Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

The markets are mixed in early trading, with the S&P 500 higher but the Nasdaq slightly lower. Concerns about the turmoil and political unrest out of Egypt have cooled some, even as Egypt's stock market remains closed.

The flight-to-safety trade from Friday is not being carried over today, as Treasuries are slightly lower, gold prices are down to $1329, and oil prices are off slightly also ($89.11). The dollar is also lower while the euro is getting a big boost.

In economic news, the Chicago PMI report out this morning came in at 68.8, which is a pretty strong reading.

In corporate news, Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) said it will buy Massey Energy (MEE) for roughly a 20% premium. Intel (INTC) announced that its latest chip has a design flaw, and they are halting shipments which will result in a large charge. But at the same time they raised revenue guidance. Nonetheless, the stock is lower right now.

Asian markets were lower overnight; the 10-year yield is up a bit to 3.34%; and the volatility index is down slightly to 19.86 after a big spike higher on Friday.

Trading comment: Friday's selloff was accompanied by a pickup in volume, such that the distribution days in the market are picking up a bit. Today's bounce looks a bit tepid so far, but it's still early. It would not surprise me to see a 1-2 day bounce, but then more of a pullback in the market. This would create a better buying opportunity, but as we have seen this market is anything but predictable.

If we close near here, the S&P 500 will achieve its first positive January since 2007. So those folks who put stock in the 'January effect' should be pleased. As of now, the SPX is up 1.9% for the month.


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