Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Slowdown Concerns Weigh On Commodities

The market is lower in morning trade, after late day weakness erased yesterday's early gains and left stocks slightly in the red at the close.

Concerns about demand are weighing on commodity prices. There are reports out of China about slowdowns in demand, especially among materials producers. And a report out of the UK showed that its economy contracted by -0.3% in Q4.

Oil prices are down near $105, and natural gas prices are also weak. Gold prices are pulling back to $1671, with silver and copper prices down as well.

Energy stocks are the weakest group in early trading, while financials are bucking the weakness for the most part.

In economic news, durable goods increased 2.2% in February, which is below expectations but still above the prior month's reading of -3.6%.

The 10-year yield is roughly flat around 2.18%. And the VIX is bouncing another +3% so far to 16.12. It is still a ways off from its overhead 50-day which lies near 17.65.

Trading comment: We often see a big down day as we near quarter end, at least in recent quarters. Today is day 2 of another pullback sequence, following last weeks 3-day pullback that was punctuated by a big rally on Monday. It will be interesting to see if things are being propped up into quarter end and if we will see a bigger pullback once Q2 starts. I wouldn't be surprised by this action, and it could be a good setup as we approach Q2 earnings season to have a pullback ahead of it and then another market rally if earnings come in as strong as expected.


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