Thursday, June 11, 2009

For A Change, It's The Bears Who Come On Strong At The Finish....

The recent pattern of the market has been for the market to look shaky at midday and then for a late buying surge to squeeze us higher into the close. Today we had an inverse. After the better-than-expected bond auction, we popped to highs at midday and then saw the selling accelerate in the final hour.

Breadth was still positive, and there was no shortage of momentum in some of the low priced "junk" stocks, but I noticed quite a few pullbacks in some of the recently hot stocks like AMZN, TNDM, FSLR, GOOG, V and GS.

Pharmaceuticals, oil, commodities, steel and coal were the main upside driving forces today, but it was a tricky day with some anxiety to protect gains. There's still a lot of hot money anxiously looking to chase some big movers, but it seemed a bit more skittish today.

Once again, the S&P 500 failed to hold the breakout at 950, but the major indices are all well within recent trading ranges and have not incurred any technical damage. The 950 level is quite a battleground - the "fiercest" I've seen in quite a while.

We'll see if the bears can build on this late-hour weakness, but I don't expect dip-buyers to go away very quickly. They will need to fail a number of times before they stop being so aggressive. The little weakness is not going to shake them much at all.

Going into more detail, the stock market made its way to fresh 2009 highs before paring its gains in afternoon trading. Despite the weak close, stocks were still able to log solid, broad-based gains with advancing issues outnumbering decliners by 3-to-2 in the S&P 500... The session's advance was strongest among utilities stocks, which climbed 2.0%. Gains were also impressive among energy stocks, which finished 1.8% higher... The advance by energy stocks came as crude oil prices extended their recent run, thanks partly to an improved 2009 global oil demand forecast from the International Energy Agency. Oil prices settled 1.8% higher at $72.60 per barrel, a fresh closing high for the year... A weaker U.S. dollar also provided a boon for oil, as well as other commodities. With the greenback shedding 1.1% against a basket of major foreign currencies, the CRB Commodity Index tacked on 2.0%... Weakness in the dollar intensified after an auction of 30-year Bonds carrying a yield of 4.72% was met with a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.7. The results kicked up buying among Treasuries, sending the benchmark 10-year Note higher and the Note's yield lower. Ahead of the open the 10-year Note had been yielding nearly 4%, but it closed with its yield below 3.9%. The 30-year Bond saw its yield pull back to 4.7%... Higher borrowing costs associated with higher yields have caused concern that an economic rebound could get choked off, with particular challenges for the housing industry. According to, the overnight average for a 30-year fixed mortgage stands at 5.74%, up from last week's 5.35%... Economic data had little impact on trading this session. According to the latest Advance Retail Sales Report, both total retail sales and retail sales less autos increased 0.5%, which marked the first increase in three months. Total sales were in-line with expectations, while sales excluding autos were actually stronger than expected... Still, such discretionary spending is expected to be challenged in coming months as workers struggle to find employment. As such, continuing claims climbed to a new record high. However, some are encouraged by the continued decline in initial weekly jobless claims....

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