Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Europe Economies Still Sluggish

The market is mixed in early trading, having started out in negative territory but currently trying to work its way back to the flat line.

Asian markets were higher overnight after China's manufacturing PMI increased to 49.7 from 48.8 last month. This figure is still below the key 50 level which marks the difference between expansion and contraction.

Europe's markets are lower today after its eurzone manufacturing PMI index inched up to 49.0 from 48.8 last month. But that 49.0 reading still points to contraction. Additionally, Greece had its credit rating downgraded again by Fitch and its market swooned by 5%. In England, some officials at the Bank of England have called for additional stimulus measures.

Stocks rising this morning on earnings include: FIRE, INTU, HSTM, and GRMN to name a few. Stocks declining on earnings are DELL, MGM, CAKE, DLTR, and CLH.

The euro is lower this morning, and most commodities are lower as well after a big up day yesterday. Oil prices are flat near $106; gold prices are slightly lower to $1756; silver prices are lower also, while copper prices are flat.

The 10-year yield is steady near 2.04% and the VIX is up slightly to 18.50.

Trading comment: Call me crazy, but I don't have much hope that the market will give underinvested bulls the pullback they are hoping for. Nothing has been able to knock down this market. Earnings misses have been shrugged off, options expiration was yawn, overbought readings were worked off effortlessly, and the Greek bailout dealings look like more of a distraction than anything. Look at AAPL-- that high volume reversal didn't lead to any follow-thru selling and the stock is back at new closing highs. Stocks have continued to stairstep higher, with sector rotation keeping any one group from seeing prolonged weakness. At some point we will surely have a correction, but waiting for it has been a losing strategy. I still think adding to leading stocks on pullbacks works best. Trying to invest in the year's laggards will likely continue to be frustrating.

KAM Advisors is long AAPL


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