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The Santa Claus rally continued today as stocks were unfazed by a weaker than expected GDP reading.  As tends to be the case during these holiday weeks, there were simply no sellers to be found.  Stocks melted higher by 0.35% with little selling resistance.  Volume was extraordinarily light once again.  The market also shrugged off the rising dollar as investors continue to pile into the risk trade.  The VIX fell almost 5% on the day and closed below 20 for the first time August 2008.  Daily Futures wraps up the action from all markets:

U.S. Economy
The U.S. Commerce Department said that real GDP was up .6% in the third quarter and down 2.6% from a year ago, less than last month’s estimate. The March 2011 eurodollars closed down .085 at 98.265.

The National Association of Realtors said that existing home sales were at an annual rate of 6.54 million units in November, up 7.4% from October’s pace and more than expected. March lumber was up $1 to $238.10. The March U.S. T-bonds dropped 25/32nds to 116.03/32nds, the lowest close in four months.

The Federal Reserve of Richmond said that its regional index of manufacturing fell from +1 to -4 in December, weaker than expected.

Grains and Cotton
The USDA said that Mexico bought 176,000 tons of U.S. corn. March corn was down 1.25 cents at $3.987.

The USDA said that last week’s export inspections of:
Corn totaled 17.8 million bushels, down 46% from a year ago.
Soybeans totaled 29.9 million bushels, down 1% from a year ago.
Wheat totaled 13.3 million bushels, up 1% from a year ago.
March wheat ended up 3.5 cents at $5.23.

February cattle closed down .90 at 84.67, discouraged by today’s weak GDP report and in spite of forecasts for a big winter storm approaching the U.S. central plains.

After the close, the USDA said that there were 44.7 million pounds of frozen bellies in storage on November 30th, up 33% from a year ago. Frozen pork totaled 487 million pounds, down 7% from a year ago.

March coffee fell 3.15 cents to $1.4245 with concerns about today’s disappointing U.S. GDP numbers and the strength of world demand.

Orange juice
March orange juice dropped 3.60 cents to $1.3635 after central Florida survived another morning of cool, but not damaging temperatures. The ten-day forecast looks safely warm after today.

After the close, the USDA said that there were 1.13 billion pounds of frozen orange juice concentrate in storage on November 30th, up 9% from a year ago.

OPEC met and agreed to keep their current production levels unchanged. Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister al-Naimi was quoted as saying that “everyone” is satisfied with oil prices between $70 and $80 per barrel. February crude oil finished up .68 at $74.40.

February natural gas was up 6 cents at $5.772 with a big winter storm heading eastward from the Rocky Mountains.

March copper closed down 2.05 cents at $3.1380, hurt by today’s weak U.S. GDP report. Also, China’s Customs Office said that refined copper imports were up 14.8% in November.

The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics said that real GDP was down .2% in the third quarter and down 5.1% from a year ago, a slight improvement from last month’s estimate. The March British pound closed down .0085 at $1.5960, the lowest close in two months.

Statistics Canada said that the number of people receiving employment benefits was down .5% in October to 809,600. The March Canadian dollar was up a half-cent at 94.73.

Moody’s lowered the credit rating for Greece from A1 to A2 and gave it a negative outlook.

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