Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Will The Market Hold On To Early Gains?

I have to admit the reason this post is later than usual is that I have not been able to turn my attention away from these Congressional testimonies with Roger Clemens and his trainer. I don't know why I find it so interesting, but it just seems to me that Clemens is having a tough time making his case believable.

As for the market, there were some solid earnings reports this last night and this morning from the likes of Applied Materials (AMAT), Coca-Cola (KO), Deere (DE), and Waste Management (WMT). The AMAT report is what is helping boost the semis stocks as well as the Nasdaq.

There was also a retail sales report that came in better-than-expected before the bell this morning, although this isn't really helping any retail stocks today.

Energy stocks are strong again as oil remains near the $93. If oil stays up here, most of these stocks should head back to new highs. Also, the solar and alternative energy stocks are getting a big boost today and should stay strong.

The HMOs are under heavy selling pressure again today after the NY atty. general is said to be launching an investigation into the health insurers.

Asian markets were mixed overnight, but the Yen is down nicely today, which should help support the market. Also, the ISEE hit a very depressed level of 48 this morning, indicating heavy put buying relative to call buying. So skepticism of this rally remains elevated, which is good from a contrarian prespective.

I remain skeptical of strong market opens, as they often have a tendency to fade. I prefer markets that open flat or weak, and then build strength into the close. It remains to be seen how today's rally will hold up, but given the high put/call ratios, I am a little more optimistic.


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