While the markets staged a modest rally in the last hour, financials and commodity stocks showed no signs of life. Not so with energy: many big names were up 2-6 percent; this is one of the only sectors that has not had a disastrous November.
Hewlett-Packard made a bold call on 2009, predicting earnings slightly above consensus, but CEO Mark Hurd is going out on a limb here. Many anticipated that PC prices will be cut drastically in 2009, eating into margins.
The comment from Saks is more typical of what we are hearing: the CEO there said it was "impossible to predict future performance;" i.e. we are not giving EPS guidance at this time.
Meanwhile, GM ended down nearly 8 percent. The market is saying that, even if GM gets some money from the feds, it will be given out so parsimoniously, with so many strings attached, that it will be make little difference to the equity holders. Equity holders are likely to be wiped out whether GM goes under, or whether they get a big bailout in the next few months.
Finally, stock traders were passing around the video, which consists mostly of money manager Peter Schiff, head of EuroPacific Capital making dire predictions about housing and the stock market. What’s relevant is he was making these predictions in 2006, and was being openly laughed at on TV. This is a lesson in humility for everyone who is so confident in their bullishness, or bearishness.