Thursday, August 09, 2012

Markets Try For Five In A Row

Asian markets closed higher overnight with China rising for a 5th straight session.  Interestingly, the latest economic data from China was weaker than expected, but that has prompted investors to continue to expect more economic stimulus measures from the govt.  China's CPI cooled to 1.8% from 2.2% previously.  And industrial production rose 9.2%, but that is also down from 9.8% previously.

For their parts, the Bank of Japan and Bank of Korea held their respective benchmark interest rates steady at 0.1% and 3.00% respectively.

After opening in positive territory, European bourses have reversed into negative territory.  At some point, folks are going to start to wonder how Draghi is going to implement his latest promises.  But for now investors seem to be in a forgiving mood.

In corporate news, National Oilwell Varco (NOV) will pay $60 per share for Robbins & Myers (RBN), a 20% premium to yesterday's closing price.  This is helping to boost sentiment in the oil services industry.

Stocks rising on earnings: MDRX, EAT, BDC, ATK, RRGB, RDEN

Stocks falling on earnings: KSS, BCG, TK, AAP, THI

The dollar is higher again today, but not weighing on commodities too much.  Oil prices are higher to $93.77, and gold prices are up slightly near $1618.  Copper prices are higher also. 

The 10-year yield is getting another big boost.  It hit 1.72% today, which is its highest level since late May.  I'm not sure what is driving the increase.  Economic data isn't much better, but maybe some of the pessimism is simply fading.  It could also be a bit of asset reallocations out of bonds and into stocks.

The VIX is flat again at 15.37, which is a very low absolute level and likely signals some near-term complacency in the market.

Trading comment: The S&P 500 is working on its 5th straight gain.  I sense a bit of complacency creeping into the market.  The VIX is at very low levels, and the AAII survey today showed a snapback of bulls exceeding bears (36.5% to 27.4%).  The market likes to keep investors on their toes, so a brief selloff would not be a surprise in this environment.  That said, it will most likely be viewed as a buying opportunity as the stair-step higher pattern in the market persists and underperforming investment managers look to put more money to work.


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