Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Intel earnings pushed the market higher after the close

I know of many good traders that are shorting the hell out of this move.

In today's session, we noted a volume output on the S&P 500 of 3,585 million shares; this is 16% below the index's average daily volume generated over the past three months. The E-Mini had 20% less Volume today.

Investors had to deal with mixed earnings results from some of the stock market's major players today. Early in the session, healthcare products maker Johnson & Johnson disappointed by revealing a 5% decline in quarterly sales. After the close chip maker Intel reported lower third-quarter profits but beat Wall Street's expectations in terms of its profits per share and revenue, also forecasting an increase in gross margins and issuing positive sales guidance for the fourth quarter. Intel shares were boosted strongly in after-hours trading. Key upcoming earnings include JPMorgan Chase reporting on Wednesday tomorrow; Goldman Sachs, IBM, as well as Google reporting Thursday, and Bank of America and General Electric on Friday.

Cisco Systems announced an acquisition today; it will buy network services provider Starent Networks for $2.9 billion. The offer occurs just a few weeks after Cisco made a $3 billion bid for the video-conferencing company Tandberg from Norway.

Just ahead of a slew of earnings reports from the influential financial sector, and with J.P. Morgan reporting tomorrow before the bell, a well-known banking analyst lowered her rating on Goldman Sachs, downgrading the company from 'buy' to 'neutral' on concerns that the shares are now overvalued after a strong run. One fund manager succinctly summed up what investors are looking for at this point: 'The market only makes sense at these levels if earnings can grow at a decent pace...What we're hearing now is OK, but you don't get long-term earnings growth out of cost cutting.'

The broad market once again profited from the slumping US dollar, with the US Dollar Index dropping to a 14-month low against a number of other currencies. Gold and crude oil performed well in this environment, with the former again reaching a new record high above a $1069 an ounce, and the latter climbing to a close over $74 per barrel.

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