Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Markets Open With Lighter Staffs Than Normal

Happy Halloween.  The markets are open, but staffing is lighter than normal as residents in NYC try to get back to normal daily life but are still dealing with power outages, transportation delays, etc.  As such, I would expect lighter than normal trading.  The wildcard is that the markets have been closed for the last 2 days so there could be some pent up trading that needs to get done before month-end (today).

The damage from the hurricane spread as far as Cleveland, where my parents have told me that Trick or Treating has been cancelled for tonight and rescheduled for Sunday. 

In M&A news, Warnaco (WRC) will be acquired by PVH for a 30% premium.  Also, Disney (DIS) has said it will buy Lucasfilm for $4 billion.

In economic news, the Chicago PMI for October rose to 49.9 but that was below expectations. 

There were lots of companies that delayed their earnings reports due to the closing of the markets.  As I look at stocks of companies that reported this morning, I am pleased to see more stocks trading higher on their reports than trading lower.

Stocks rising on earnings: F, GM, MA, PWR, AMG, BWA, NUS, AMT, ETN, SPW

Stocks falling on earnings: STX, BNNY, MAC, CAM

Asian markets were mostly higher overnight, thought China's gains lagged once again.  Europe's markets are also generally higher this morning, despite data showing the Eurozone unemployment rate ticked higher to 11.6%.

The dollar is lower today, which is helping commodities.  Oil prices are higher to $86.50.  Gold prices are also up a bit near $1719.  But copper prices look weak today.

The 10-year yield is slightly lower today to 1.70%.  And the volatility index (VIX) is higher today by 3.5% near the 18.50 level.  The VIX has been consolidating last weeks gains around these levels and still looks poised to test the 20 level again at some point.

Trading comment: Markets are open for trading, but I expect volume to be light today.  The gains were higher in the opening hour but seem to have already faded.  The SPX has given up almost 10 points as of this post.  And the Nasdaq remains in the red as its leader AAPL continues to trade lower following last week's earnings report.  Markets never move in straight lines, and I would not be surprised to see some strength in the market in the near-term.  But I want to remain cautious until we see some more concrete signs that this correction has run its course.

KAM Advisors has long positions in AAPL


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