From the Trading Desk

AAPL Blows Away Earnings as Stocks end Mixed on Light Volume

Disappointing housing market numbers kicked started the morning economic news, but a better than expected Richmond Fed Manufacturing index was a nice surprise. While the rebound outside of the NASDAQ was nice to see the lack of volume was quite unimpressive. The real story would come out in the after-hours session with AAPL reporting its earnings. Blowing out another quarter of earnings AAPL was able to surprise the street again with fabulous numbers. Closing out the after-hours session, the stock closed off its highs, but above the key $600 psychological level since last week. Today’s session was really lackluster with not much to hang your hat on besides AAPL.

AAPL will take a back seat to Big Ben and the Federal Open Market Committee’s policy statement and rate announcement. The Fed isn’t about to raise interest rates any time soon, but the market would like to hear the Fed go beyond 2014 and state rates will remain low until 2015. May I remind you that is a full 6 years from the bottom. In 1920, the economy suffered a terrible recession (the last great recession before this one) and by 1921 the economy bottomed out and pushed higher. While there was considerable pain the rest of the 20s roared. Is the economy so bad the Fed needs to keep rates this low? ZIRP is not working and neither is pumping in further liquidity. This debate will not matter, only the direction of the market matters and it continues to be down.

A key indicator is the 50 day moving average and the S&P 500 and NASDAQ remain below this key moving average. I am sure we could see the prices jump back above this moving average, but with the current damage waged by sellers it would take a miracle to manage a new rally. Let’s also not forget we are close to May and very few uptrends have EVER started in after May. August would be the next probable month a new rally may actually begin. We’ll most likely see a lot of chop and lower prices over the next few months. Be prudent.

Volume will likely get a boost tomorrow as everyone in the world will try and position themselves after the Fed announces its decision. Perhaps we’ll get the NASDAQ to produce Day one of an attempted rally, but the odds are not in favor of a new uptrend forming here. Its all about price! Stay focused on it.

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