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MARKET WRAP – ANOTHER MONDAY MORNING MELT-UP

Another Monday, another big rally.  This almost doesn’t even feel like a stock market anymore, but a machine.   Stocks were strong across the board following Friday’s jobs report and better than expected data on ISM and home sales.   The recent data has given investors hope that the recovery is indeed taking hold.  The S&P rallied 0.8% on very light volume though breadth was positive at 2.5:1.  Beta continued to be a substantial outperformer as small caps rallied 1.9%.   S&P 1,200 has felt like a guarantee for several weeks now and it appears as though the market is destined to get there sooner rather than later.  Small caps have now rallied 20% since February 8th while large caps have rallied 13%.  As we’ve previously mentioned, this has been by far the most impressive leg of the entire 75% rally.  The “can’t lose market” lives on and it’s difficult to see what will derail it before another positive earnings season begins.

From Daily Futures:

U.S. Economy
The Institute of Supply Management said that its index of U.S. services increased from 53.0 to 55.4 in March, stronger than expected and the highest score since May of 2006. The June 2011 eurodollars fell .09 to 98.235, the lowest close in six weeks.

The National Association of Realtors said that the index of pending home sales was up 8.2% in February and up 17.3% from a year ago, better than expected. May lumber closed up $9.00 at $296.00.

On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department said that the unemployment rate stayed at 9.7% in March with a gain of 162,000 jobs, the most in three years, but less than expected. The number of jobs lost in February was revised from 36,000 to 14,000. The June U.S. T-bonds closed down a half-point at 114.12/32nds, the lowest close in eleven weeks.

The U.S. Treasury sold $8 billion of 10-year TIPS at a median yield of 1.65% with a bid-to-cover ratio of 3.43.

Grains and Cotton
The USDA said that last week’s export inspections of:
Corn totaled 39.4 million bushels, down 12% from a year ago.
Soybeans totaled 16.2 million bushels, down 24% from a year ago.
Wheat totaled 20.1 million bushels, up 17% from a year ago.
May soybeans were down 6 cents at $9.36.

Livestock
June hogs closed up 1.67 at a new contract high of 85.05, boosted by low U.S. inventories and positive economic news.

Coffee
May coffee closed up 2.25 cents at $1.3965, the highest in nine weeks, helped by the world’s improving economic climate.

Energies
June crude oil closed up $1.79 at $87.13, the highest close in seventeen months, encouraged that increased world economic activity will translate into stronger oil demand.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Energy Department discovered a problem in the way that it collects data and will soon be reducing the amount of U.S. natural gas production that it has been reporting. June natural gas finished up 19.4 cents at $4.371.

Metals
May copper finished up 4.75 cents at $3.6315, supported by today’s positive economic news and last Thursday’s favorable manufacturing reports.

Currencies
The June Canadian dollar closed up .71 at a new contract high of 99.67, supported by last Wednesday’s friendly GDP report and rising commodity prices.

Markets in Europe were closed for the Easter holiday.

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