No deal, no problem?

Despite Washington’s inability to come to terms yet on the fiscal cliff, stocks continue to march higher this week. Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed up 59.75 points and is up around 1.5% so far this week, the S&P 500 (chart) finished the day up 7.88 points, the Nasdaq (chart) +6.03 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed up 4.60 points.

With only six trading days left in the year, maybe all we need is the proverbial “Santa Clause” rally to close the year out on a high note. Hopefully, Washington can help Santa out and get some sort of deal done before year end, if not, the markets could be in for some rough sledding.

Have a safe and happy holiday season πŸ™‚

~George

Stimulus to continue…

Stocks finished the week modestly lower despite the Federal Reserve extending its commitment to keep interest rates near zero. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed lower by 20.12 points, the Nasdaq (chart) -6.71 points, the S&P 500 (chart) -4.49 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) was one of the sole indexes thatΒ managed to eke out a gain finishing the week up 1.48 points.

On Wednesday the central bank enhanced its accommodative policies by now tying the near zero interest rate environment to the unemployment rate vowing that interest rates will not increase until the unemployment rate in our country moves down to 6.5%. I think this creative move surprised most economists for never before has interest rates been directly tied to the unemployment rate. However, the market reaction was less than impressive to latest addition that the Fed made to its policy. My beleif is that until we get some sort of deal out of Washington on the fiscal cliff, not too much will be able to move the needle on these markets. That said, once we have clarity on the fiscal cliff dilemma, I will continue respect the power of the central bank and its ability to remain a significant force in our economy and our markets. In the meantime I will pay close attention to how the market action looks vis-a’vis the technicals on the key indices, and will be ready to deploy a long bias strategy once the coast is clear, Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend πŸ™‚

~George

Impressive resilience…

Despite the incessant flow of “fiscal cliff” news from all of the media outlets, stocks continue to hold their own. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed up 1%, the S&P 500 (chart) + 0.13%, the Nasdaq (chart) -1.07% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart)Β finished the week flat. Not too shabby considering all of the fear and uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff and that Washington has not really progressed towards a deal.

With only a few weeks left in trading year and the fiscal cliff deadline, what is an investor or trader to do? Well if you are a trader you should love this type of environment. I am expecting volatility to pick up steam between now an year end. This should present larger market swings and provide excellent trading opportunities both on the long and short side. If you are an investor you may want to sit it out until we get a deal out of Washington. I remember the days when you would make investment or trading decisions based on fundamentals and technical analysis. Now seemingly the biggest factors are whether or not the central banks will continue to support the markets and whether or not Washington can get along. Needless to say, this dynamic has placed additional uncertainty on the markets and investors or traders now have to add this in the mix of their decision making processes. Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend πŸ™‚

~George

Will the month of December be jolly for stocks?

Although the key indices finished essentially flat for the month of November, everyone now is asking “will a Santa Claus rally come into effect?” For the month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed lower by 0.55%, the Nasdaq (chart) finished up 1.11%, the S&P 500 (chart) +0.29% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed the month up 0.39%.

With the ever increasing rhetoric coming out of Washington regarding the fiscal cliff and whether or not a deal can be made, I am not so sure that we can have a year end rally. Markets hate uncertainty and unfortunately it may take a market swoon for both sides of the aisle and the President to come together on a deal. If this is the case, we could indeed retest the mid-November lows on the S&P 500 (chart) which would be about 70 S&P points from the close on Friday. That said, the markets right now are so sensitive to every word that comes out of Washington, a rally could also occur should there be any positive developments. Most traders embrace this type of environment for it does produce opportunities on the long and short side.

Technically speaking, all of the aforementioned indexes including the transports remain above their respective 200-day moving averages and appear to want to go higher, however, politics and policy do hold the cards as to how we close out the year. Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend πŸ™‚

~George