The end of quarter window dressing continues as the first half of 2009 draws to a close tomorrow. Financials and oil are areas of strength. Investor sentiment may have gotten a boost from the Bernie Madoff sentencing news. There is a lot of economic data due out this week before the market holiday on Friday.
Asian markets were mixed. The Chinese Shanghai index gained 1.6% but the neighboring Hong Kong Hang Seng lost 0.39%. American firm J.P.Morgan Chase upgraded their economic outlook for China's 2009 GDP growth from +7.2% to +7.8%. Wednesday China will release its Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). Wednesday also brings the quarterly "Tankan" business sentiment survey in Japan. The Japanese NIKKEI lost 0.9% in spite of positive news that Japan's industrial output rose 5.9% in May. A few analysts believed that expectations for Japan's industrial output had been too high with expectations for a +7.0% rise.
Stocks in Europe were in rally mode. Financials were the market leaders after several analyst upgrades fueled a widespread rebound. The English FTSE rose 1.25%. The French CAC-40 gained 2.0%. The German DAX rose 2.2%.
If you're watching any financial TV today the main story is the Bernie Madoff sentencing. The 71-year old man was sentenced to the maximum 150 years for his multi-billion dollar fraud scheme. Defense attorneys had been asking for 12 years. Pundits are suggesting that the news that Madoff received the maximum sentence was somewhat cathartic and soothing for investor sentiment.
The next biggest story today was the rally in crude oil. Last week oil was beginning to slide on news that the Nigerian government was trying to negotiate a deal with MEND rebels for some sort of amnesty for the rebel leader. New attacks by MEND on a Royal Dutch Shell offshore oil platform today would suggest that the rebels have rejected the peace deal. Oil is surging 3% or more than $2.00 to $71.20 a barrel. Investors are ignoring news out of the International Energy Agency who released a new forecast for less than normal oil demand or the next few years.
There is a lot of economic data about to be released over the next three days. Tuesday will see the latest U.S. consumer confidence report, the Chicago PMI, and the Case-Shiller Home Price index. On Wednesday we'll get the ADP employment change report and the ISM index. On Thursday will be the official non-farm payrolls (jobs) report.
Currently the S&P 500 index is up 0.8% at 926 and challenging its highs from two weeks ago. The NASDAQ Composite is up 0.4% and starting to fade after trading above 1850 this morning. The Dow Industrials are up 0.9% near 8520, which is above its simple 200-dma. The Russell 2000 index is actually down 0.3% at 511 but it's worth noting that investors quickly bought the dip near 500 this morning.
Let's take a quick look at charts for the major averages:
Chart of the S&P 500:
Chart of the NASDAQ:
Chart of the Dow Industrials:
Chart of the Russell 2000 index:
Looking over the OptionInvestor.com play list I see that ACL is offering readers another entry point. The stock bounced from support near $115 this morning. This is our last day for the APOL call play. The stock hit $69.84 this morning and then just plunged. Our target to exit was supposed to be $69.95. We want to exit call positions before the closing bell to avoid holding over the earnings report. BDX is also offering another bullish entry point with a bounce from support near $70.00. The pull back in DECK toward $70.00 looks like an entry point to buy calls. Our new put play on AZO has been stopped out. We had a pretty tight stop on it to limit our risk. Korean steel maker PKX has hit our stop loss above $84.00.