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Where stocks and bond yields stand

By Dian Vujovich

As we begin this shortened market week, and the last one in May, looking back at how the year has progressed shows super gains for some stocks and investors still loving low-yielding Treasuries.

Over the past few days I’ve read a number of articles about how investor sentiment is rising. Not so sure I believe that.

I’ve also read a few market-related pieces the gist of each worth sharing.

The first looks at the hottest performing stocks in the Russell 3000 Index. The second, an opinion from a market technician, and the third about yields on the10-year Treasury Note.

-The Russell 3000 Index reflects the performance of the largest 3000 U.S. companies. At of the end of last week that index was up nearly 5 percent (4.97 percent) year-to-date, according to SeekingAlpha.com.

According to the authors, the average stock in that index was up about 1 percent point less (3.98 percent), meaning that the bigger stocks in the market cap weighted index had outperformed those of smaller companies.

Sticking only to the stellar performers, and with my fingers crossed that you’re one of the shareholders of the 35 stocks in the index that have gained over 75 or 100 percent thus far this year, the top-five performing stocks in the Russell 3000 were: Arean Pharma (ARNA) up 220.86 percent when priced at $6 a share; Ellie Mae (ELLI) up 175.22 percent at $15.55; Vivus (VVUS) at $24.59, up 152.21 percent; Amylin Pharma (AMLN) at $27.96, up 145.69 percent; and US Airways (LLC) at $12.30 was up 142.6 percent.

To see more read-em-and-weep returns visit http://tinyurl.com/7u93zns.

-Reading the charts. Last week Richard Suttmeier, chief market strategist at ValuEngine.com was interviewed for Yahoo’s Breakout video program.

Suttmeier is a market technician who thinks we are in for a rocky summer based upon info from market charts: Two weeks ago he saw simultaneous “sell signals’ from all five of the major stock indexes: DJIA, S&P500, Nasdaq, Dow Transports and the Russell 2000.

“Simultaneous is the key,” he says, pointing out that while the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq were setting new highs this year, the Transports and Russell weren’t following the move. “That to me is a big negative divergence…”

More of that ‘Market Highs are Behind Us” interview at: http://tinyurl.com/7uhaces.

-And finally, the bellwether 10-year Treasury. According to Bloomberg, yields on 10-year Treasury Notes have fallen 82 basis points since S&P downgraded their quality of U.S. debt from AAA rating to AA. But, that hasn’t stopped investors from loving it or worries over the ability for America to pay its debt obligations.

Last week 10-year yields were up 1.5 basis points to yield 1.74 percent. FYI, the highest yield this year was 2.3 percent reached on March 20. The lowest yield, 1.69 percent, reached on May 17.

From that Bloomberg story: “Even after boosting the amount of marketable debt outstanding to more than $10 trillion from $4.34 trillion in mid-2007, the Treasury Department is attracting record demand at auctions. The cost to President Barack Obama’s administration of financing a fourth straight deficit has never been lower. The extra yield investors receive for holding Treasuries is an added benefit for investors seeking a haven from Europe’s sovereign debt turmoil.”

Full piece at: http://tinyurl.com/bpdv5ej.

Sure hope this clears up any short-term confusion you may have about how the markets will fare this summer :).

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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