Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sideways Into Friday on December Jobs Data

Since the big gap-up run-up at the open on Monday, stocks have gone essentially sideways, as yet indeterminate as to the direction of the new year, with a new congress, but, unfortunately, the old guard still running the show down at Wall and Broad. Since the big new year's burst Monday morning, the Dow has traded in a very narrow 100-point range.

The show, duller than normal, is exhibiting the kind of trade flow that unsure markets normally do, up one minute, down the next, awaiting the next data flow, pivot point, news or rumor. That pivot or data point could come as early as tomorrow, and probably was delivered a little in advance, today, when, after being loudly trumpeted as the strongest holiday shopping season since 2007, retail sales for December missed analyst expectations.

This kind of "actual" numbers reporting should have been expected, considering the happy-faced lunatics which masquerade as journalists on the major cable and network news shows. They were fed a large baloney sandwich by wall Street in December, and, after gnawing through every last crumb, puked up the residuals to the moronic American consumer. On the news, the markets, instead of a quick reversal, merely glossed over and continued to trade along choppily.

Maybe it will take unbelievably horrible news to finally end the fraudulent rally that has consumed every last remnant of market confidence over the past four months. Then again, tomorrow's December jobs number may have been the plan to tank stocks and retail paper profits all along. We'll know by 8:30 am tomorrow. Until then, we can only wheeze, curse and vomit at the charade trading stocks has become.

Dow 11,697.31, -25.58 (0.22%)
NASDAQ 2,709.89, +7.69 (0.28%)
S&P 500 1,273.85, -2.71 (0.21%)
NYSE Composite 8,000.90, -39.14 (0.49%)

Declining stocks held sway over advancers, 3878-2615. NASDAQ new highs: 189; new lows: 9; NYSE new highs: 199; new lows: 6. Volume was moderate.

NASDAQ Volume 2,118,538,500.00
NYSE Volume 5,440,849,500

Oil for February delivery fell another $1.81, to $88.38. Gold dipped $2.00, to $1,371.70. Silver lost 7 cents, to $29.13.

Unemployment data for the most recent week showed an increase of initial claims, to 409,000, after a revised figure of 391,000 in the previous week. If there were post-holiday layoffs, which there always are, they will be reflected next week. Tomorrow's non-farm payroll report, as dubious as the numbers always appear to be, may, nonetheless, be a market mover.

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