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Blix report gives markets a lift

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The major indexes are off their best levels of the session, which had the Dow Industrials (INDU) 7,819 +0.9% reaching as high as 7,887 after chief U.N. weapons inspector reported that his inspection team has not found any evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.

While he reiterated that the Iraqis were cooperating on process, he suggested multiple times that many prohibited Iraqi weapons were still not accounted for. In addition, regarding Powell's speech last week, he said he found no convincing evidence that the Iraqis were tipped off on inspections, and that it was not clear that satellite photos showed illicit movement of arms from a chemical weapons plant. In general, Mr. Blix's comments implied that he would like inspections to continue.

When Mr. Blix's report began, the Dow Industrials were trading with a 30-point gain, and as his report progressed, the Dow built a 138-point gain.

Following Blix's presentation, IAEA chief inspector Mohammed ElBaradei gave a report that strongly implied he wanted to continue inspections. The basics of his report was that the IAEA has found no evidence of prohibited nuclear weapons development in in Iraq, but he too had a number of unanswered questions. Mr. ElBaradei also said that prompt, full, active cooperation on the part of the Iraqis will speed up process of verification.

As today's report from Mr. Blix nears an end, stocks are off their best levels, most likely on the thought that the United States may be hard pressed to achieve near-term decision on its slant that military actions are most likely needed as President Bush's comments that Saddam Hussein is deceiving weapons inspectors.

Away from the major equity indexes, Treasuries saw selling during the Blix report, with the 10-year futures contract (ty03h) 114'30 -0.36% falling to a session low of 114'220, while the benchmark bond's YIELD ($TNX.X) 3.919% rose to as high as 3.961%, but still above the 4.0% level I've been monitoring for any sign of real "bullishness" toward equities.

The Blix report has brought sellers into the February Gold futures contract (gc03g) 350 -2.07%, which is a $7.40 price drop. Key technicals have the rising 50-day SMA being tested again today, after yesterday's opening dip lower. The Gold/Silver Index (XAU.X) 72.78 -2.33% has reversed the bulk of yesterday's gains, but still holds above its flattening out 200-day SMA of 71.90.

Current market action certainly has the look that bearish and bullish traders are rather hesitance to make any type of bets in the market and that there is great uncertainty as to how things will play out with the United States looking for a resolution to Iraq and still building troops in the Middle East, which is offset by Mr. Blix's report calling for further weapons inspections and gist that it would be too soon to call for any type of military intervention.

I've tried to check all of today's action against the pivot matrix and find the bulk of the DAILY R2 levels had been traded, but found selling from that level, with the DAILY pivot levels all holding support. From the WEEKLY pivot analysis, I've only seen brief trading at the WEEKLY pivot level in the NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) and QQQ. This still has me looking at an equity market that is rather uncertain and bulls not overly committed to finding a rousing bullish case for equities on Mr. Blix's report. WEEKLY S1 level, which were tested and violated to the downside have been holding support throughout today's session.

Jeff Bailey

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