Thursday, December 30, 2010

Data Ignored as Stocks Take a Rare Step Back

Another exceedingly dull session marked the penultimate trading day of the year, but, unlike the tree previous days, all indices finished in the red, showing marginal losses.

Initial unemployment claims came in at a seasonally-adjusted rate of 388,000, beating expectations (418,000), but the data set is marred by the non-seasonally-adjusted number, which came in at a whopping 521,834. Obviously, the BLS is doing a bang-up job at keeping the truth about the employment condition in America almost out of view.

Elsewhere, Chicago PMI surged To 68.6 on expectations Of 62.5, the highest since July 1988, another badly skewed statistic from the government's statistical fantasy factory.

If one were to believe these two reports (are you getting the idea that we don't?), the take-away would be that very few people were laid off following the holiday shopping season and our manufacturing base is vibrant and growing. The truth of the situation is that jobs are being shed as quickly as number-crunchers can adjust their bottom lines on excessively hyped same-store sales figures and the PMI is being fueled largely by cost inflation.

So, with one more dreary day ahead in the lowest volume week in ten years, traders, pundits, analysts and economists can hardly wait to put 2010, the year of the little lie, finally to rest. Without a doubt, 2011 will be better known as the year of the bigger lie.

Dow 11,569.71, -15.67 (0.14%)
NASDAQ 2,662.98, -3.95 (0.15%)
S&P 500 1,257.88, -1.90 (0.15%)
NYSE Composite 7,951.91, -9.57 (0.12%)

Declining issues edge advancers, 3282-3152, while NASDAQ cheered 152 new highs and jeered 17 new lows. The pattern was the same for the NYSE, with 149 new highs and just 8 new lows.

NASDAQ Volume 1,036,465,812.50
NYSE Volume 2,292,664,000

Crude oil finally took off some of the froth, dipping $1.28, to finish just below the $90 mark, at $89.84. Gold eased $7.60, to $1404.40, while silver also slowed, down 13 cents, to $30.47.

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