As has been the case so many times throughout this rally, the bearishness of yesterday proved short-lived. As we mentioned yesterday, the market’s knee-jerk reaction to Alcoa was unjustified. Stocks jumped 0.8% on the day. Volume was light again, but breadth was quite strong at 3:1. Intel and JP Morgan are likely to provide some fireworks Thursday and Friday, but the real action won’t begin until early next week. Daily Futures has the action from all markets:
The Federal Reserve’s monthly Beige Book said that “ten (of the twelve) Districts reported some increased activity or improvement in conditions.” Mixed conditions were reported from Philadelphia and Richmond.
The U.S. Treasury sold $21 billion of 10-year T-notes at a median yield of 3.70% with a bid-to-cover ratio of 3.00.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said that its index of mortgage applications was up 14% to 528.1 last week.
Grains and Cotton
The USDA said that 106,680 tons of U.S. corn were sold to Japan and 116,000 tons of U.S. corn were sold to unknown destinations. March corn closed down 8.5 cents at $3.84 after yesterday’s limit-down finish.
Due to late harvests, the USDA said that it will re-survey corn and soybean producers in several states and publish the results in the March 10 USDA report. March soybeans closed up 14.5 cents at $9.925.
It could be weeks before we know just how bad the Florida citrus crop was damaged by this month’s cold weather, but the ten-day forecast remains safely warm for now. March orange juice fell 3.70 cents to $1.3270.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said that crude oil supplies were up 3.7 million barrels last week to 331.0 million barrels. Supplies of gasoline were up 3.8 million barrels and heating oil supplies were down 1.1 million barrels. March crude oil closed down $1.13 at $80.04.
The DOE also said that refinery use increased from 79.9% to 81.3% of capacity last week. Over the past four weeks, gasoline demand was up .4% from a year ago while distillate demand was down 4.0% from a year ago.
The 6 to 10 day forecast from the National Weather Service expects above average temperatures for the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. March natural gas closed up 15.2 cents at $5.704.
According to Bloomberg news, India imported 343 tons of gold in 2009, down from 420 tons in 2008. February gold closed up $7.40 at $1,136.80.
The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics said that its manufacturing index was unchanged in November and down 5.4% from a year ago. The March British pound gained 1.04 cents to $1.6275.
Germany’s Federal Statistical Office said that real GDP was down 5.0% in 2009, weaker than expected.