Friday, December 18, 2009

Was Yesterday's Weakness Related To Options Expiration?

The market sold off pretty much from start to finish yesterday. This week is options expiration week in the market, and often during expiration week we see at least one big down day. So its possible that yesterday's selling pressure was exacerbated by today's expiration (futures, options, etc).

But after the close yesterday we got some very solid earnings reports in techland, with Oracle (ORCL) topping estimates and Research In Motion (RIMM) doing the same and raising guidance for next quarter handily.

Tech and biotech are leading the action so far, while consumer staples are the biggest laggard.

The dollar is higher again today, which is weighing on gold a bit ($1101) but oil is still a little higher near $73.

Asian markets were lower overnight, while Europe was mixed this morning. The Bank of England said that the financial sector looks in much better shape than it did six months ago.

Trading comment: My modus operandi hasn't changed near-term. I am still using dips to pick away and add exposure to areas I like. Lately, that has been mostly to tech (XLK), med tech (IHI), healthcare (XLV), and some foreign markets like China (FXI) and Brazil (EWZ).

The market is roughly flat for the week, with the S&P a little lower and the Nazz a little higher. The normal seasonal trades we often see in the market (Sell in May, September selloff, Thanksgiving rally, etc) have not worked too well this year, but since this week was pretty flat it does raise the odds that we see the old 'Santa Claus rally' emerge next week.



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