Stocks were generally flat on Tuesday as investors wait for the FOMC decision on interest rates tomorrow. The lack of follow through on yesterday's painful sell-off is a positive for the markets but a lot of technical damage was done yesterday. Homebuilders are managing a bounce on the existing home sales data out this morning. Meanwhile commodities were bouncing on a drop in the U.S. dollar.
Global markets were mixed. Asian stock markets were mostly lower as they got a chance to react to Monday's steep decline in Europe and the U.S. and the negative global GDP forecast by the World Bank. The Japanese NIKKEI lost 2.8%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng gave up nearly 2.9%. The Chinese Shanghai index only fell 0.1% as it bounced back from its intraday lows. The Chinese market got a boost from positive comments from an official in the People's Bank of China who said that China would likely recover faster than expected. The People's Bank of China is now forecasting that GDP will jump from 6.1% in the first quarter to 8.0% in the second quarter.
European markets were generally flat following yesterday's sell-off. There was some economic data out today and it wasn't very positive. A German purchasing managers survey showed that the recession got worse in June. Germany is Europe's larger economy and it continues to struggle with lagging exports and struggling domestic demand. France also reported that domestic consumer spending fell more than expected. The French CAC-40 index lost 0.2%. The German DAX gained 0.29%. The English FTSE lost 0.1%.
Here in the states the markets turned their attention to the President Obama news conference. Obama spoke on Iran and the protested elections there, producing a clean energy bill in congress, and his plans for healthcare reform. Elsewhere his administration filed an unfair trade case against the country of China in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The EU filed a similar case. The complaint is that China is favoring its domestic companies and providing access to cheaper materials, giving them an unfair advantage, while restricting the export of key manufacturing ingredients to foreign countries.
This week has a number of economic reports being released. Today's was the existing home sales figures for May. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said that existing home sales rose 2.4% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.77 million but that was less than the 4.81 million expected. This report would have been worse but NAR revised their April figures lower. The median sales price came in at $173,000, which is almost 17% lower than a year ago. Inventory of homes in May declined 3.5%, which is good news but we still have a 9.6 month supply on the market.
Tomorrow the new home sales figures come out. Of course the market will be focused on the Federal Reserve's decision and statement on interest rates around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday will also bring the weekly oil inventory numbers. Crude oil managed a bounce today to $67.83 a barrel after a steep multi-day sell-off.
Currently the S&P 500 index is up just two points to 895. It remains under round-number support/resistance at the 900 level and it remains under the 200-dma and 50-dma. The NASDAQ Composite is up less than one point at 1766 but it does appear to be bouncing from its lows near 1750 today. The Dow Industrials are down about 13 points around 8326 and hovering under its 50-dma. The Russell 2000 small cap index is off just over one point at 491 and clinging to its 200-dma.
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 AAPL breaking down with a new relative low under the $135 level. Shares have hit our stop loss closing the play. Shares of TEVA have dipped toward support near $46.00 and bulls are buying the pull back. This is a new entry point to buy calls. Our put play on LLL is looking better with the stock breaking round-number support at $70.00. Traders may want to exit the MDC put play with the stock bouncing over $30.00. Our put play on homebuilder TOL has hit our target to exit.