Commentary

George Chamberlin

GEORGE CHAMBERLIN has been associated with The Daily Transcript at SDDT.com since 1998 and became Executive Editor in 2006. He is responsible for the development of editorial strategies for the newspaper and website. He has introduced video and audio into the editorial products and is the public face of the company at many community events. George regularly chairs industry roundtables and conducts video interviews of participants for use on the San Diego Source. He writes two daily columns, "Money in the Morning" and a daily stock market wrap-up.

George, a long time resident of North County, lives in Vista with his wife Terry.

From the Executive Editor

Another record for the S&P 500 yesterday. The broad-based index finished at an all-time high for the 10th time this year as investors realized it will still be some time before the Fed gets around to raising short-term interest rates. To be sure, trading every day this week has been extremely light ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. Expect more of the same today.

It looks like a lot of folks on Wall Street are getting an early start for the Memorial Day weekend. Trading has been very quiet and prices are holding in a tight range with little news to move the markets. The Dow industrials snapped a two-session streak where it had closed at record highs. Stocks seesawed throughout the session and finished with a loss of just 27 points. Not a lot to move the markets today and it should be the same tomorrow. The exchanges will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

It was only 14 points but that was enough to take the Dow industrials to a new record-closing high yesterday. It was the second session in a row the blue chip index finished in record territory; the S&P 500 slipped just a fraction to snap a three-session winning streak. While trading has been light and stocks have been range-bound, the bias does remain to the upside. Sellers are few and far between as traders keep waiting for the next big event to move the markets. Trading should remain pretty quiet for the rest of this week as we move toward the long Memorial Day weekend.

Insider trading has often been called a “victimless crime.”

Stocks continue their steady advance. With little or no fanfare, the major stock market indexes are gaining with the S&P 500 hitting a new all-time high yesterday for the third consecutive session. The Dow industrials joined the party with a modest gain that was enough to break the old closing-high set in early March. Of course, the mini rally is being ignored by most business media. In fact, when the market is discussed it is to warn investors of the coming tragedy. "Scary summer ahead for stocks," warns MarketWatch.com -- owned by the Wall Street Journal. Two large Wall Street firms, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, are suggesting a tough patch for stocks. They, of course, hedge their bets by saying the markets could move higher before heading lower. Thanks for nothing.

Eight. That's the number of times the S&P 500 Index has closed at a new all-time record high in 2015, including last Friday. To be sure, recent gains have been modest, but a record is a record. A market recap in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal said the Dow industrials are now up a modest 2.5 percent so far in 2015 and the S&P 500 has gained 3.1 percent. For some reason, the article decided to ignore the fact the Nasdaq Composite is up a respectable 6.6 percent YTD. Once again, the business media, even the once-respected WSJ, decide to pick and choose the information they share with readers rather than all the details.

For the past two weeks, MarketWatch.com has been highlighting a column by Paul Farrell with the headline, "Countdown to the stock market crash of 2016 is ticking louder." The column is nowhere to be found today because the ticking people have been hearing is the major stock market indexes moving to and above all-time record highs. Yesterday was a beauty as the Dow industrials added 192 points and came close to its record high set on March 2, and the S&P 500 did finish the session at an all-time high.

A government report issued Wednesday describing retail sales in April showed no change from the previous month.

A great start on Wall Street. Stock prices opened today on a tear with the Dow industrials jumping more than 160 points in the first half-hour of trading. Whether this breakout sticks only time will tell, but it does mark a change in the meandering market of the past few weeks. Since the start of the year, investors have been hesitant to sell their profitable stock holdings because of a lack of viable alternatives. As a result, any decline has been quickly used as a buying opportunity.

Volatility on Wall Street was calmed down a bit. Yesterday, as an example, the Dow industrials were down just 37 points and early gains today have the index up a handful of points. To be sure, the markets remain trendless, waiting for something, good or bad, to happen. Could it be that important things, like the Tom Brady Delfategate situation, have diverted attention away from a possible interest rate decision by the Fed?

The trend is your friend. Investors have learned over the years not to "fight the tape," meaning if the market wants to go up it will and if the markets want to go down the same will happen. Of course, things get a bit sticky when there is no trend, as has been the case so far in 2015. Every mini-rally is followed by modest selling and vice versa. Friday's 270-point rally in the Dow industrials was nibbled at yesterday with a drop of 85 points, and selling is continuing today with an early decline taking the index down triple digits. The good news in all of this is selling remains tepid, no mass rush to the exit. The only thing scaring the markets now is the possibility of a rate hike by the Fed. Once people realize that is unlikely in the immediate future, they may feel more comfortable about adding to their portfolios.

With the Memorial Day weekend -- the unofficial start to summer -- less than two weeks away, Americans are ready to hit the road in levels unseen since before the Great Recession.

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