We have broken a pattern: lower oil is not helping stocks; that's because the slower global growth story is now dominating. Partly, of course, this is on concerns that oil will stay elevated longer than expected, but there are additional concerns about sovereign debt in Europe and slower growth in China.
You can see this in the action of base metals like copper, zinc, and nickel, they're all down almost 10 percent in the last few days.
Big commodity names like Freeport McMoRan , Rio Tinto , and Vale are all down double digits in the past few days. Energy stocks have not fared as poorly, but have been down the past couple days on slowing growth like any other company, even if some profit more when oil goes up.
Concerns about weakness in China is affecting tech stocks as well. Chip maker RF Micro Devices , which makes chips mostly for cellphones, has gone from $8 to $6 (a drop of 25 percent) in the past 3 weeks — they are big sellers to companies in Korea, China and Japan — as well as to Nokia.
Finally, it's a happy day for Bain Capital, KKR, Bank America/Merrill Lynch, and the Frist family as HCA went public at the high end of the price talk at $30, opened at $31.20, and has stayed there.
Few companies have the relationship with the public markets that this company has had: it went public in 1970, then was taken private in 1989, then taken public again in 1992, then taken private again in 2006, and is now public again in 2011. Three time private, three times public.
How do you go up on a day when the market is down so much? Hot IPOs tend to have a life of their own the first day--they have the buyers all lined up, it trades at a premium — remember, allocations were light, so people are adding to their position. They key is the second day; we'll see how it trades tomorrow.
Speaking of recent IPOs: notice what has happened to hot Chinese e-commerce company Dangdang , billed as the Amazon.com of China, which went public at $16 on December 8, traded as high as $36 and is today at $22 and change, the lowest it has traded yet. The company's earnings report yesterday was not particularly well received.
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