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Stocks Snap Two Day Slide

STOCKS SNAP TWO DAY SLIDE

Stocks snapped a two-day slide on Wednesday largely due to optimism about insurance firms and retailers.

Investors bid firms such as Prudential higher after the US Treasury said life insurers, whose capital base has been eroded by falling markets, had met requirements for government funds.

Bed Bath & Beyond also buoyed sentiment when they said sales were not as bad as feared in the last quarter. In fact, the news provided a tailwind for the broad retail sector.

In addition, beleaguered homebuilders received a boost after Pulte Homes said it would buy Texas-based builder Centex for $1.3 billion in stock against the backdrop of a troubled industry.

Strategy Session with the Fast Money Traders

I think the market traded well on Wednesday, muses Tim Seymour.

The market behaved like a champion, adds Jeff Macke. Just look at the way Mosaic acted in the face of terrible earnings.

And the first quarter numbers for consumer spending simply did not fall off a cliff in the way investors expected, adds Zach Karabell.

It seems to me investors are slightly more optimistic than they were just a week ago, adds Jon Najarian.

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VIX CLOSES BELOW 40

Is this a sign that investors are becoming less fearful? The CBOE Volatility Index or VIX, closed at its lowest level since early January.

The Vix is in contango where the spot price of 39 is lower than the futures contracts of 42, explains Jon Najarian. That’s a very positive sign.

But we’re going to be in an environment of greater volatility for a while, counters Zach Karabell. Investors shouldn’t expect volatility to return to 2007 levels.

The market still has a ton of volatility, says Tim Seymour. And I’d make it work to your advantage.

I’d ignore the Vix all together, bristles Jeff Macke. Just look at the price action in stocks.

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TOPPING THE TAPE: TECH

On the tech front, Qualcomm was among the sector'sbiggest advancers, while IBM also recorded solid gains. Technology stocks have held up relatively well despite the market's drop to 12-year lows last month.

"As you look across the broader equity marketplace, one of the things we are seeing is some people trying to really chase after the so-called earlier cycle names and it's been building as the days have gone on," says Craig Peckham, equity trading strategist at Jefferies & Company.

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MOODY’S CUTS BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY RATING

After hours Moody's cut Berkshire Hathaway's credit rating To AA2 From AAA.

I’d like to think that the news drives Berkshire lower because I’m short this stock, but I don’t think it matters, muses Jeff Macke.

I don’t think the market will care either, adds Tim Seymour.

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CONSUMER SHARES STORY OF THE DAY

Shares of retailers climbed on Wednesday, after Bed Bath & Beyond said sales were not as bad as feared in the last quarter. The move comes ahead of monthly same-store sales numbers due Thursday. Has the consumer come out of hiding?

JPMorgan retail analyst Charles Grom is optimistic. “I think we’ll hear the home category has started to stabilize,” he says.

In fact he thinks stabilization will be the overall trend. Adds Grom, at current levels, “Big Lots, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart are all buys.”

However, it’s worth noting not everyone is as bullish as Grom. According to Reuters, overall, March same-store sales are expected to fall 1 percent excluding Wal-Mart . That would be a steeper decline than in February.

Wal-Mart, however, the world's largest retailer, is expected to post a 3.2 percent gain.

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AUTO TRADE IS ON

General Motors and Chrysler on Wednesday launched programs to help cash-strapped parts suppliers, backed by up to $5 billion in U.S. government funds.


The news sent shares of major auto parts makers climbing; American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings and ArvinMeritor both made sizable gains.

I’d focus on car parts dealers such as O’Reily Auto Parts , explains Jon Najarian.

> Click here to find out how Tim Seymour recommends trading.





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Trader disclosure: On Apr 8th, 2009, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (WFC), (AAPL), (WMT), (SDS), (GS), (GE) ; Seymour Owns (AAPL), (BAC), (BX), (EEM), (FCX), (FXI), (RIO) ; Karabell Owns (AAPL), (CSCO), (FCX), (FXI), (GOOG), (GLD), (JPM), (NOK); Najarian Owns (APPL), (BAC), (C), (TCK), (NTAP), (CPN); Najarian Owns (AXP) Calls, (BIIB) Calls, (HUM) Calls, (JPM) Calls, Najarian Owns (V) Calls

For Grom
JP Morgan Has An Investment Relationship With (COST)
JP Morgan Has An Investment Relationship With (DLTR)
JP Morgan Has An Investment Relationship With (FDO)
JP Morgan Has An Investment Relationship With (JCP)
JP Morgan Has An Investment Relationship With (KSS)
JP Morgan Has An Investment Relationship With (M)
JP Morgan Has An Investment Relationship With (TGT)
JP Morgan Has An Investment Relationship With (WMT)

CNBC.com with wires

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
S&P 500
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ARM
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AXL
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BBBY
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BIG
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BRK.A
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CTXS
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GM
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IBM
---
KSS
---
MOS
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ORLY
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PHM
---
PRU
---
QCOM
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VIX
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WMT
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MV RETAIL
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