Friday, December 30, 2011

Stocks Set To Finish The Year Pretty Flat

The market is roughly flat in early trading. If the SPX were to finish at these levels, it would be up less than 0.40% for the year. I think I heard CNBC say that would be the flattest year since 1970. Nevermind the volatility along the way that saw the SPX get as high as 1370 and as low as 1074. I for one am hoping for a decrease in volatility for 2012.

There is very little newsflow today both on the corporate front as well as any economic data. Yesterday saw broad-based buying but on very thin volume, which of course pushed things higher. Volume will likely be lighter today ahead of the holiday and with the US markets closed on Monday.

Asian markets were barely higher overnight, and Europe is mixed this morning. The dollar index is lower this morning which is helping boost commodities. Oil prices are near $99.35 but gold prices have bounced to $1571. Copper and silver prices are higher also.

The 10-year yield is a bit lower again today near 1.88%; and the VIX is up a little to just below the 23 level (22.89).

Trading comment: The SPX got back above its 200-day average yesterday. That means it was only below that key average for one day, which normally would be a bullish sign. With volume very light yesterday and year-end window dressing in effect, its hard to place a lot of significance on yesterday's action. I don't want to completely discount it, but I think we will get a better sense of the action when traders are back in full force next week. So I would give the nod to the bullish side of the equation here, but wait for confirmation next week before adding to my long positions. We still have seen fewer breakouts in leading growth stocks than we would normally see if a new upleg in the market were at hand. Let's hope 2012 brings more winners.

Happy new year to everyone--


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