Stocks fell over 1.2% on the day as consumer confidence and retail fears roiled the markets. The rally off the recent lows was on very weak volume and today’s sell-off was not all that different. Volume was light, but breadth was negative at 2:1. High beta names were particularly weak as tech and financials fell more than the S&P 500. Treasuries rallied over 1% and the Euro lost 0.7% versus the dollar. The VIX rallied 7% after 9 straight days of declines. Is this bipolar market on the verge of another manic swing?
From Daily Futures:
The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence fell from 56.5 to 46.0 in February, much weaker than expected. The March 2011 eurodollars closed up .075 at 98.745.
The Standard and Poor’s/CaseShiller index of home prices in twenty U.S. cities was down .2% in December and down 3.1% from a year ago, a little weaker than expected.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said that the number of troubled banks increased from 552 to 702 in the fourth quarter, the most in 16 years.
The U.S. Treasury sold $44 billion of 2-year T-notes at a median yield of .865% with a bid-to-cover ratio of 3.33. The March U.S. T-bonds closed up 1.16/32nds at 117.28/32nds.
Grains and Cotton
May soybeans were up most of the day with hopes that exports will stay strong, but closed down 9.5 cents at $9.595, weighed down by today’s broad sell-off of commodities.
July wheat finished down 9.5 cents at $5.182, pressured by today’s weak economic news and stronger dollar.
April hogs closed down .85 at 69.45 after yesterday’s monthly cold storage report showed total frozen pork supplies down 18% on January 31st from a year ago, a little less than expected.
Prime Minister Soro of the Ivory Coast said that opposing sides have come to an agreement and a new government will soon be announced. May cocoa dropped $138 to $2,945 the lowest close in five months.
May orange juice closed up 1.95 cents at $1.4175, one of the few positive gains today. The USDA is expected to have more accurate estimates of this year’s freeze damage in its March report.
May copper fell 9.40 cents to $3.2345, hurt by today’s weak economic news.
The Ifo Institute said that their index of Germany business confidence fell from 95.8 to 95.2 in February. An unusually cold winter was blamed for weaker retail sales. The March euro closed down .0085 at $1.3522.