Other than a brief moment at the start of the day and a few minutes mid afternoon the S&P 500 was in the red the entire session as stocks continue to act weak. The S&P 500 closed down 0.38% and the NASDAQ 0.14%. Ironically again "good news was bad news" as the one key economic report this week - retail sales - came in better than expected.
Wednesday was an interesting day in the market - participants have been lulled to sleep for over 2 months now; however as we noted yesterday (twice in one story) breadth measurements have been degrading. It has not mattered much to this market which just grinds up or sideways, but mattered some today. The S&P 500 fell 1.13% and the NASDAQ 1.4%. Notably the small caps, as seen by the Russell 2000, have been much weaker of late with that index down 1.6%. There were some high volume selloffs in a few sectors which we'll talk about in a moment. Also interesting this selloff came on the back of good news - a budget deal that stops the normal games in D.C. that we were all going to be subject to in a few weeks. So when stocks sell off on good news, it is something to note! Of course this falls in the "good news is bad news" for those addicated to limitless quantitative easing and the thought is the Fed would be persuaded from holding off even one iota of easing if we had another budget debacle in early 2014. So this takes that off the table.
It was another quiet session and sort of the exact opposite of yesterday; today the market gapped down and stayed in a narrow range - whereas yesterday the market gapped up and stayed in a narrow range. The S&P 500 fell 0.32% and the NASDAQ 0.20%. Most of the action was in very specific niches of the market, such as social media. News flow remains quiet. Next Tuesday and Wednesday the Fed has its last meeting of the year and some media types are saying they might taper but one would doubt Bernanke would do this at the end of his reign and just ahead of the holidays.
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In a very quiet session, stocks gapped up to open the session and moved in a very narrow range for most of the day. The S&P 500 added 0.18% and the NASDAQ 0.15%. We had a 5 day "correction" prior to Friday but the big surge that day plus today's gains has erased just about all those losses in the major indexes. News flow was very light as we come off a very heavy week of economic data last week; the only major report this week will be retail sales Thursday.