Thursday, January 3, 2013

Was That It? New Year's Rally a One-Day Wonder

Actually, the New Year's rally on Wednesday - the first day of trading in 2013 - wasn't even a one-day wonder. One might actually consider it a 30-minute - or even 30-second - wonder, in that most of the advances were right at the open with some follow-on in the first half hour of trading.

Naturally, this is how the market rolls these days. If you're not one of the connected special few that can trade pre-market, in futures or make huge buys via HFT computers, like 99% of individual investors, you're SOL, missing out on most of the biggest moves in the market.

Is there any wonder the individual investor has pulled most, if not all, of their money out of equities? The odds are severely stacked against the little and middle guys, yet another reason to despise the one-percenters who glom up the vast majority of Wall Street profits.

As for today's action, not much was happening. Stocks drifted lower in the morning, recovered to around break even or positive, but then slumped when the Fed minutes from the December FOMC meeting were released.

Horror of horrors, some members of the committee were actually openly suggesting an end to their long-standing asset purchase program "well before the end of" 2013.

It's obvious that the Fed can and will do whatever it feels necessary in order to achieve their goals of making every American a debt slave while keeping the US economy from falling into an abyss. In fact, the abyss might just be on the agenda, the Fed owing allegiance to nobody but themselves and their member banks.

So, when traders got a whiff of the odor of no more free money courtesy Helicopter Ben, some went scurrying for the exits, albeit, a bit prematurely. The Fed isn't about to end ZIRP or stop its insane money printing exercise (currenty at a cool $80 billion a month and counting), but there's also the fear that the political clowns in Washington may not exactly get around to cutting spending for a while, and they also may stage a huge fight over extending the debt limit, a la 2011.

So, life in La-La Land (AKA Wall Street) goes on. Stocks got a big boost by acersion of the fiscal cliff, though the job is only half done. There's a sense that whatever conditions arise to offend the investor class, the Fed and the government will be completely accommodative, so that corporate America and the financial sector participants can continue grinding the middle class into dust.

Today's small setback notwithstanding, there's very little fear to keep stocks contained in January, traditionally one of the best months for gains.

A couple of data releases on employment were mixed, with the ADP private jobs report for December showing a net gain of 215,000 jobs, while unemployment claims spiked higher, to 372.000, after last week's 350,000, which was revised (as it always is) higher, to 362,000. The dual releases sent a mixed message in front of tomorrow's December Non-farm Payroll data, due out at 8:30 am.

Dow 13,391.36, -21.19 (0.16%)
NASDAQ 3,100.57, -11.69 (0.38%)
S&P 500 1,459.37, -3.05 (0.21%)
NYSE Composite 8,597.61, -34.40 (0.40%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,724,966,250
NYSE Volume 4,005,988,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3305-3199
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 427-17
WTI crude oil: 92.92, -0.20
Gold: 1,674.60, -14.20
Silver: 30.72, -0.287

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