Thursday, October 18, 2012

China Rallies On GDP Figures, But Growth Is Still Slowing

Markets in the US are only slightly lower this morning, pulling back a little after a very nice 3-day rally.

The only economic report this morning was the Philly Fed Survey, which rose to 5.7 in October from -1.9 last month.  The positive reading breaks a streak of five consecutive negative readings.

Overnight, markets across Asia were higher after China reported its latest GDP figures.  China said GDP grew +7.4%, which was in-line with estimates.  Many had feared the headline figures might come in shy of estimates, so China's market rallied 1.2% on the news.  What isn't being discussed is that even at 7.4% that growth rate is the slowest rate seen since Q2 2009.

In Europe, markets are mixed to higher after Spain sold three tranches of debt which were generally well received.  This helped push yields on their 10-year note down to 5.40%.  But the Bank of Spain reported an increase in its bad loan ratio to 10.5% from 10.1%.

It has been another busy day for earnings reports.  Today as I scan the reactions, it is much more balanced between stocks rising on their reports vs. falling.

Stocks rising on earnings: MS, EBAY, UNP, ADS, TRV, PII

Stocks falling on earnings: MLNX, ALGN, AXP, SIRO, LTM, PM

The dollar is bouncing today, which is weighing on commodities.  Oil prices are lower to $91.  Gold prices are also a little heavy near $1745.  Copper prices are also a tad lower.

The 10-year yield is hovering near 1.81%.  And the VIX is still right at that 15.0 level we have been discussing for the better part of a week.

Trading comment: Most of the major indexes are back above their 50-day moving averages.  The Nasdaq closed above its 50-day yesterday but is testing it today.  The S&P 500 is within striking distance of new highs for the year.  So bulls are definitely still in charge, but the recent rally has been led more by defensive issues than traditional growth stocks.  We haven't added to much at these levels, but we also don't want to fight this tape which continues that stair-step higher pattern I have often alluded to.  I don't know whether its performance anxiety or QE3 at work, but this market does not pull back for very long as of late.

KAM Advisors has long positions in PM, VZ


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