Much like Thursday, most of today’s gains came in the closing 30 minutes – it is getting a bit suspicious. The S&P 500 gained 0.29% while the NASDAQ fell 0.38%. The highlight of the day was the U.S. labor data which was a mixed bag. While the headline looked strong 146K jobs created versus 80K expected, and a drop in the unemployment rate to 7.7% much of the gains were due to people dropping out of the labor force. Also the previous two months were revised down by a combination of 49,000. The government claimed there was little effect from Sandy but one could expect revisions down in the months ahead as “little effect” suddenly becomes “some effect”.
Outside of the labor data, consumer confidence came in far below expectations as all the talk of fiscal cliff has begun to hit the national psyche, while consumer credit expanded substantially on the back of student loans.
The S&P 500 with the late day surge did get to the 50 day moving average but still has work to do, to create an all clear signal – about 20 S&P points required.
The NASDAQ has been lagging on the week due to the problems with Apple.
Apple (AAPL) fell another 2.6% to drop 8.9% on the week.
Groupon (GRPN) rallied sharply in the afternoon after some rumors were floated that someone i.e. Google was interested in buying them - typical action for light trading in December.
The star of the week was the China index on hopes of more stimulus – it tacked on another 1.6% Friday.