Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What Happened To Manufacturing Activity in New York?

There was some mixed economic data this morning, but the one that jumps out at you is the Empire Manufacturing Index. For December, the index plunged to a level of 2.55 from last month's 23.51. That is a huge plunge, but I'm not sure why it occurred.

In corporate news, Best Buy (BBY) reported very strong earnings, topping estimates by a wide margin and raising its fiscal 2010 forecast. I guess it helps when your biggest competitor (Circuit City) is no longer around. I ordered a new flat screen TV for the holidays, and when they brought it off the truck, the entire front glass was shattered. So I'm not too happy with BBY right now.

The market is hovering just below the flat line so far, as another boost in the dollar index seems to be weighing on commodities, although energy stocks are faring well. Financials are the weakest sector so far, after Wells Fargo (WFC) became the latest bank to raise $10.4 billion in a stock offering after announcing it will repay its TARP loans.

Asian markets were lower overnight; the 10-year is higher again to 3.61%, its highest yield since August; and the VIX is slightly higher at 21.26.

Trading comment: Today's disappointing economic data combined with a rising dollar and a slightly overbought market could provide some headwinds here. But I remain in the same mode of looking for spots to pick at and add exposure. The broad market has been essentially consolidating in a sideways trading range for the last month, and I think the resolution of said trading range will be another upside breakout at some point.


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