Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stocks are looking for direction

Stocks were little changed but decliners were ahead of advancers 3-2. Dow is hanging in there just above 12K. Oil is down 2.80 on news that China will raise fuel prices. However Nigeria remains a sore spot for oil. Royal Dutch Shell shut their oil field in Nigeria which pumps 200,000 barrels of day after more rebel attacks. Jobless claims fell 5K last week. Leading indicators and unemployment reports gave few signals about where the economy is going. Another way to view these reports is the economy is stumbling along while the financials try to sort out huge problems. Life goes on.

Bloomberg TV had a report this morning that 2 ex Bear Stearns managers were arrested by the FBI on charges related to misleading investors in the sub-prime mess. Banks are selling off on their dreary outlook, but that varies. Look at the 2 listed on the right. Bank of America (BAC) has fallen 50% from its highs last year, while US Bankcorp (a regional bank, many have been brutally hammered) continues to muddle along in the low 30's. Maybe that's because Berkshire Hathaway has invested more than $1B in their stock.

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