Wed 3/1/12 4:17 PM – Stocks Overcome Disappointing Economic News

Today’s action was very choppy and in the last week US stocks are up less than 1%, though for the Nasdaq that would be 1.75%. Small stocks have actually declined 1.6%. We don’t like to see that because a good bull market has small stocks on board.

To be fair the economic news this week has been a little disappointing other than new jobless claims. Orders for durable goods were much lower than expected yesterday, along with Ben Bernanke’s sober testimony that downplayed the chances for more easing. That may be partly because the Europeans and Chinese are printing money like crazy.

Today, we heard that manufacturing was down for the third straight month and that consumer spending was again flat for the same period. Late in the day, a report came in that an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia had an explosion, sending oil over $110/barrel. If the report is true, oil will likely be up sharply tomorrow too.

Still, we are barely off new highs for the last four years. That’s pretty good, even if the rally has slowed considerably the last couple. That is seasonally pretty common and in line with a needed pause.