Wednesday, November 4, 2009

04/11: Markets volatile after Fed statement; end at lows

To follow-up upon my earlier post of approximately 1:10p CST, U.S. equity markets responded to today's FOMC statement by rising to touch session highs of the AM trade, and then promptly turned around to plumb fresh intra-day lows into the close. The S&P500 settled at 1047, near its intra-day low of 1045; the intra-day peak was 1061. Note, reader, that today's tumultuous trade took the index above and, then, below its 50-hour SMA:

Prima facie, it's hard to find fault with the Fed's policy decision and accompanying statement, and I certainly can't provide a coherent explanation to explain the topsy-turvy trade of today's final one hundred and five minutes. The body decided to leave interest rates unchanged, as expected, and furthermore issued an exceedingly benign policy statement, going to great pains to underscore that inflation expectations remain low and that loose monetary policy is yet to continue for an "extended" period of time. What more did the markets want to hear? Or might so much accommodation actually be spooking the markets, giving the impression that recovery may be more nascent than conventional wisdom suggests?

My own positions today delivered moderately negative results, and I continue to hold Tuesday's acquisitions -- SLB and MOT calls -- into tomorrow's session. Shares of both firms declined less than one percent, and Schlumberger even dazzled with an impressive (but ultimately fleeting) intra-day advance, and I remain optimistic about the near-term potential for both securities. MOT calls seem particularly poised, with open interest increasing smartly over the past few sessions. Happily, prospects for tomorrow's market open may be favourable, as Cisco reported street-beating figures after today's close of trade and its shares have advanced three percent after hours.

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