Monday, December 2, 2013

On Cyber Monday, Black Friday Left Wall Street Red-Faced

So, everybody was shopping online today, this being Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day of the year, right?

Well, maybe, but there were a lot of people shopping online last week, instead of fighting the mobs at the malls and big box stores; so many, in fact, that Black Friday didn't really live up to the hype. It was kind of a bust, as the voting, via stock trades on Monday, clearly demonstrated.

Stocks took a nosedive at the end of the day, as they've done the past three sessions, led by the two strongest consumer sectors. Consumer discretionary was the loss leader of the day, with names like Aeropostale (ARO, -5.5%), Urban Outfitters (URBN, -3.5%) and Sears (SHLD, -5.2%) leading the way down.

That's not a good sign for the holiday season, which, according to now-skeptical analysts, expect to be the worst since 2009.

Retailers were not completely to blame for Monday's selloff, which was led by the Dow Industrials. Rather, the selling, which accelerated into the close, as has been the recent motif, was probably tied more to profit-taking. After all, stocks have had a stellar run in 2013, with the Dow up 26%, the NASDAQ ahead by nearly 30% and the S&P sporting a 28% rise on the year.

It's been a grand year to buy and hold stocks; one certainly can't blame anyone for partaking of some fat holiday profits, but the overall trend of trading has been puzzling to the perma-bull crowd, with the current bull market closing in on 57 months.

The trend may remain intact for a while longer, though, because there's nearly zero chance of the Federal Reserve announcing any kind of tapering of their bond purchase program at the December meeting of the FOMC (Dec. 17 & 18), risking market displeasure and a downturn which would cast quite a negative pallor on an otherwise outstanding year for speculators, risk-takers and even cautious investors.

That's why it would be unwise to read too much into one day's trading, or even the recent pattern of late-session selling at this juncture.

The likelihood is that profit-taking will be pushed forward into the first few weeks of December, saving the upside for the wise guys who know, above all, that the Fed isn't going to make any substantive end-of-year changes. If anything, investors should stand pat until the 30th, because the Fed will ensure a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for all.

On the flip side, gold and silver were absolutely smashed lower. Whether the continued selling is part and parcel of the recent distaste for anything not fiat-related or more of an exacerbated "sell the losers" mentality is an open question not soon to be answered.

Dow 16,008.77, -77.64 (-0.48%)
NASDAQ 4,045.26, -14.63 (-0.36%)
S&P 1,800.90, -4.91 (-0.27%)
10-Yr Note 99.58 -0.42 (-0.42%)
NASDAQ Volume 1.61 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.08 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1620-4074
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 316-90
WTI crude oil: 93.82, +1.10
Gold: 1,221.90, -28.50
Silver: 19.29, -0.744
Corn: 424.50, 0.00

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