Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Stocks' Santa Rally Based On Nothing In Particular

The word for the day was "oversold," in essence green lighting all the algos on the belief that stocks were still undervalued, despite the S&P 500 average P/E of 22, when the norm is 15.

Whatever sparked the rally du jour must have been a highly-held secret, because nothing much has changed and today's economic news - third GDP revision for the 3rd quarter came in at an even 2%, and existing home sales were down 10.5% month-over-month (the lowest annualized rate since April 2014), and that was before the Fed and the banks hiked interest rates.

As for GDP, the third quarter reading was 0.1% lower than the previous estimate, and down sharply from the second quarter, when the economy supposedly grew at a mind-blowing 3.9%. Adding in the 1st quarter's decline of 0.7%, the fourth quarter will have to have grown by 2.8%, a seemingly reasonable quest, to get the entire year at a 2% growth rate. What a recovery!

Given that retail sales have been sluggish at best and inventories rising, it will be a struggle for the economy to show a gain of that size. However, the brilliant economists at the BLS certainly can massage the numbers enough to wring out nearly 3% growth, somehow.

So, Santa Claus has arrived on Wall Street. There are just two more days of trading this week and six total for the year, and stocks are showing that 2015 will end essentially flat.

Here are closing prices at the end of 2014:
S&P: 2,058.90
Dow: 17,823.07
NASDAQ: 4,736.05

The NAZ looks to have gains in the bag, while the S&P and Dow have some work left to do. Ho, ho, ho.

Today's closing numbers:
S&P 500: 2,038.97, +17.82 (0.88%)
Dow: 17,417.27, +165.65 (0.96%)
NASDAQ: 5,001.11, +32.19 (0.65%)

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