The market is on the upswing as we head to lunch following yesterday’s huge loss. Oil is down a little over $3 to $121 level and the talk is it could be on its way to $100 a barrel. Just a few weeks ago we were approaching $150 so the continued slide in oil is having a positive affect on the market.

The market also got some good economic news as the Conference Board’s July index of consumer confidence rose slightly to 51.9 from 51 in June. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity so the uptick was welcomed news.

The next stop for oil would be the $117 level which could pave the way for a slick road to $100 a barrel. Of course, the market may be getting ahead of itself but comments from OPEC’s president that oil’s current price is “abnormal” and could fall to $70 or $80 is fueling the fire. Oil is at a 10-week low and the recent slide has also coincided with a stronger U.S. dollar.

The dollar is at a 5-week high and a stronger dollar is pushing commodities prices lower. Copper, gold, and natural gas are all significantly off their highs of just two weeks ago. Barrick Gold (ABX, $42.63, down $1.57), Goldcorp (GG, $39.55, down $1.40), Gold Fields (GFI, $11.97, down $0.09) and Newmont Mining (NEM, $47.70, down $1.41) are all trading lower today.

Today’s rally can certainly be contributed to the fact that oil is lower. But any sustained rally is only likely to occur if oil continues to retreat. It’s tough to say if we get a straight drop to $100 a barrel for oil but if we do and it can stay at $100 a barrel or below, it will certainly help stabilize the market over the near term.

Rick Rouse