Monday, August 4, 2008

Finance stocks continue to shake

US: It was another volatile week for US stocks but with an ending that left prices almost unchanged.

In keeping with the current trend, the financial sector was the source of the volatility. Mixed economic data, mostly better-than-expected earnings reports, and volatile crude prices also prompted the market's swings. In the end, the good news offset the bad, with the major indices ending practically flat.

Last week’s action shows sentiment is still nothing more than nervous. Opinion and evidence is mixed as to whether the recent lows will be the worst we will see for time being.

COMMODITIES: Like stocks, Crude Oil had a rough ride last week. In fact for every session apart from Friday, the market swing was more than 1 percent (up or down). However prices finished near steady around the $125 mark.

Tensions in the Middle East persist after Israeli Deputy Prime Minister said that all options are open as Iran drives toward a “major breakthrough” in its nuclear weapons program. Iranian President they would “resist with force” any outside efforts to slow its nuclear program.

Comments such as these suggest there is a risk that Israel or US will attack Iran. Interestingly though, it’s not pushing Oil prices higher. You could argue its stopping process from falling, but it’s not actually pushing prices higher.

Gold, like other markets had a choppy week with sentiment seemingly flipping on a daily basis. The market finished down around $15 overall.

OVERALL: The market remains in a state of uncertainty. Often during these times the best bargains can be found. However it would be naive to expect this rocky road will get smoother any time soon. In other words, there are no real signs of a bottom.