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Market Commentary for April 18, 2007

A modest session that enabled the DOW to move to new, all time highs during the trading session. At the closing bell, here is how the major indices ended the session: the DOW (Dow Jones Industrial Average) moved higher today by 30.80 points to end the session at 12803.84; the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) posted a minimal gain again today of 3.18 points to end at 9634.87; the NASDAQ moved lower by 5.45 points today for a close at 2510.50; the S&P 500 moved higher by 1.02 points to end at 1472.50 and the RUSSELL 2000 moved lower by 4.58 points to close at 824.38. 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 lower by 0.32 to close at 254.08 and the FTSE RAFI 1000 closed higher by 3.48 at 6184.33.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says taxpayer compliance needs improvement. In addition, he told Senators today that significantly narrowing the tax gap between federal taxes owed and taxes paid may not be possible "without adding draconian and painful requirements on all taxpayers," most of whom pay their taxes in full. "I don't believe any of us really want to do that," he told members of the Senate Finance Committee, which had asked for a better sense of the administration's goals and timetable for reducing the estimated $300 billion annual gap. Paulson said the Treasury had developed a strategy for increasing compliance that focused on measures like determining why taxpayers underreported their income and targeting enforcement actions more efficiently. He criticized some proposals that have been offered as "unnecessarily painful, expensive and time-consuming," like requiring individuals to file 1099 forms with the IRS to report their transactions with service providers like doctors, auto mechanics and dry cleaners who might not report the fees they charge. "In theory, each of these measures could bring in additional revenue, but the costs of compliance for individuals and businesses, most of whom already pay what they owe, would far outweigh the gains," he said. Paulson said one way to boost compliance would be to make the tax code easier to understand. “Simplification would help,” he said, by "reducing the number of honest mistakes, removing incentives for cheating and providing fewer places for tax cheats to hide." He also urged lawmakers today approve the legislative proposals in the president's budget as "a strong, first step." Those proposals would include, among other things: Require banks to report merchants' annual credit card reimbursements; Boost reporting on individuals' investments by brokerages and other third parties and Make willful failure to file a tax return repeatedly a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Underreporting of income is estimated to account for 80 percent of the tax gap, of which half is due to underreporting of net business income by individuals. Another 18 percent of the gap is due to failure to file, among other things.

Economic data released for the day:

MBA Purchase Applications: Compilation from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association of various mortgage loan indexes. This data is the leading indicator for single-family home sales as well as, housing construction. For week of April 13th, Purchase Index Level came in at 396.5.

EIA Petroleum Status Report: EIA (Energy Information Administration) provides weekly petroleum inventories in the United States whether they are produced here or abroad. Prices for petroleum products are determined by the level of inventories. For week of April 13th, Crude oil inventories weekly change fell by 1.0 million barrels.

On the commodities markets, the trend was higher across the board today for the Energy sector: Light crude moved higher by $0.03 today to close at $63.13 a barrel; Heating Oil moved higher by $0.01 to close at $1.81 a gallon; Natural Gas moved higher by $0.09 today to end at $7.63 per million BTU and Unleaded Gas closed higher by $0.03 today at $2.08 a gallon.

Metals Market ended the session mixed across the board today: Gold moved higher by $0.80 to close at $693.30 an ounce; Silver moved lower today by $0.05 to end the session at $13.97 an ounce; Platinum moved sharply higher today by $26.60 to close at $1,307.50 an ounce and Copper ended the day lower by $0.06 to end at $3.62 per pound.

On the Livestock and Meat Markets, the trend was mixed across the board today: Lean Hogs moved lower today by 0.85 at 76.60; Pork Bellies ended the day higher by 0.05 to close at 103.20 Live Cattle moved lower by 0.45 to end the day at 92.83 and Feeder Cattle ended the day lower by 0.65 to close at 111.28.

Other Commodities: Corn moved higher today with a rebound of a gain of 10.00 points to end at 375.25 and Soybeans moved sharply lower again today by 9.00 to close at 732.25.

Bonds were higher across the board again today: 2 year bond closed higher by 2/32 at 99 23/32; 5 year bond closed higher by 5/32 at 99 22/32; 10 year bond closed higher by 7/32 at 99 24/32 and the 30 year bond closed higher by 12/32 at 98 28/32.

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 3,748,248; Open Interest for Futures moved lower by 126,975 to close at 9,745,775; the Open Interest for Options moved higher by 60,145 to close at 7,945,895 and the Open Interest for OTC had no change at 4,491 for a total Open Interest of 17,696,161 for a total loss on the day by 66,428.830.

The e-mini Dow ended the session higher by 31 at 12855. The total Dow Exchange Volume for the day came in at 135,556 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 1,393; decliners totaled 1,802; unchanged came in at 166; new highs came in at 261 and new lows came in at 9 New York Stock Exchange movers for the day today: Rio Tinto plc (RTP) gave up 4.77 points to close at $250.53; Union Pacific Corporation (UNP) gained 3.32 points to end the session on the Big Board at $113.78; Overseas Shipholding Group Incorporation (OSG) rallied higher by 10.33% for a gain on the day of 6.35 points to close the session at $67.84 and Teeksay Shipping Corporation (TK) climbed higher by 4.01 points to close at $59.90.

On the NASDAQ today, advancers came in at 1,220; decliners totaled 1,800; unchanged came in at 160 new highs came in at 109 and new lows came in at 35. Gainers and losers for the day on the NASDAQ: Yahoo! Incorporated (YHOO) shed 11.50% to give up 3.69 points to close at $28.40; AVANIR Pharmaceuticals (AVNR) rallied by 316.54% to gain 4.02 points for a closing price at $5.29; BigBand Networks Incorporated (BBND) rallied higher by 14.05% to gain 2.47 points for a closing price at $20.05; Linear Technology Corporation (LLTC) moved higher by 12.48% for a gain of 4.01 points to close at $36.13 and Hancock Holding Company (HBHC) fell lower by 3.12 points to close the day at $40.85.

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