Monday, December 24, 2012

Markest drift lower on DC deadlock

Dow fell 37, decliners 3-2 ahead of advancers 3-2 & NAZ lost 11.  The Financial Index rebounded form an early AM loss to return to flat.  The MLP index was off a fraction in the 387s while the REIT index was up a fraction in the 267s.  Junk bond funds were little changed & Treasuries fell.  Oil fell for a 2nd day on concern that lawmakers will miss a year-end budget deadline, threatening to weaken the American economy.  Gold was flattish as the dollar weakened & budget negotiations in DC remained in the spotlight.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

stock chart

CLG13.NYM...Crude Oil Feb 13...88.56 ...Down 0.10  (0.1%)

GCZ12.CMX...Gold Dec 12.....1,661.40 ...Up 2.30  (0.1%)

Boehner, Cantor on Decision Not to Vote on `Plan B'

Photo:   Bloomberg

Politicos said they were losing confidence that congress & the pres can reach a deal within a week to avoid more than $600B in tax increases & spending cuts that could cause a recession.  In the aftermath of House Speaker Boehner’s failure to garner support from his caucus for Plan B, which would have extended tax cuts on incomes below $1M, Senate leaders now must take charge of resolving the budget stalemate.  Majority Leader Harry Reid & Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will have to put this together again.  This group plans to return to DC Thurs to continue negotiating.  Tax cuts signed into law by pres Bush & extended by Obama are scheduled to expire Jan 1.  In addition, automatic spending reductions to domestic & defense programs are scheduled to start next month.

Lawmakers Say Time Short to Reach Deal on Fiscal Cliff

Economy Weighs on Shoppers in Final Holiday Weekend Dash to Mall

Photo:   Bloomberg

Holiday shoppers descended on malls over the weekend in a last-minute dash to buy gifts amid concerns about the nation’s economy & the impasse in DC over taxes & spending.  Some families are spending less compared with last year.  Americans have become warier as DC approaches the end of the year without an agreement to forestall higher taxes & automatic spending cuts.  Last month, retailers same- store sales that trailed estimates.  Consumer confidence fell in Dec to a 5-month low.  The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index slid to 72.9, the weakest since Jul, from 82.7 in Nov.  In another sign that consumers are pulling back, US online sales increased 8.4% this holiday season, compared with last year’s 16% gain, MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse said, as sales grew to $48B from Oct 28 thru Dec 22.  The figures come from the 60K Web retailers it tracks.  Besides the fiscal concerns, widespread power outages from Sandy also hurt holiday shopping on the Internet.

Economy Weighs on Shoppers in Final Holiday Dash to Mall

Many traders are away on this half day of trading & there is little news to inspire much buying or selling.  All eyes are on DC.  With the clock ticking, it is growing likely that the fiscal debate will not be resolved in time to prevent the tax hikes & budget cuts that will bite the economy, & bite HARD!

Dow Jones Industrials

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