Don't Bet Your Bottom Dollar Yet

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Friday opened lower as traders pocketed profits from Thursday's triple-digit rise in the Dow Industrials. More selling developed after a disappointing retail sales number, but buyers appeared following a better-than-expected consumer sentiment number, offsetting the early losses. When the closing bell sounded, all of the major indices had a slight gain.

The retail sales report was the worst in months, with May retail sales falling 1.2% compared to an expected gain of 1.1%. However, the University of Michigan's preliminary consumer confidence survey exceeded expectations of 74.5 by scoring a two-year high of 75.5. The only other report was for business inventories for April, which increased 0.4% and had little impact on trading.


Of the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( DJI ), 20 closed higher. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE ) led the list with a gain of 3.89%, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT ) rose 3.80%, The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA ) was up 2.29%, and DuPont (NYSE: DD ) rose 1.84%. 

The Dow gained 2.81% for the week, breaking a three-week streak of losses. But the Dow is still down 2.08% for the year.

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS ), in a note to clients, said that "BP shares now have as much upside potential as the rest of the European integrated oil sector." The stock rose 3.6%. 

National Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE: NSM ) rose 5% after the company reported a Q4 profit. Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ: RIMM ) fell 0.7% after saying that the company will pay Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT ) in order to resolve litigation between the two companies; MOT rose 4%.

The U.S. dollar rose against the euro and a basket of other currencies despite the weaker retail sales numbers. The euro fell to $1.20087 and is down 16% so far this year.

The Dow closed at 10,211, up 39 points, the S&P 500 ( SPX ) gained 5 points to 1,092, and the Nasdaq ( NASD ) added 25 points at 2,244. 

The NYSE traded just over 1 billion shares with advancers over decliners by almost 3-to-1. The Nasdaq crossed 507 million shares, and advancers there were ahead by about 2.5-to-1.

Crude oil for July delivery fell $1.70 to $72.78 a barrel. The Energy Select Sector SP DR (NYSE: XLE ) rose 33 cents to $54.32. 

August gold rose $8, closing at $1,230.20 an ounce, and the PHLX Gold/Silver Sector Index (NASDAQ: XAU ) gained 0.32 points to 175.31.

What the Markets Are Saying

How many tests of a support zone does it take to make a successful bottom? Since October, the S&P 500 has had from four to seven tests, at least three at the 1,050 support line in the last month. 

Most of those sell-offs were due to bad international news, but not all. After the bizarre sell-off on May 6, which many said was the result of computer error, we were told that it was unlikely to be repeated. But the unsettling thing is that the low of May 6 was swiftly penetrated -- and not only once, but on seven different days after that. 

And most of the bounces (not yet rallies) resulted from either better news or short sellers covering positions -- not the generally accepted characteristics of bottom making. I'd much rather see the market rally on bad news or even no news at all.

Then there is the volume factor: On every day up last week, volume was lower than on days down. On Thursday's 273-point Dow rally, the NYSE traded just 1.3 billion shares, and on Friday's "follow-through," just over 1 billion shares. But on June 4, with the Dow off 323 points, volume was 1.6 billion shares.

If buyers are successful in putting together a broad-based, high-volume series of strong days up that are powerful enough to penetrate the overhead at the 200-day averages of the major indices, we could conclude that a bottom may have been successfully tested. 

Until then, the best that can be said is that the market is trading in a very narrow range that is defined by sellers and buyers who are traders and not investors. When the solid investors arrive, we will know them by the volume that accompanies their activity. 

Today's Trading Landscape

Earnings to be reported before the opening include: Chindex.

Earnings to be reported after the close include: Korn/Ferry, La-Z-Boy, MDS and Rentrak.

There are no significant economic reports due today.

If you have questions or comments for Sam Collins, please e-mail him at samailc@cox.net .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks


Sam Collins

Sam Collins

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