2:40 pm ET: The market is taking a mini-vacay today as traders await tomorrow's face-off between Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Congress. Not that Big Ben will likely say anything earth-shattering but hey, hope springs eternal.
Trading is mixed today with some rather atypical action seen between Treasuries and investment grade bonds which are moving up and the US dollar which is moving down. Is this a "risk-on" or a "risk-off" trade? In a risk-on environment, stocks and commodities move up while in a risk-off environment they do the reverse. Today's market action is sideways which means that the market doesn't have the answer, either. Again, confusion may be the new normal until the Fed chairman sings.
In other news, corn and grain etfs take another giant leap. The corn fund (NYSEARCA:CORN) jumped 4% today (which is a huge move in the commodity space) and is close to testing its previous high at $50.50. The grain fund (NYSEARCA:GRU) broke $8 resistance taking out last year's high. It appears that while the adverse weather is delighting fund shareholders, the general public could start feeling the pinch at the register via higher grocery prices especially on cattle which is chiefly corn fed. Higher food costs could put a dent in discretionary purchases, possibly putting a noticeable crimp in the margins of apparel and jewelry retailers. Of course, we won't know whether this comes to pass until either the next earnings report or the one after that.