Evidently investors were not impressed with the State of the Union address last night. Maybe the market decline is due to the disappointing durable goods orders or rising jobless claims. Or maybe it's the disappointing earnings results from QCOM. Most likely it's a combination of factors that has stocks accelerating lower. The S&P 500 has now broken support near the 1,085 level. Most of the market is retreating but we are seeing some strength in healthcare and believe it or not the banks.
Asian markets managed a bounce ending a multi-day losing streak across the region. The Japanese NIKKEI gained 1.5% in spite of negative earnings news out of Nintendo and the troubles at Toyota, who has halted sales of several models pending an investigation into a sticky gas pedal. The Hong Kong Hang Seng rose 1.6%. The Chinese Shanghai rose 0.25%.
It was an ugly day in Europe with the early morning bounce fading lower and eventually accelerating into negative territory. This appears to be a move on the worse than expected durable goods and jobless claims in the U.S. Commodity stocks were some of the worst performers. The English FTSE fell 1.3%. The German DAX and French CAC-40 both fell 1.8%. We're getting close to a 10% correction for some of these European markets.
The Commerce Department said December's durable goods orders rose 0.3%. Economists were expecting a gain of 2%. This tends to reflect on the health of the manufacturing industry and these number make investors nervous. 2009 was a terrible year with durable goods orders falling 20.2% - the worst year on record.
Initial jobless claims also disappointed. The Labor Department said initial claims only fell 8,000 to 470,000. Economists were hoping for a drop to 450,000. The four-week moving average, which provides a more balanced look ticked higher for the second week in a row after falling for 19 weeks. Investors don't want to see jobless claims rising! Speaking of jobless, it looks like Ben Bernanke will get to keep his as the Fed Chairman. The senate is posed to vote on Bernanke's reappointment today and polls are suggesting he will get enough votes to stay. His first four-year term as Federal Reserve chairman expires on January 31st, 2010.
The U.S. market is trying to bounce from its intraday lows but overall we're seeing a lot of technical damage. The S&P 500 has broken down under key support at the 1,085 level and its 100-dma. Now investors will be targeting a drop toward the 1040-1035 zone for a 10% correction off the highs. The NASDAQ is under its 100-dma. The Dow Industrials are flirting with a drop under its 100-dma. The Transportation index has broken support at the 4,000 level and its 100-dma. Looking at few high-profile stocks AAPL is down 4.1% after yesterday's iPad launch. Goldman Sachs (GS) is trying to bounce from a long-term trendline crossing the $150 level. QCOM is off 14.4% and nearing old support near the $40 level.
A minor bounce in the dollar is pressuring commodities again. Crude oil is down 0.5% near $73.25 a barrel. Gold is down over $6 to $1,079 an ounce. Retail gasoline prices are down for the 15th day in a row. Natural gas prices are off for the fourth day in a row.
Chart of the S&P 500:
Chart of the NASDAQ:
Chart of the Dow Industrials:
Chart of the Russell 2000 index:
Chart of the Transportation Index:
The market's widespread retreat is good news for our put plays. FDX is off 1.3%. GYMB is down 2.5%. INFY has hit our entry to buy puts at $53.40. SI is down 3.1%. The only stock on our list not trading lower is JPM.