Nasdaq Retreats; Other Major Averages Advance

Thursday, January 7, 2010
Market Commentary:

The major averages ended mixed after positive retail sales and weekly jobless claims were released. Volume, an important indicator of institutional sponsorship, was reported about even to slightly higher than Wednesday’s totals which indicated large institutions were accumulating, not distributing, stocks. Advancers led decliners on both major exchanges which was a positive sign. There were 32 high-ranked companies from the Leaders List that made a new 52-week high and appeared on the BreakOuts Page, lower than the total of 57 issues that appeared on the prior session. New 52-week highs solidly outnumbered new 52-week lows on the NYSE and on the Nasdaq exchange, and new lows were again near the single digits.

Jobless Claims:

At 8:30AM EST, the Labor Department said new claims for unemployment benefits rose less than forecast to +434,000 in the week of January 2, 2010. Every Thursday, the Labor Department releases the report which compiles data showing the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. Remember, the report is counter intuitive because an increasing number means more people are filing for unemployment claims and suggests the labor market is waning. The converse is also true, lower readings is a sign of strength. Investors tend to look at the four-week moving average because it smoothes out weekly volatility. Investors are now focused on December’s employment report which is slated to be released before Friday’s opening bell. Analysts believe that last month’s reading will be unchanged which bodes well for the ailing jobs market. So far, since the recession began, US employers slashed over 7 million jobs as the unemployment rate hit a two decade high of 10.2% in the fourth quarter.

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