Friday, March 12, 2010

Stocks refuse to budge

Markets continue to fumble around as they try to eke out gains. Dow is up 10, advancers ahead of decliners 4-3, & NAZ is essentially even. Banks continue strong with AIG (AIG) leading the charge, up 46¢. The Financial Index needs just 2 more points to reach a new 2009-10 high.


% Change

As the chart below shows, MLPs are hot again. The index is up 0.47 to the 304s. Next stop may be the all time high of 342 from Jul 2007. Of course when the value goes up the yield falls. It's about 7%, falling lower can hurt its yield attraction. REITs were also climbing with the index gaining another 1 to 193s. Junk bond funds edged higher, generally to new highs relative to the last 2 years. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond inched up a fraction of a basis point to 3.71%.

Alerian MLP Index --- 2 weeks

Dow Jones REIT Index --- 2 weeks

With stock markets in the doldrums, commodities are still drifting.

CLJ10.NYM...Crude Oil Apr 10...82.35 ..Up 0.24


Consumer sentiment declined slightly in early Mar as Americans were less positive about the job outlook. However, the reading stayed close to its 6-month average & was significantly above the year-ago level. The preliminary Mar reading on consumer sentiment was 72.5, down from 73.6 in late Feb & below the 73.6 forecast. Consumers were expecting no change in unemployment, which stands at 9.7%, for the rest of 2010, & were losing confidence in help from gov economic policies. The reading was just below the 6-month average & up strongly from last year.

U.S. Consumer Confidence Falls for Second Month on Concern Over Job Market

Consumer sentiment - 1 year

Retail sales increased 0.3% to $355.5B in Feb, despite 3 major snow storms in the East. The gains were led by a big gain in electronics. Sales have risen in 4 of the past 5 months & were up 3.9% compared with a year earlier. However, auto & truck sales were one exception, falling 2% compared with Jan. Excluding autos & trucks, retail sales increased 0.8% to $297.7B, the largest gain since Nov.

Retail Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Rose in February as Shoppers Braved Snow

Sales excluding autos & trucks - 1 year

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This is another quiet day with mixed & unclear economic messages. The healthcare changes being kicked around in DC are still in limbo. With an unclear economic background, the rest of the day should continue dull on low volume.

Dow Jones Industrials --- 2 weeks

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