Tuesday, December 06, 2011

S&P Puts Most Eurozone Members On Downgrade Watch

The market is flattish in early trading on lot a lot of news here in the U.S. The big news release came last night when S&P analysts put 15 eurozone members on credit watch for a potential downgrade. It's a bit odd that they would do them all at the same time, but not that surprising given the state of the finances among member nations.

Asian markets were lower overnight, and European bourses are down this morning as well. The dollar is slightly higher vs. the euro, and commodities are mostly lower. Oil prices are off slightly to $100.66 and gold prices are also lower near $1713.

The 10-year yield is still above its 50-day average at 2.06%; and the VIX is down a fraction to 27.65.

Other than that there is not a lot of domestic economic data or corporate news that is moving the market. Defensive sectors like healthcare and utilities are leading the market so far while financials are lagging the action.

Trading comment: The S&P bumped its head at its overhead 200-day average for a second day and moved lower from there. The index is still below those levels but does not seem to be giving up much ground so far. The S&P 500 is now barely in positive territory for the year, and I think that performance anxiety will continue to be a factor from here into year-end. That means I expect dips to be more shallow than in recent months as more participants look to use pullbacks to their advantage. The put/call ratio opened very low this morning, which also lends itself to this thesis.


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