Stocks around the globe were sinking lower as investors nervously wait for the second quarter earnings season to begin. Dow-component Alcoa (AA) is due to kick off earnings tomorrow night. Energy stocks continued to under perform as crude oil sinks to new relative lows. Meanwhile the only sector index in the green today is the HMO healthcare index, which is up nearly 5% on news that the Obama administration might be stepping back from the public healthcare plan.
Overall Tuesday has been a rather quiet session. There hasn't been any major news stories other than Michael Jackson's memorial service in L.A. this afternoon. Investors are ignoring reports of new oil infrastructure sabotage by Nigerian rebels or yesterday's violent uprising in western China. The major global markets were all negative. The Chinese Shanghai index broke a four-day winning streak to close down 1.1%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng sank 0.65%. The Japanese NIKKEI index lost 0.3%. In Europe the British FTSE lost 0.19% after England's manufacturing output sank 0.5% in May. The French CAC-40 lost 1.0% and the German DAX gave up 1.1%.
Crude oil was a big story yesterday and it remains in the headlines today as oil futures fell under $63.00 a barrel this morning. Oil prices have bounced a little but remain near $63.00. Concerns over an anemic economic recovery and lagging demand have fueled this correction in oil prices and the oil stocks have really under performed the rest of the market. The OSX oil services index has dropped toward technical support at its 100-dma, its 200-dma and its 50% retracement of the March-June rally. Later tonight the American Petroleum Institute will release their weekly oil inventory report and tomorrow morning the EIA will release their weekly inventory numbers.
Commodities in general are trading lower thanks to a bounce in the U.S. dollar. As analysts look toward second quarter earnings they are currently predicting that the basic material sector will show a 79% drop in profits and the energy sector's profits will plunge 65%. We'll get our first look on Wednesday night when Alcoa (AA) reports earnings. Wall Street's estimates are for a loss of 37 cents a share.
Later this afternoon is another U.S. bond auction. The Treasury department is selling $35 billion in three-year notes. No one is expecting any surprises and recent auctions have been very successful. Tomorrow the Treasury sells another $19 billion in ten-year notes. Investors will want to listen for any news on the bid-to-cover ratio being weaker than normal, which would be bearish for the markets. In other news the annual G8 summit will kick off tomorrow.
Currently the S&P 500 index is down 0.8% near 891 and bouncing from another test of its 200-dma. The NASDAQ composite is off 1.1% near 1767 and breaking down under its 50-dma. The Dow Industrials are down 0.8% but bouncing from their early afternoon lows. The Russell 2000 is down about 0.6% as it hovers near the 490 level.
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:
Scanning the OptionInvestor.com play list I see that not much is happening. Stocks are drifting sideways to down. The FXE euro ETF is slipping due to strength in the dollar. AGU, an OI put play, is down 2.1% and hitting new relative lows. LLL, another put play, is down 2.5% and hitting new relative lows. The bounce in the transports is failing and shares of UPS are down 1.9%. Shares of WY are off 4.5%. Casino stock WYNN is down another 3.1% and testing technical support at its 100-dma.