Friday, December 28, 2007

Housing Woes Weigh on Marginal Gains

The broken record that continues to skip at the passage... housing is down, housing is down, housing is down... damaged stocks again as 2007 drew to within one trading day of its conclusion.

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Stocks were stuck in a narrow range after initially lifting off to the highs of the day just minutes after the opening bell. However, when the November New Home Sales [PDF] showed a decline of 9%, down to 647,000, stocks sold off and spent the better part of the day hovering just below the break-even line.

Dow 13,365.87 +6.26; NASDAQ 2,674.46 +2.33; S&P 500 1,478.49 +2.12; NYSE Composite 9,803.87 +24.57

For the (holiday-shortened, 3 1/2 day) week, the Dow shed 85 points, the S&P lost 6 points, the NASDAQ was down 18, while the NYSE Composite ended 16 points higher.

On the day, declining issues bettered advancers by a narrow margin, 3352-3033. New lows once again thumped new highs, 434-105.

Commodities were mixed. Crude oil fell 62 cents to end the week at an even $96. Gold was boosted $10.90, to $842.70. Silver added 8 cents to $14.90.

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With just one more session remaining on Monday, Dec. 31, all major indices will - unless there's a dramatic crash on New Year's Eve day - show gains for the year, though all of the indices hit their highs in early August and again in October, with November registering as one of the worst on record and December producing a fairly flat performance.

Looking ahead into 2008, January almost certainly will be a lackluster month, setting the stage for what appears to be a challenging year for stocks and the general economy.

On Monday, we'll take a look back at my 2007 predictions and I'll offer my views on 2008.

NYSE Volume 2,350,111,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,270,277,125

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