Monday, January 23, 2012

Are Yields Finally Reflecting Improving Economy?

The 10-year yield is finally getting a nice boost, currently near a 7-week high at 2.08%. In recent weeks as we have gotten mildly improving economic reports the 10-year yield continued to drift lower as if the economy were going back into recession. But the last few days have seen a nice lift from the lows. I would like to see the 10-year yield stay above 2.0% on future pullbacks.

Stocks are strong out of the gate this morning. Stocks have now been up 3 straight weeks to start the year. That's a better start than last year although the market now looks pretty overbought short-term.

In earnings news, the only notable report I saw this morning was Halliburton (HAL) which beat estimates but it's stock is selling off. In other news, RIMM kicked out its co-CEOs as it looks for new leadership to get things back on track.

The positive tone to the markets this morning also comes out of Europe, where Germany held a successful debt offering. The euro is higher on this as well as continued chatter that a plan to restructure Greece's debt from default is ongoing. France and Germany have also called for easier capital rules for banks, which is helping boost financial stocks.

The dollar is lower this morning, which is boosting commodities. Oil prices are higher near $99.55. Gold prices are up to $1675. Copper and silver prices are also higher.

As for the VIX, I would expect it to be lower this morning but it is currently 2.6% higher to 18.77. Some of this could be related to options expiration last Friday, during which the VIX had a big plunge lower to 18.25.

Trading comment: The market continues to work its way higher with very little pullbacks along the way. This keeps it difficult for most people to jump on board as most investors don't like to chase stocks higher. It's hard to say how long this mini-melt up will last. The market is overbought short-term and sentiment is growing more bullish as well. But so far those factors have been trumped by underinvested portfolio managers putting money to work.

KAM Advisors has long positions in HAL


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