Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oil storage, Stocks and States

The 'Helicopter Economics Investing Guide' is meant to help educate people on how to make profitable investing choices in the current economic environment. In addition to the term helicopter economics, we have also coined the term, helicopternomics, to describe the current monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. government and to update the old-fashioned term wheelbarrow economics.

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U.S. Stocks opened strongly this morning. How they close and on what volume will be significant. The economic news, although negative is being reported in a positive light this morning. The fiscal crisis in California, and a number of other states, is being mostly ignored. It's likely everyone is assuming they will find some way to carry on. The oil storage report this week was a repeat of last weeks.

Yesterday, the Dow once again closed below its 200-day moving average. Intraday, it fell below the 50-day, but managed to rise to close above it. So far today, it is well above it for only the second time in the last two weeks. China hit a new yearly high last night and European stocks were up nicely today, especially commodity plays linked to Chinese growth prospects. Japan, Australia and New Zealand were down, although the rest of Asia was up. Gold has traded up nicely and silver decently today. The trade-weighted dollar is weak, last trading at 79.69, still just above its break down level of 78.33.

Oil peaked today in mid-day European trading, where it reached at least 71.50. Selling came in strongly after the storage report. Crude supplies were down another 3.7 million barrels last week. In the last two months they have dropped sharply. Gasoline and distillates were both up however, gasoline by 2.3 million barrels and distillates by 2.9 million barrels. Even if oil in storage is in short supply, it won't matter for awhile because there is more than enough gasoline, diesel and heating oil around at the moment. The last quote I saw for oil was 69.35.

In economic news, the ISM Manufacturing report came in at 44.8, better than last months 42.8. Any number below 50 indicates that manufacturing activity is contracting. Nevertheless the mainstream media reported big improvements in manufacturing data. This was the 17th month in a row that the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy has shrunk. Housing data today was contradictory. The government reported that its home purchase index was down 21.9% year over year based on mortgage applications. The less reliable real estate PR organization NAR reported that pending home sales were up however based on signed contracts. Guess which news item got the most attention from the media.

NEXT: So far, so Bad

Daryl Montgomery
Organizer,New York Investing meetup

This posting is editorial opinion. Like all other postings for this blog, there is no intention to endorse the purchase or sale of any security.

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