Stealing the Spotlight

It was another crazy session for the Nikkei today.

After rising 3% out of the gate after Thursday’s bloodbath, the Japanese index embarked on a wild ride. By early afternoon, it had given it all back and more. Still, it fought higher to finish the day with a modest gain.

That’s a 3% rise after 7% drop— ending in a small gain after another downside scare (in case you were keeping score). That’s enough torment to keep the average Japanese investor awake for many nights to come. I suspect this is just the beginning of some wild price action across the Pacific…

Meanwhile, U.S. stocks did their best to ignore the turmoil. The major indexes marched higher from their opening lows to end yesterday’s session with small losses. Stocks are set to open a little lower today. But the drama on this side of the world isn’t anything close to what we’re seeing overseas.

As expected, Japan’s wild ride is stealing all of the attention.

You probably didn’t notice that April home sales rose to the second highest level since 2008. Or that the median new home price hit a record high.

I bet you also missed this morning’s big durable goods beat. “Total orders expanded 3.3% in April after plunging a revised-up 5.9% in March,” reports Business Insider. “Economists predicted a smaller, 1.5% rise.”

So no, the world’s not completely falling apart this morning. But at the same time, it’s also clear that this bullish data means little to the market right now. The focus is elsewhere. Stocks want to tread water or move a bit lower. Some investors want to cash out for the summer. That’s how it goes.

I wrote yesterday that the market has finally started to cool. Yes, stocks can have a down day—even a down week. Any long-term investor should cheer this action as a personal victory. If you’ve chewed your fingers to the bone as the market sailed higher without you, your chance to catch up is approaching…

Regards,

Greg Guenthner
for The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning