Posted by John Shipman
on April 07, 2011
Dow Jones Industrials
Stocks end lower, but reclaim most of the ground lost after mid-morning word of a strong aftershock quake in Japan.
Quake headlines and tsunami warning send a chill through a market that’s grown rather blase lately toward various pockets of global upheaval (Mideast/North Africa; Japan disaster; Eurozone debt problems). Despite the bump in volatility, trading volume remains anemic.
Industrials, financials and utilities among the weakest sectors; energy stocks finish higher as Nymex crude tops $110.00/barrel, to its highest settle since Sept 2008. Gold settles at fresh Comex high of $1,458.50/oz; silver hits fresh 31-yr high.
DJIA slips 17.26 to 12409.49, and Nasdaq Comp edges 3.68 lower to 2796.14. S&P 500 falls 2.03 to 1333.51.
Latest aftershock doesn’t appear to have done too much additional damage, but rapid, sharp plummet on initial quake/tsunami warning headlines may’ve put some fear back into a market that’s had an impressive ability to shake off troubling news.
Abundant liquidity has nurtured the risk trade, building complacency amid a hazardous backdrop as everyone thinks they can get out before the stampede begins. After glimpsing that hair trigger this morning, looks as if some risk-takers may have seen enough.
Posted by John Shipman
on March 27, 2011
, Federal Reserve
The stock market has recovered all its losses suffered after the Japan earthquake/tsunami/nuclear crisis, shrugging off at least the economic consequences of the event. That’s a posture that seems entirely premature, and the New York Times had a story Saturday that illustrates why it’s too soon to make conclusions about the disaster’s impact on the global economy.
The NYT headline reads “Global Supply Lines at Risk as Shipping Lines Shun Japan,” and the gist is that some shipping companies are reluctant to call on ports in Tokyo Bay because of concerns about radiation spewing from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Cargo carriers have a lot at stake. As the story notes, they’re obviously concerned about the safety of their crews, but they also don’t want to risk contaminating cargo or their ships. One industry source explained that a vessel may need to be scrapped “if quarantined even temporarily for radioactivity, because they would face extra coast guard checks for years at subsequent destinations.”
Sounds extreme, but those extra inspections would make it hard for a ship to stay on schedule, and who wants to ship cargo on a vessel that’s always delayed?
So it’s no small matter, this reticence to sail into Tokyo and Yokohama. As the Times story says, those ports “are normally Japan’s two busiest, representing as much as 40 percent of the nation’s foreign container cargo.” Continue reading…
Stocks had a strong week, bolting higher in a stout rebound after the sell-off instigated by Japan’s earthquake/tsunami/nuclear crisis nightmare. A nightmare that’s still ongoing, by the way.
Oil didn’t move much today, but energy stocks led the way, along with the material and industrial sectors. IBM, CAT, Chevron and Exxon Mobil account for almost 80% of the DJIA’s advance. DJIA rises 50 to 12220, Nasdaq Comp adds about 6 to 2743 and S&P 500 grinds out 4 to 1313.80.
What’s most impressive about the week’s gains is that they came amid a cascade of unpleasant headlines. Leaking radiation; European debt problems flaring up again; horrendous housing data; weak durable goods orders; another commitment by US military forces as civil war rages in Libya; spreading unrest in Middle East and North Africa; and oil prices marching higher. And of course, that air-traffic controller sound asleep in the DC tower. Horrifying. Continue reading…
Posted by Paul Vigna
on March 21, 2011
Look, we get it. Markets like to rally. Markets like to rally on Mondays, especially on Mondays when there’s a big, juicy M&A deal on the table that gets everybody all jazzed up. Then add in some dry oversold tinder on a Monday after a couple of weeks of persistent sell-offs and this is what can happen.
The Dow is up roughly 200 points, back around the psychologically and technically key 12000 level. The S&P poked its head above 1300. The Nasdaq Comp is up 2%. It’s a risk-on day without a doubt, and investors are piling on.
Let’s keep a little perspective here. Maybe we’re missing something, but the day seems a little thin on “good” news, while stocks base their gains mainly on big M&A and oil marching higher again.
- For starters, the situation at Fukushima Daiichi remains dangerous. The level of damage still isn’t clear, how much melting down there actually was, and what the ultimate solution will be.
- Portugal, one of the nations that supposedly wasn’t Greece, is looking more and more like Greece. Reports are the nation may seeks a bailout by June at the latest, if not earlier. That’d make three European nations on the bailout register.
- The fight in Libya is looking murkier by the day, with what now seems like a hastily arranged no-fly zone putting the western powers into the conflict, without a clear goal or exit strategy. Crude oil prices are reflecting the uncertainly not only in Libya but across the Maghreb and Middle East, rising back over $103/barrel.
That enough risk for you? How about we drill down a bit further?