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Market Commentary for March 20, 2007

Happy first day of Spring to all our valued readers! Here in Western PA, the Robins have started to come home to nest which is the first true sign that Spring has sprung.

The Bulls were in control of the markets again today with the trading trend in a slow drifting mode through out the session. A day ahead of the FOMC decision on interest rates normally is slow and today was no different. At the close, here is how the major indices ended the session: the DOW (Dow Jones Industrial Average) moved higher today by 61.93 points to end the session at 12288.10; the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) moved higher by 67.27 points to end at 9158.27; the NASDAQ moved higher by 13.80 points to close at 2408.21; the S&P 500 moved higher by 8.88 points to end at 1410.94 and the RUSSELL 2000 moved higher by 6.55 points to close at 793.60.

The FTSE All-World Index ex-US (top Large/Mid Cap aggregate from over 2,700 stocks from the FTSE Global Equity Index Series (GEIS) which covers 90% of the worlds investable market capitalization) moved higher by 1.62 to close at 240.71 and the FTSE RAFI 1000 moved higher by 42.48 to close at 5932.93.

Economic data released for the day:

ICSC-UBS Store Sales: Weekly measure of comparable store sales at major retail chains which is related to the general merchandise portion of retail sales, as reported by the International Council of Shopping Centers. This date accounts for approximately 10% of total retail sales. Store sales week over week change came in at 0.4% and Store sales year over year came in at 2.7% for week of March 17th.

Housing Starts: A monthly measure of initial construction of new homes, single family residential units and multi family units as released by the Commerce Department. A rising trend indicates an increase in demand for home furnishings, appliances and furniture. January Housing Starts were left unrevised at a drop by 14.3%; February Building Permits fell by 2.5% to a rate of 1.532 Million and U.S. February Housing Starts rose by 9.0% to 1.525 Million compared to consensus of an increase by 3.0%.

Redbook: General merchandise portion of retail sales covering only approximately 10% of total retail sales, this data is a weekly measure of sales at department stores, chain stores and discounters. U.S. Retail Sales rose by 0.5% for first two weeks in March versus February.

State Street Investor Confidence Index: A measure of confidence created by looking at actual levels of risk in investment portfolios. State Street Investor Confidence Index came in at 100.6 for March.

On the commodities markets, the trend was mixed across the board again today for the Energy sector: Light crude moved higher by $0.14 today to close at $56.73 a barrel; Heating Oil moved lower today by $0.02 to close at $1.67a gallon; Natural Gas moved higher by $0.05 today to end at $7.02 per million BTU and Unleaded Gas closed lower by $0.02 at $1.94 a gallon.

Metals Market ended the session higher across the board yet again today: Gold moved higher by $4.70 to close at $659.00 an ounce; Silver closed the day higher by $0.14 to end the session at $13.37 an ounce; Platinum moved higher today by $0.60 to close at $1,235.30 an ounce and Copper ended the day higher by $0.01 to close at $3.03 per pound.

On the Livestock and Meat Markets, the trend was mixed across the board today: Lean Hogs closed lower by 0.28 at 74.35; Pork Bellies ended the day higher by 0.35 today to close at 103.55; Live Cattle moved higher by 0.10 to end the day at 94.95 and Feeder Cattle ended the day lower by 0.33 to close at 107.63.

Other Commodities: Corn moved nicely higher today by 7.25 points to end at 405.25 and Soybeans moved higher again today by 5.25 to close at 764.75.

The end of day results for the CBOT (Chicago Board of Trade) which is comprised of the total Exchange Volume for Futures and Options (EVFO) including Electronic, Open Auction and Cash Exchange ended the day at 2,202,523 Open Interest for Futures moved lower by 110,418 to close at 9,230,490 and the Open Interest for Options moved lower by 3,907 to close at 7,837,346 for a total Open Interest of 17,069,514 for a total gain on the day by 114, 325.

Bonds were higher across the board today: 2 year bond closed lo higher by 1/32 at 100 8/32; 5 year bond closed higher by 2/32 at 100 20/32; 10 year bond closed higher by 4/32 at 100 4/32 and the 30 year bond closed higher by 3/32 at 100 20/32.

The mini Dow ended the session higher by 55 at 12384. The total Dow Exchange Volume for the day came in at 117,443 which are comprised of Electronic, Open Auction and Cash Exchange. Traders should review workshops available at the CBOT (Chicago Board of Trade) Educational in-person seminars schedules available on CBOT (Chicago Board of Trade) website.

On the NYSE today, advancers came in at 2,296; decliners totaled 950; unchanged came in at 136; new highs came in at 151 and new lows came in at 14. New York Stock Exchange movers for the day today: Potash Corporation/Saskatchewan (POT) climbed higher by 4.30 points to end the day at $159.25; MEMC Electronic Materials Incorporated (WFR) gained 2.84 points for a closing price of $57.18; Systemax Incorporated (SYX) fell sharply by 22.14% for a loss on the day of 5.15 points to close at $18.11; Affiliated Computer Services Incorporated (ACS) rallied higher by 8.66 points to tack on a gain of 16.88% for a closing price at $59.95 and BlackRock Incorporated (BLK) fell 3.98 points to close at $154.33.

On the NASDAQ today, advancers came in at 1,976; decliners totaled 1,034; unchanged came in at 164; new highs came in at 65 and new lows came in at 53. Gainers and losers for the day on the NASDAQ: U.S. Global Investors Incorporated (GROW) fell by 3.54 points to end the day at $39.71; Eschelon Telecom Incorporated (ESCH) gained 13.44% to tack on 3.43 points for a closing price at $29.09; Wynn Resorts Limited (WYNN) moved higher by 2.66 points for a closing price on the day of $97.68; Cardinal State Bank (CSNC) made a run higher by 17.37% to gain 2.05 points to end at $13.85 and FCStone Group Incorporated (FCSX) climbed by 10.35% for a gain on the day of 3.17 points to close at $33.80.

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