15 Reasons Markets Cracked Below Critical Trading Levels

Dow 11,951 S&P500 1,270 Nasdaq 2,643 Gold 1,532 Oil 99

Markets were range bound Monday through Thursday until taking a dive Friday. Oil (NYSE:USO) couldn’t stay above $100 a barrel. Gold (NYSE:GLD) and Silver (NYSE:SLV) shed a few points as the US Dollar (NYSE:UDN) had a little rally.

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Now, for the 15 reasons markets moved this week:

Monday

1) Banks spooked a low volume market. Famed investors John Paulson and David Tepperare offloading their holdings in financial institutions. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) are still under major scrutiny for their books. And, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) can’t shake the threat of major lawsuits. All that was enough to put financials (NYSE:XLF) in a tailspin for the day.

2) Apple WWDC took center stage. Tech titan Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced all their big new items for the acolytes. iCloud, iTunes Match, and the new iOS 5 were all stars of the show. We covered the event live in detail, then put together your Cheat Sheet to everything you need to know about WWDC.

3) Airlines and Autos were a major drag. The International Air Transportation Association offered up bad news as profit outlooks were slashed due to the disaster in Japan (NYSE:EWJ), the Grimsvotn volcano, and rising fuel costs (NYSE:USO). On the ground, General Motors (NYSE:GM) hit fresh 52-week lows, down 1.92% to $28.56.

Tuesday

1) Bernanke admitted the economy was slowing. Well, he admitted it then said he thinks growth will be back soon. Don’t worry, soon. Although lustful traders were hoping for some huge QE3 announcement, Bernanke still gave us more QE 2.5 where the Fed will continue buying securities and accommodating the financial markets as needed. Can someone say, ZIRP?

2) E3 took the baton from Apple. Yesterday Apple held the tech spotlight, but today the exciting video game sector was front and center. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Sony (NYSE:SNE), Nintendo and all the big game makers started pulling back the curtain on what gamers will die for during the holiday season (Check Out: E3 Wrap Up. And the Winners are …). That’s 180 degrees away from former tech darling Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) which keeps crashing and burning.

3) Another Economic Advisor gone. Austan Goolsbee will be leaving his position as chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers. Wall St. Cheat Sheet Assistant Editor Emily Knapp explores the deeper question, “Why is Obama’s Economic Team Bailing Out?

Wednesday

1) OPEC. Crude (NYSE:USO) had been down the last few days in anticipation of OPEC increasing the cap on production. But this morning when they decided to maintain production restrictions at current levels, it was the only big financial news release, so oil futures skyrocketed while everything else remained relatively still. See Why It’s All About That Texas Tea.

2) Tech has been unimpressive, at best. With no really big news or cool new gadgets coming out of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) continuing its downward spiral, the legality of the AT&T’s (NYSE:T) buyout of T-Mobile still being debated, and a host of unimpressive numbers from companies like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), the usually booming tech sector has been taking a bit of a vacation this week.

3) The Beige Book. The Federal Reserve released the Beige Book this afternoon, a snapshot of the country’s economic condition. Unsurprisingly, we’re not doing that great. Progress has slowed in just about every sector while many companies are facing higher input costs, passing them on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Nothing dampens the market like reminding people just how bad things are.

Thursday

1) Economic Indicators. This morning data from the Federal Reserve showed the trade deficit is narrowing. That got markets off to a good start. The positive news was followed up by better than expected wholesale inventory reports and significant decreases in consumer debt. Not all good news on the macro-economic front though as initial jobless claims were slightly worse than expected and the Fed reported a missing $6.6 trillion dollars in consumer wealth since 2007.

2) Mining and Agriculture led the way. In spite of reports that corn (NYSE:CORN) reserves are at the lowest levels since the 1970s, Mining and Agriculture (NYSE:RJA) stocks largely out-performed the market today. A report from PriceWaterHouseCoopers indicating revenues in mining companies are shooting “through the roof” sparked the bulls in the sector, and stocks such as Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) and Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) posted big daily returns.

3) The Financial Sector took a breather. Bruised and battered financials (NYSE:XLF) finally took a day off from losses, with the sector also out-performing the market on the day. Bank (NYSE:KBE) stocks were up across the board in spite of new pending lawsuits for Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Goldman-Sachs (NYSE:GS), and a hacker-assault on Citigroup (NYSE:C) that compromised information of over 200,000 customers. Income from banks’ debit card transaction fees is also set to take a big hit when the Dodd-Frank reforms go into effect next month, but analysts believe those estimates have already worked their way into pricing.

Friday

1) Oil Production is up. Saudi Arabia curbed oil supply fears later in the day by announcing they would step to the plate and up oil production significantly. The drop in oil prices was somewhat extreme given yesterday’s data that for the first time in history oil consumption outpaced production in 2010.

2) Dollar prices firm. The dollar (NYSE:UUP) finished the day up 1.23% versus the Euro, + .05% versus the Yen, and +.09% against the Pound. Currency values surged on news that QE3 probably isn’t coming anytime soon. The same news also sent investors into a panic and prompted stock sell-offs.

3) Bad news overseas. A number of reports of weak economic data came in today from across the pond in England (NYSE:EWU), where UK manufacturing output was significantly lower than expected. Worries continued to swirl amid default concerns related to Greek Debt and ECB offered little reassurance. News from Asia was crappy too as Chinese markets (NYSE:FXI) were growing slower than expected and a trade surplus was below-par level expectations, Korean bank (NYSE:EWY) raised its interest rates, and industrial production slowed in India (NYSE:IFN). The aggregate news combined to put a damper on the market.

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