Treasurys: The place to be in May

Stocks will finish May with their worst performance since at least February 2009. No Dow stock is up for the month. Energy shares have slumped with oil prices.

By Charley Blaine May 27, 2010 1:51PM
Exchange floor © Zurbar/agefotostockUpdated: 8:55 p.m ET

 

Praise the Lord! May is almost over.

Sure, there's a big rally today. With a day to go, however, the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) are off 6.8% for the month. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) is down 7.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) has slumped 7.5%.

May has been so crummy, you have to go back to February 2009 to find a worse monthly performance for the Dow and the S&P 500. For the Nasdaq, go back to November 2008, when it fell 10.8%.

May was so bad that Treasury securities performed better than stocks. And just shorting the euro would have been a great bet. The dollar will finish the month probably up 5.5%.

May wiped out the year's gains for the major indexes. The Dow is down 2.4%, with the S&P 500 off 2% and the Nasdaq down 0.6%.

It has been such a bad month that all 30 stocks in the Dow are lower. The best of the lot are Kraft Foods (KFT) and Home Depot (HD), down 1.8% and 1.9%, respectively.

The Dow losers: Microsoft (MSFT) and American Express (AXP), down 14.8% and 12.6%, respectively.

Only 38 S&P 500 stocks were showing gains for the month, as of noon ET. The leader is Sprint Nextel (S), up 22%, followed by Metro PCS Communications (PCS), up 18%, and SanDisk (SNDK), up 17.6%.

The losers: Dean Foods (DF), down 31.6%; Sears Holdings (SHLD), down 26.7%; and Priceline.com (PCLN), down 24.6%.

Only 11 stocks in the Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX.X) are higher for the month, with the leaders SanDisk, NetApp (NTAP) and Baidu (BIDU), up 17.6.%, 10.1% and 6.7%, respectively. The laggards: Sears Holdings, Priceline.com and First Solar (FSLR), down 26.7%, 24.6% and 19.6%, respectively.

 

Oil giant BP (BP) is off 13% this month -- and 26.5% since an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig started possibly the worst oil spill ever. The shares fell 30.8% between April 20 and a bottom on Monday.

Apple (AAPL) is off 3% for the month and 6.5% since its closing high of $270.83 on April 23.


Was there anyplace to hide? Not many. Gold is up 2.6% this month, with the SPDR Gold Trust exchange-traded fund (GLD), up 2.9%. Corn is up 1.9%

Treasurys weren't a bad place to hide. A 10-year Treasury note is up about 3.5% in price as the yield has tumbled from 3.66% to 3.32%. The iShares 20-year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) is up 4.3%. 

But crude oil is off 14.1%. The US Oil Fund (USO), an exchange-traded fund, is off 17% this month and 12.7% for the year. Energy stocks have been the worst performers among S&P 500 stocks for the month. Consumer staples have been relatively strong.

 

How the markets have fared in May 
U.S. indexes 

Today

May chg.

Ytd chg.
Dow Jones industrials

10,258.99

-6.81%

-1.62%
S&P 500 

1,103.06

-7.05%

-1.08%
Nasdaq Composite 

2,277.68

-7.46%

0.38%
Nasdaq-100

1,862.71

-6.89%

0.13%
S&P Midcap 

771.43

-6.27%

6.16%
Russell 2000

670.51

-6.43%

7.21%
Dow Utilities

361.79

-6.74%

-9.10%
Dow transports 

4,381.98

-6.19%

6.89%
Philly Semiconductor 

361.55

-3.86%

0.46%
Foreign indexes 








Nikkei 225 Index 

9,639.72

-12.82%

-8.60%
Xetra Dax 

5,937.14

-3.24%

-0.34%
FTSE 100 

5,195.17

-6.45%

-4.02%
Non-stock indicators








Crude oil 

74.55

-13.46%

-6.06%
Gold

1,211.90

2.64%

10.55%
10-year Treasury yield 

3.34%

-8.87%

-13.14%
Data as of May 27
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