to 1787.59 points.

The CBOE Volatility Index advanced +0.57 points (2.29%) to 25.45 points; the CBOE Nasdaq100 Volatility Index advanced +1.08 points (4.26%) to 26.43 points.

NYSE Total Volume totalled 3.49billion units and Nasdaq Total Volume totalled 2.22billion units.

Major Market Statistics
Index Close Gain(Loss) %
Dow Jones Industrial Average 12376.98 -175.26 -1.4%
S&P500 Index 1348.86 -18.35 -1.34%
Nasdaq Composite 2332.54 -41.39 -1.74%
Nasdaq100 1787.59 -35.41 -1.94%
CBOE Volatility Index 25.45 +0.57 2.29%
CBOE Nasdaq100 Volatility Index 26.43 +1.08 4.26%
NYSE Total Volume 3.49bn - -
Nasdaq Total Volume 2.22bn - -
Precious Metals

Precious metals futures were broadly up - the surge in Platinum continues -

Precious Metal Futures
Index Close Gain(Loss) %
Gold 911.7 +1.5 0.16
Silver 1730.0 -5.3 -0.31
Platinum 2015.0 +31.3 1.58
Palladium 440.55 +1.50 0.34

Energy Complex

Crude (and in fact the entire Energy complex) went on a bit of a tear, despite the news that the surface of Titan has more hydrocarbons than the whole of our little ball of rock. It is mainly in the form of ethane and methane, but it still gives just a smidge of support to the abiotic oil hypothesis (I've written about that before, but I remain clueless as to which hypothesis is more valid... but I am sure that Titan never had forests or dinosaurs...).

Energy Futures
Index Close Gain(Loss) %
Crude Oil 95.45 +2.18 2.34
Heating Oil 2.6670 +0.0514 1.97
Gasoline RBOB 2.4751 +0.0852 3.57
Natural Gas 8.775 +0.387 4.61
Ethanol 2.100 unch 0


The nine-stock group that makes up the Rant bellwethers declined on average by 2.2%. The fallout occurred as follows:

  • General Electric (GE) down $0.59 (1.69%) to $34.39 on volume of 30.53 million units.
  • Citigroup (C) down $0.6 (2.28%) to $25.74 on volume of 58.48 million units.
  • Wal-Mart (WMT) down $0.69 (1.36%) to $49.97 on volume of 15.63 million units.
  • IBM (IBM) down $2.29 (2.11%) to $106.13 on volume of 6.02 million units.
  • Intel (INTC) down $0.75 (3.54%) to $20.46 on volume of 70.78 million units.
  • Cisco Systems (CSCO) down $0.53 (2.2%) to $23.53 on volume of 54.66 million units.
  • Google (GOOG) down $2.37 (0.44%) to $532.25 on volume of 6.46 million units.
  • Fannie Mae (FNM) down $1.13 (3.59%) to $30.34 on volume of 7.94 million units.
  • Freddie Mac (FRE) down $0.86 (2.95%) to $28.29 on volume of 8.98 million units.