Updated from 3:58 p.m. EDT
Couldn't Quite Make It( At 5:45 p.m. EDT) More chaos in the final hour. Down, up, down again. Wouldn't be Wall Street if it were easy. We know this is basically the way it is, but that doesn't necessarily make it any easier to deal with. Or to type about. Just when it looked like the Dow Jones Industrial Average was going to come all the way back from a triple-digit loss in the morning and close in the green, selling in the final minutes left the index just below the flat line Monday. Ultimately, it slipped 25.57 points, or 0.3%, to 8057.81. Not horrible, though it would have been nice to see a rare first session of the week win. As I noted earlier, the industrials have only had two of those this year.
Last Hour Rally. Again.( At 3:49 p.m. EDT) Maybe I should keep saying this until something gets done. The trading day should be an hour long. At most. We could all be more productive if we weren't worrying about the stock market between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. EDT. What's the point? At any rate, the Dow, after spending the day in the red, did go positive late in the session. Recently it was up 10. During the morning it was losing more than 100 points. Not a bad turnaround. Here I thought we were supposed to be worried about earnings season. All good now. Thank the financials. Citigroup ( C) was up 23%. Bank of America ( BAC) was better by 16%. GM ( GM), meanwhile, remained sharply lower. Almost there. Always better to start a week up than down. We haven't seen that much this year.
Banks Aren't Afraid of Winning( At 2:20 p.m. EDT) Still in negative territory with about an hour and a half left in the session, but the financials are trying with everything they've got to get the Dow out of the doldrums. The index was recently off by 50 points at 8033, and earlier it threatened to overcome all of the session's losses. A few more stocks have entered the plus column as the afternoon has progressed, cutting the lagging issues' lead to 18 to 12. Citigroup ( C) was charging ahead by 17.4% to $3.57, and Bank of America ( BAC) was up nearly 15% at $10.96. The last time BofA finished above $10 was Jan. 14, and since closing Wednesday at $7.06, the stock has surged 55%. General Motors ( GM) remained by far the leading decliner in the industrial average, falling 16% to $1.71. Plenty of big corporate reports are on tap in the coming days. We'll get a better idea soon enough if these bank believers are right.
Must Be Monday Again( At 10:50 a.m. EDT) I suppose if you prefer to focus on the negatives in this world, you'll point out that the Dow is lower as the new week gets underway. You would be right, of course. Recently, the industrials were down 86 points at 7997. This is hardly anything to worry about. Thus far in 2009, by my count we've only had two weeks that started with a winning session, so nothing new here. Plus, keep in the mind the index is coming off its fifth straight higher week, and now earnings season is upon us. A few jitters are understandable. Of the 30 stocks in the Dow, just seven were gaining ground. The financials were having the best showing, led by a 12.2% advance in Citigroup ( C) to $3.41. American Express ( AXP), aided by a positive article in Barron's, and Bank of America ( BAC) were adding more than 8% each. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) was tacking on 2.2% to $33.48. General Motors ( GM) was registering the largest percentage decrease, down 16.2% to $1.71 following the latest reports about a potential bankruptcy for the carmaker. Boeing ( BA) and Chevron ( CVX) were also weak in the wake of their downbeat announcements after the close Thursday. In fact, Boeing was the second-worst performer after GM, dropping 7.3% to $36.30. Among this week's quarterly reports worth monitoring are a few from the Dow stocks, including Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) and Intel ( INTC) on Tuesday. Both stocks were slightly lower. For now, I'll wrap it up with something I was trying to avoid. Unfortunately, I don't think I can entirely. That would be irresponsible. So I'll simply note that it's about Microsoft ( MSFT) and Yahoo! ( YHOO) and provide you with a link.
TheStreet.com Ratings, recently cited for Best Stock Selection from October 2007 through February 2009 , is an independent research provider that combines fundamental and technical analysis to offer investors tremendous value in volatile times. To see how your portfolio can use this research, click here now!