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Saturday, January 1, 2011

WALL STREET >>> Dow end 2010 at Pre-Lehman Brothers Levels

Bulls End The Year With 7.8pts Finale
11% Gains For 2010

It was another quiet session on Wall Street, with volume on the New York Stock Exchange totaling fewer than 600 million shares . However, after 12 months that were jam-packed with market melodrama -- including the May 6 flash crash, the European debt crisis, and the resurrection of General Motors -- the past week's worth of relative calm was a welcome change of pace. With very little in the way of data to drive the day's action, stocks wobbled back and forth between positive and negative territory. Despite a mixed finish to the session, though, all three major market indexes ended the month, and the year, with impressive gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 11,577.51) settled for a slim gain of 7.8 points, or 0.07%, as 19 of its 30 components closed higher. Alcoa (AA) led the advancing blue chips, while Chevron (CVX) and Intel (INTC) paced the eight decliners. Meanwhile, Cisco Systems (CSCO), Kraft Foods (KFT), and McDonald's (MCD) all closed the session right where they started. Caterpillar was the best-performing Dow component of 2010, adding 64% during the past 52 weeks, while Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) lagged its peers with an 18.3% swoon.

The Dow ended the week up just 0.04%, but notched a healthy gain of 5.2% in December. In the process, the Dow collected its first monthly finish north of 11,500 since August 2008 -- just weeks before the infamous Lehman Brothers collapse that marked the onset of the U.S. financial crisis.

For the year, the blue chip barometer rose 11%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,257.64) ended fractionally lower, shedding 0.2 point, or 0.02%. The SPX added 0.07% for the week, and tacked on 6.5% in December -- bringing its 2010 advance to a healthy 12.8%. The broad-market bellwether remains pinned beneath short-term pressure at 1,260, but managed a monthly finish above 1,250 for the first time since August 2008.

Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,652.87) turned in the worst daily performance -- but easily one-upped its peers on an annual basis. The COMP gave up 10.1 points today, or 0.4%, pushing the tech-rich index to a weekly deficit of 0.5%. However, the COMP added 6.2% for the month, and rose 16.9% in 2010. The COMP closed below its 10-day moving average for the first time since Nov. 30, but settled the month above 2,600 for the first time since December 2007.


Nine out of ten Americans who buy a home do so by borrowing via a mortgage, and people need stable jobs in order to feel comfortable taking on that kind of debt.”

The U.S. housing market is an “Achilles heel of the economy.”

“It’s all about the employment market. And I’m not just talking about employment but
stable employment.”


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