Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Only NASDAQ Goes Green

Stocks zig-zagged through another directionless session on Wednesday, with only the NASDAQ finishing in positive territory. Volume was sluggish, suggesting that this market and the traders on Wall Street are simply worn out. Without any economic news to push ahead of the endless droning on about the sub-prime mortgage mess, credit crisis and looming recession, the market finds itself in somewhat of a desperate condition.

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There doesn't seem to be an overwhelming willingness to give up on stocks for the season and the year, nor is there any catalyst for buying at this juncture. Naturally, when the market seizes up like this, it's usually not a very positive sign. Otherwise, gains would be sustained, rather than seeing nearly every uptick met with a slew of sell orders, as has been the case for the better part of the past five months.

As the credit and banking crisis continues to drippingly unfold (the mainstream media hasn't a clue to the depth of the damage already done with more to come, while the financial media is also a step slow to the beat) not a day seems to go by that some finance-related matter is reported. Today was no exception as Morgan Stanley (MS) took a $9.5 Billion writedown, posted a loss for the quarter and sold a $5 Billion stake in the company to China.

The market reaction to what would be devastating news on a good day, was roughly equivalent to a yawn.

Dow 13,207.27 -25.20; NASDAQ 2,601.01 +4.98; S&P 500 1,453.00 -1.98; NYSE Composite 9,586.07 -16.48

As expected, declining issues took a slight edge over advancers, 3386-2961. There were 527 new lows to just 83 new highs.

In commodity trading, crude oil gained $1.16 to close at $91.24. Gold was off $2.00 to $805.40; silver added 6 cents to $14.22.

All of the markets looked to be winding down prior to the Christmas holiday. The exchanges will be closed on Tuesday, December 25 and will close at 1:00 pm on Monday, December 24, Christmas Eve. The following Monday, January 31, will be a full session.

NYSE Volume 3,359,298,000
NASDAQ Volume 1,884,918,000

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