The markets are all hovering higher today.  Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 up over half a percent on the day.  The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) is higher by .60%.  The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSE:DIA) is up the same.  Since the February 5th bottom, the markets have gone straight higher.  Rumors and speculation jump out on why the markets have done this.  Across the board, it is looking more and more suspicious.  Suspicious?  Yes, it is looking like there are other factors at work in keeping the market near the highs if not making new highs.

One interesting coincidence to look at is the President Obama tough talk.  Where has it gone?  Did anyone notice how Wall Street rebelled as soon as President Obama started talking about regulation for Wall Street?  This started in mid January and Wall Street fought back.  The markets tumbled drastically, dropping almost 10%.  Since that happened, has anyone heard a peep from the President on Wall Street regulation?  I think not!  Anyone who thinks the markets are a true barometer of the economy needs glasses.  Anyone who thinks that Wall Street and big business does not control the government also needs to be admitted into a psychiatric ward in my humble opinion.

As the markets trade higher, a few key stocks are pushing this market.  Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) is making up for the previous lackluster days.  It is surging 1.70%, a monster move for that stock! Of the oil plays, that is the leader today, no doubt about it.  Technology is being headed by the semiconductors.  The Semiconductor HOLDRs (ETF) (NYSE:SMH) is higher by 1.6%, a big move and even bigger, considering the SMH was up huge yesterday as well.  Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is having a average day, just up .65%.  Financial stocks continue to lead the market, charged by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM).  JPM is up 1.75%.

Gareth Soloway
Chief Market Strategist