The markets rallied Wednesday despite a disturbing contraction in economic growth in the first quarter and fears of a swine flu pandemic.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 168.78, or 2.1%, to 8,185.78, while the S&P 500 rose 18.48, or 2.16%, to 873.64. The Nasdaq added 38.13, or 2.28%, to 1,711.94. Melissa Lee, the moderator of CNBC's "Fast Money" TV show, said the markets displayed some resiliency that was supported by a jump in bank shares. Guy Adami said the Gross Domestic Product report, which showed the U.S. economy declined at a 6.1% rate in the first quarter, was not enough to scare anybody. He said it's time to take some profits with the S&P at the 870 level. Jeff Macke said the S&P didn't break out as it closed below the Jan. 28 high of 874. Pete Najarian offered a word of caution. "It's almost too easy now. There's bad news and people are still buying," he said. Najarian added that the people jumping into the markets may not be buyers but people marking up their books at the end of the month. Tim Seymour also was cautious, saying the markets in the past three Fed meetings rallied an average of 2.5%, only to give back two-thirds of that amount in the next couple of days. Lee said bank stocks, including Bank of America ( BAC), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Citigroup ( C) were all higher and wondered whether the rally will continue through Monday, when the stress test results are released.
Macke said the stress tests are a non-factor since the results have already been leaked and six banks reportedly are in need of capital. Commodities moved higher today, with copper up 5% and oil moving above $50. Seymour said he still thinks copper and iron are in trouble because the demand is not there. He's bullish on the refineries and oil service names, which took off today, after reports showed how much refineries have been holding back on production. Lee noted that the Materials SPDR ( XLB), which includes copper, oil and steel, was up 3% today. According to Seymour, Caterpillar ( CAT) said its excavation equipment sales in China are at the same level at the peak of the market. Adami said there is still more upside to be had in Baker Hughes ( BHI) and US Steel ( X), which increased its secondary offering. Najarian said he likes the energy play, especially Massey Energy ( MEE), a major coal producer in the United States. Lee noted consumer stocks showed strong gains today, but Seymour was skeptical of the reports of increased consumer spending in the GDP report. He thought it was a head-fake and cited an economist who sees a pullback coming. Adami said he liked Gap ( GPS) which, despite "awful" comparable sales numbers, is seeing a decline in inventories and is running its business better. He said the stock, which closed at $15.09, is a buy at $13.50 to $14. Najarian told viewers to look at Boyd Gaming ( BYD), which is up 40% in the past five days, with 20,000 contracts traded today compared to 2,000 contracts normally.
Dennis Gartman said he liked the action of the commodities in today's rally. He said investors want to own things like copper and aluminum that hurt when they fall on your feet. He said the action in the commodities "tells us that the economy is turning around" or close to it. The emerging markets were up 6% today. Seymour said he liked the action of America Movil ( AMX), which was up 11%. He also attributed a record move in the markets in Taiwan and a big jump in the China ETF on reports that qualified investors in China would be allowed to invest in Taiwan. He warned, though, of a bubble in this asset class. Lee brought in Lucas Rosen, a partner at the Schottenfeld Group, who talked about the euro-yen "cross" as a barometer for the market. He said the barometer has made a great move from the bottom in March, signaling a move up in such investments as copper, oil and the markets.
Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont, appeared on the show to talk about President Obama's ambitious health care agenda. He said his own personal preference for paying for the national health plan would be a carbon tax that would act as a financial incentive to make sure the green gas problems are going to be taken care of while raising the money needed to pay for the expansion of health care. Jim Goldman, a CNBC reporter, appeared briefly to talk about Palm ( PALM) and the chatter over the date of the launch of its much publicized Pre smartphone. He thinks the launch date will be sometime in mid-May. He also said the word is that Palm has an exclusive contract with Sprint for the Pre. There were no final trades. "Check out "'Fast Money' Portfolios of the Week" on Stockpickr every Thursday.