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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And Now, By Popular Demand, Why Is The Market Up?

A few factors seem to be contributing. First and foremost, everyone seems to have liked the ISM Manufacturing Index report, with its happy-fun heart-warming "every part of this report is showing positive numbers" results. That, and nobody seems to care about construction spending.
On top of that, we're starting to see signs that Egypt will not dissolve into a round of civil war and mass murder. Egyptian President[1] Hosni Mubarak announced in a speech that he will step down at the next election, which everyone (including himself) hopes will calm the civil unrest. Whether he follows through remains to be seen.[2]
A few other things. Pfizer beat expectations for revenue and, since they're both up substantially and part of the Dow, that has a positive boost on the market. UPS also beat expectations, as did Baidu. British Petroleum announced that they lost a bucket of money[3] last year, to nobody's surprise, so that didn't really hurt them at all.
[1] This is an... interesting title he has. He became President in 1981, after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Egyptian army officers. President sort of implies elections. Elections are not really something President Mubarak has had to suffer through. Technically, he had to stand for election in 1987, 1993, 1999, and 2005. The first three of those, however, were handled by referendums put forward and voted on by an Egyptian parliament that is typically described as a "rubber stamp" - no other candidates need apply. The 2005 election was the first Western-style election he ever faced, where he won reelection thanks to the support of unregistered and/or dead voters. The distinction here between "President" and "brutal dictator" seems to be "does the United States see you as an ally".
[2] Pro tip: He probably won't. Unless he does so from the airport, with the nation's supply of gold bullion safely spirited away.
[3] A 190,120,055 gallon bucket, at that.

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