Tuesday, December 5, 2006

12/5/2006 Morning Market Comment

It's another morning of the same, with stock futures little changed - which on the face of it looks pretty good for the bulls after the Dow jumped another 89 points yesterday as a fresh round of dealmaking and a stall in the dollar's slide brought the buyers back into the market.

Attention turns back to the economy today: Productivity and Unit Labor Costs at 8:30 e.t; and then Factory Orders and ISM Services at 10 a.m. The dollar has been flat ahead of the data, and gold has also been stuck at around the $650 mark for the Feb contract. What I find remarkable is that the dollar has been unable to stage any meaningful rebound whatsoever this week.

Crude choppiness continues, with WTI trading above $63 as the OPEC guessing game continues.

I'll have more on TOLL (TOL) later, but it looks like our bearish play will be somewhat profitable. Toll managed to beat by 1c/shr for the 4th quarter with a 44% drop in profit as we thought they would, but warned that profit would fall as much as 62% next year. For good measure, Toll added that it is hoping the tide may be turning which is a sentiment they voiced last summer. The stock is down about 2% in pre market trading. As we wrote last night in our justification for buying puts, rise in shares of homebuilders since the summer when the collapse in the housing market really got underway in earnest, has been nothing more than a bear trap. The Wall Street Journal highlights a big problem related to housing: growing mortgage delinquencies. While Toll is in the upper end market, I would venture to guess they've got at least another year before they see a turning point.

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