Friday, February 23, 2007

New highs by the score

If you were watching the markets this week and last, you might have noticed a definite theme unfolding, even from a distance. Simply put, the number of new highs being set in financial markets across the board is almost staggering.

We saw new, synchronized highs in the Dow Transports, Industrials, and Utilities averages last week, prompting some to warn of danger ahead.

We have reports of new highs in margin debt, with a record $285.6 billion set in January on the New York Stock Exchange. Margin debt increased 24.2 percent in 2006, while the Dow gained 16.3 percent, according to the Sacbee.com article.

The Nasdaq reached a six-year high Thursday, helped along by a rally in chip stocks. It marked the Nasdaq Composite Index's highest close since February of 2001.

Looking across the globe, we witnessed new highs in Australian share markets, with the ASX 200 and the All Ordinaries index both ending the week at new highs.

The Nikkei closed at a seven-year high, finishing over the 18,000 mark for the first time since 2000.

In South Africa, the JSE closed at a record high Friday for the sixth time in the last eight trading sessions.

Stock markets in Malaysia (KLCI), South Korea (Kospi), and Singapore (Straits Times Index) all managed to make new highs on Friday.

Whew. After all that, I won't even dwell on the new highs recorded in the commodity markets this week. But if you want to review, check out corn, tin, nickel, uranium, lead...

I'm getting tired here.