US stocks mixed, with the blue chips rising for an eighth straight session, even after a morning burst of data painted a grey picture.
DJIA rises 45 to 10779, and Nasdaq Comp adds 2 to 2391, but S&P 500 slips less than one to 1166 (only its third losing session out of the past 15.) Dollar index rose sharply. Crude slipped, although it remains above $82/barrel; energy shares, however, slide. Industrials, healthcare rise, the latter as vote looms on healthcare-reform bill.
These steady rises, by the way, only make the market less balanced, and increase the odds that at some point they will reverse. It’s a truism, after all, that the market never travels in a straight line for a reason. “A near-term corrective phase would be totally natural at this point,” Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg wrote, and even a good thing, really.
Jobless claims were flat, but remain at a high level, and the number of total continuing claims hit another record. That says people are still having a hard time finding jobs. Consumer prices were flat, and average wages fell, both indications that there is little real demand in the economy. It’s not exactly a picture that frames a robustly growing economy.
Philly Fed manufacturing report came out today also, showing a moderate rise while some of its subindexes slide back. That report, along with the Empire State report earlier this week, both add evidence that the ISM manufacturing index is likely to remain “broadly stable” in March, Capital Economics says. But it could be the first sign that the manufacturing recovery has peaked.
Firm also says the leading indicators report from the Conference Board may be showing the same kind of stall, and it’s possible the “5.9% increase in annualized GDP in the fourth quarter marked the peak of the economic recovery.”
Lastly, the Greek thing changes hourly, but it seems the Greeks are leaning toward seeking IMF aid if the Europeans won’t help out, and that may get the Europeans to pony up something, even if exactly what remains murky.