The market is trading nicely higher this morning. There hasn't been any huge catalyst to boost stocks this morning, so most likely it is just continued optimism that fiscal cliff won't be as bad as feared as well as a technical buy signal with SPX retaking its overhead 50-day average.
The Nasdaq is leading the action this morning, with the tech sector up 1.7% led by Apple. AAPL is trying to put in a double bottom after three tests of the $520 level that held. This morning its up $18 so far and trying to get back to $550. A continued rally in AAPL will likely embolden the bulls as it remains a favorite among investors and as such is a pretty good proxy for sentiment.
In corporate news, Liberty Interactive (LINTA) bought a big stake in TripAdvisor (TRIP) for $62.50 a share, which is boosting the stock 7%. Urban Outfitters (URBN) is up 6% after reporting strong sales. And AIG is up 4% after confirming that the US Treasury will sell its remaining shares of AIG stock.
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Asian markets were mixed overnight. China was down -0.4% after new loan data missed estimates.
European markets are generally higher this morning. The FT is reporting that Italy's PM Monti is in talks with the centrist party who are encouraging him to stand in next election. But the big boost came from the ZEW German Sentiment reading which came in well above expectations at 6.9 vs. estimates of -12.0. It was also the first positive reading in 6 months.
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The dollar index is lower today as the euro bounces. Commodities are a bit heavy relative to stocks. Gold prices are a touch lower to $1708. Oil prices are also a little weaker near $85.39. And silver and copper prices are lower as well.
The 10-year yield is getting a boost to 1.65%. And the volatility index is sliding more than 3% back down to the 15.50 level.
Trading comment: The other day I commented that the recent price action in the S&P 500 was setting up for another test of the 50-day average and that I didn't want to fight the price action. Yesterday the SPX closed above its 50-day for a second day, and today we are seeing the big spike above that key moving average. Moreover, all of the major indexes have now recaptured their respective 50-day averages. That is a positive technical sign and likely has increased the confidence of the bulls to put money to work on the long side. I still worry about the inability of any grand compromise on the fiscal cliff, but as they say-- don't fight the tape.
KAM Advisors has long positions in AAPL