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Thursday, December 23, 2010

WALL STREET : Bulls Ready To Flurry December

Another Higher Close Above 11500 For The Dow
SPX, COMP Extend Winning Streak to 5 Days

Powered by streaking financial stocks, Wall Street quietly landed on Wednesday at levels unseen in more than two years with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq notching their fifth rally in a row.

Traders seem determined to make this week a merry one on Wall Street, with stocks continuing to trudge higher today. In fact, all three major market indexes rose to fresh multi-year peaks, despite a general lack of bullish drivers. The day's highly anticipated third-quarter GDP revision fell short of expectations, and the latest round of housing data was mixed, at best. However, a strong showing from the financial sector helped carry the market higher. Regional banking issues rallied after Hancock Holding (HBHC) agreed to acquire Whitney Holding (WTNY), which stoked speculation about additional M&A activity within the group. Further up the financial food chain, several titans of Wall Street -- including Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and Wells Fargo (WFC) -- were buoyed by price-target boosts from Oppenheimer. Against this backdrop, the S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite each tallied their fifth straight winning session.

MARKET QUOTE : “The absence of sellers and tremendous resiliency of the market have been the story of the last two weeks now. Nothing can make the market overall go down.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 11,559.49) collected a gain of 26.3 points, or 0.2%, as 22 of its 30 components closed higher. Bank of America (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase paced the advancing equities, while Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) led the eight laggards into the red. The Dow peaked today at 11,566.99, marking it highest price since Sept. 9, 2008. The blue-chip barometer has now notched two consecutive daily closes above the psychologically significant 11,500 level.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,258.84) tacked on 4.2 points, or 0.3%, to mark its fifth straight day of gains. The SPX tapped an intraday high of 1,259.39 -- territory the broad-market bellwether hasn't explored since Sept. 19, 2008. Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,671.48) rounded out the glad tidings by adding 3.9 points, or 0.2%. The COMP's session peak of 2,675.26 was its highest perch since Dec. 28, 2007 -- nearly three years ago. Like the SPX, the COMP has gained ground in each of the past five trading days.

Yet it would be hard to put too much credence into Wednesday’s gains as volume was exceedingly low amid the holiday-shortened trading week. The markets also traded in a very tight range, with the Dow moving just 38 points between its high and low.
MARKET QUOTE : “There is some mixed news out there. Maybe the markets are getting ahead of themselves even though there are a lot of good reasons why stocks should be going up,”
For every nine stocks that rose, six fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume was 784.4 million, or 75% of its 30-day average.

CRUDE OIL Gushes 0.66 Higher
Crude futures followed suit with stocks today, notching modest gains as traders reacted to the day's regularly scheduled inventory report. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted that U.S. crude stockpiles declined by 5.3 million barrels last week, marking the third straight week of losses. Additionally, a cold snap blanketing the country helped propel petroleum products higher. Crude oil for February delivery ended up 66 cents, or 0.7%, at $90.48 per barrel. This marks black gold's highest close since Oct. 3, 2008.

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