Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

The market is lower in early trading, in the wake of the frightening news from Japan's massive earthquake on Friday. There is not much else in the way of market moving news this morning.

Asian markets were mixed overnight, which is somewhat surprising given the large decline in Japan. Japan's Nikkei swooned -6.1%, its worst session in more than two years. But China was flat, and Hong Kong up a bit.

In the aftermath, the Bank of Japan announced plans to inject 15 trillion yen (or $180 billion) into the Japanese banking system to promote liquidity.

Broad weakness in commodities has the CRB Index down for a fifth straight session. Oil prices are struggling to hang on to the $100 level, although gold prices are firm at $1428. But many soft commodities are lower.

The 10-year yield is lower to 3.33%; and the volatility index (VIX) is +12% higher to 22.50.

Trading comment: The SPX is taking out last weeks lows, which is a bearish technical sign. And new lows on the Nasdaq have outnumbered new highs. But the market is also very oversold, more oversold by some measures than it has been since August 2010. This week is also expiration week, so my guess is we will see continued volatility. I would not be surprised to see some bounces this week, but lately these bounces have come on lighter volume while selloffs have been on higher volume. So if you're a trader, and want to play for a bounce, buying here makes some sense. But for longer-term investors, I would still be exercising patience.


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