|Semiconductor Index (SOX)||394.04||+12.50|
|Amex Gold Bugs Index||141.40||+0.21|
|10-year Treasury Bond||3.29%||-0.051|
Overnight, the markets were a snooze, but when the racetrack opened for business, stocks bolted out of the starting gate. Within the first couple hours, the Dow and the S&P were up 1%, and the Nasdaq was up 1.5%. Leading the charge were housing stocks, with SOX stocks in close pursuit and bank stocks not far behind. Once again, what goes on in these bigger-cap stocks is tame, relative to the moonshot moves in smaller-cap single-digit midgets. In any case, the early going was a bit of a frenzy as speculation operated full throttle. Bulls in a Ka-Chinga Shop: The early-morning blast was just an appetizer for what was to come. After going sideways for the middle part of the day, the last hour or so saw another push higher, and the indices finished basically on the high of the day. In the speculative derby, I would say that housing stocks came in first, with many up 4% to 5%. The SOX placed second, up about 3%. Financials showed in third, about 2% higher (though it could be argued that the biotechs were in a photo finish with them). This, naturally, excludes the crazy goings-on in the small-stock department. All in all, it was just another wild day on chunky volume over the counter, where we hit almost 2.5 billion shares once again. What began with such trepidation in early March has now blossomed into full-fledged, wide-open, white-hot speculation. Away from stocks, fixed income was slightly higher after yesterday's surge. The dollar was mixed, up against the euro and down against the yen. Gold was down 1%, while silver was down a penny. Caution: Wide Unload: Turning to the news, two sets of stories in today's Wall Street Journal and New York Times make for some interesting juxtapositions. The first consists of the Journal's "Insider Selling Surges: Normal Market Jitters or Reliable Indicator?" and "FASB Fights Bill to Delay Rules on Stock Options." As the former story notes, insider selling has recently risen to its highest level in the last couple of years. Obviously, insiders are voting with their feet. Though I didn't look at the data, my guess is that the lion's share comes from exercised stock options.