Market Preview: Facebook to the Rescue!
By Michael Baron - 05/17/12 - 7:57 PM EDT
NEW YORK (TheStreet
) -- If the broad market ever needed a friend, it's now, so this Facebook
IPO is looking particularly well-timed.
Unless of course, it tanks.
had a real tipping point-type feel to it as the selling accelerated in the final hour. The S&P 500
closed right at its low of the day with Fitch saying what the market was already thinking about Greece and its future within the eurozone. Moody's did its part, downgrading a slew of Spanish banks.
Bonds spiked higher
with the 10-year yield down to 1.7%, a level not seen since September and not far from the record intra-day low of 1.672%, according to Dow Jones
data. The dollar has stayed strong, pushing the euro down to a four-month low, and a resilient greenback typically bodes ill for equities.
Between JPMorgan Chase's
incredible expanding trading loss and the signs of trepidation among tech heavyweights like Cisco
(weak outlook) and Hewlett-Packard
(reports of significant job cuts), the corporate headlines aren't cooperating.
Heck, even Apple
, now down nearly 18% from its intraday record high of $644 on April 10, is being mentioned as a potential short
! And while that idea seems a bit radical, the sell side has been openly discussing Apple's risks -- namely pushback from carriers on subsidy payments -- something that just wasn't done a little less than a month ago.
The "buying losers" mentality that reigned early in 2012, driving up names like Bank of America
, couldn't last forever, and now, with earnings in a trough period (and estimates) coming down, it takes courage to buy on fundamentals when parts of Europe are teetering, the U.S. economic data is showing holes, and the Federal Reserve
is firmly in resistance mode when it comes to hinting at more quantitative easing.
Into this climate comes Facebook's
initial public offering. The biggest tech debut ever pricing at the top of its elevated range. An excessive amount of digital ink has been spilled evaluating whether Mark Zuckerberg & Co. deserve the $100 billion-plus market cap they are being granted out of the gate, so it's doubtful that another opinion is needed here, at this late juncture.
With all the hype around the IPO, it's probably wise to lower the expectations and hope for a small pop that provides just enough euphoria to help Wall Street finish the week on a positive note, a rarity in May.
Regardless, the mood on Main Street continues to sour with the latest weekly sentiment survey
from the American Association of Individual Investors finding only 23.6% of respondents identifying themselves as bullish about where stocks are headed over the next six months.
That's down 1.8% percentage points from last week, well below the long-term average of 39%, and the worst level since the week of Aug. 26, 2010, shortly after the downgrade of the United States' credit rating by Standard & Poor's.
The bear camp came in at 46%, up 3.9 percentage points, while the neutral crowd grabbed 30.4% of the vote, down 2.1 percentage points.
Friday is pretty scant on scheduled news. The earnings roster includes Ann Inc.
, Brown Shoe
, Casual Male Retail Group
, ChipMOS Technologies
, Donaldson Co.
, Foot Locker
, Hibbett Sports
, and Raven Industries
; and the economic calendar is clear.
That leaves the path relatively clear for Facebook grab up all the attention and the world will be watching when the likes start to pour in.
--Written by Michael Baron in New York.
>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron
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