Friday, March 16, 2012

Stock Split as Week Ends with Dull Session

Stocks ended the week in mixed fashion on slightly elevated volume, most likely due to quadruple-witching options expiry.

There used to be a time when stocks would experience high volatility on options expiration, but those days seem to be gone, now that the entire market is being front run by insiders and HFT operations (many of whom are one and the same firms).

The big gains on Tuesday were responsible for the bulk of this week's advances, as there was virtually no follow-through to the big ramp job.

Some economic data led to the dull, confused markets this Friday. CPI for February came in with a 0.4% gain, with Core CPI up 0.1%, as most of the inflation was due to higher food and (mostly) energy prices. February Industrial Production was flat and Capacity Utilization fell by 0.01% in February, to 78.7%.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index fell a full point for March, to 74.3.

Dow 13,232.62, -20.14 (0.15%)
NASDAQ 3,055.26, -1.11 (0.04%)
S&P 500 1,404.17, +1.57 (0.11%)
NYSE Composite 8,270.40, -23.68 (0.29%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,993,724,375
NYSE Volume 4,893,666,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2674-2978
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 265-25
WTI crude oil: 107.06, +1.95
Gold: 1,655.80, -3.70
Silver: 32.60, -0.12

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