Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A whole lotta shakin' for whole lotta nothin'

Dow Jones 10,409.46 +4.69 +0.05%
NASDAQ 2,305.93 +0.05 +0.00%
S&P 500 1,114.61 -0.62 -0.06%

I never did get to bed. Napped at the desk and stayed out of this kooky market. Hard to see how or why AAPL has moved so much the past few sessions, but maybe ... well, more on that later.

Not a whole lot to say about today. Most stocks swayed and swirled, but not in a way that got anyone nauseous. Maybe everybody was watching Congress grill BP's Tony Hayward. Or smart traders are enjoying summer vacation.

FXE was up for much of the session before closing at 122.64 (-0.35%) while UUP (25.10, +0.32%) is slightly up. The Spaniards upped the ante on the Germans, but it was Spain that buckled. EWP (Spain ETF) fell 1.12% to 35.33 and STD dropped 1.79% to 10.99.

GS barely finished higher (137.13 +0.17%) while C dropped 0.13% to 3.98. IRE (4.18 -3.02%) and NBG (2.47 -1.59%) pulled back from recent gains. I'm apathetic about this sector. Up, down, up, down ... sometimes because of news. Sometimes because of nothing. It's stupid so I steer clear.

AAPL zoomed 2.92% to 267.28, a gain of more than 7 bucks on decent volume. Is there really a difference in Apple since two or three weeks one week ago, when AAPL hovered at 242? Not really. Sure, iPhone G4 demand is huge, but is that really a surprise? Could be that hedge funds and mutuals are piling back in before Q2 ends at the end of this month. That's two weeks away! I'm staying out and waiting for yet another pullback.

GOOG closed up just a hair to 501.34. Much as I like the future for Google, 500 is definitely a psychological barrier. I still prefer GOOG below 490, but I'll buy AAPL before GOOG.

NFLX rose again, nearly 1% to 124.67. CSTR gave up practically all its early gain and closed at 52.51, just .02% higher. The news about the new-release deal with Paramount pushed CSTR shares up to 54.76, but this week's rally turned buyers into sellers by this afternoon. I like CSTR for the time being as a short-term trade. Might get in below 50. Or not.

GLD closed down a skosh at 120.33, TLT was up a hair to 97.06 ... I hesitate to call copper king FCX a safe play given China's cautious approach to growth. FCX was down just a tiny bit to 67.03 and US Steel (X) dropped 1.31% to 45.33.

BP gained after its chairman and CEO met with Obama. BP closed at 31.85 (+1.43%) on the news that it will suspend its dividend payout and set up a $20 billion fund for Gulf businesses destroyed by the oil "volcano."

The oil sector was up slightly, but it has traded quite well in spite of BP. The inverse ETN for oil, SCO, dropped nearly 2%.

Natural gas started horribly, rallied, and folded by the close. Only 12 of my Nat Gas 40 finished positive today, not too bad considering the rampage the sector had been running since Obama's clean energy speech nearly two weeks ago. MMR finished up 3.75% to 12.44 after leading the group most of the day. KOG, REXX and FTK were also top gainers. Two of my favorites, CLNE and WPRT, finished in the red. CLNE dropped 3.49% to 17.54 and WPRT fell 1.13% to 19.19.

I like WPRT below 19 and had my chance in the morning, but the market was underwater at the time and I decided to play it safe. I like WPRT's balance sheet a lot. Don't really like CLNE's numbers, but as a clean energy play, CLNE is almost as intriguing as WPRT. I'm sure value investors might agree partway on WPRT, probably more so when it was trading at 3 bucks in March of last year. At these levels, it's still reasonably attractive, but I'll be choosy about my price. Haggling is good.

Nat Gas is one of the best sectors to trade and/or follow now that it has an edge of sorts (Obama's verbal backing and nothing more yet) and the world is sick and tired of crude oil's consequences. Whether Nat Gas as a sector is more of a market indicator now than it was last month, well, I wouldn't assume that. I do feel that it truly does give a fingerprint on the market's tone. Natty Gas is a fairly safe play even in the midst of speculation, oversupply and the emotional content of the broad market, i.e. Mother Earth bleeding into the Gulf 24/7.

Even with today's pullback in Nat Gas, five of my 40 are up at least 20% in two weeks, including WPRT (+30.7%). UNG, which was up to 8.83 two days ago, fulfilled my expectations since and closed today at 8.49 (-3.85%). Again, UNG is a buy below 8 and a sell above 8.50, or maybe it's more like a sell at 8.75 now. Higher highs, higher lows and the sector shows no signs of cooling off. I'd guess that Nat Gas will remain hot as long as we can all see that Gulf oil live video.

After that, who knows? I just want to be in the sector's top play rather than bet big on a skittish natty gasser penny when the ice starts to melt.

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