Crude Almost Hijacked the Santa Claus Rally

US equity markets once again fell under the spell of crude’s weakness Monday 12/28.

We opened sharply lower and remained underwater all session. However, though crude (WTI) did reverse lower on the day (-3.6%), equity markets attempted to decouple from crude and in the process managed to claw their way back from a weak opening to a somewhat mixed close. The Dow Industrials (-0.14), S&P 500 (-0.22%) and NASDAQ (-0.15%) all gave modest ground on the session. Naturally, volume on both the NYSE and NASDAQ rose from Thursday’s half session but was below the trailing 3-month average. Internals were mixed while sector out performance was delivered by Communications (+0.93%), Consumer Discretionary (+0.19%) and Materials (+ 0.05%). As a direct result of crude’s drag on markets, the energy sector (-1.35%) was the under performer in the day.

If a Santa Claus rally is defined by a rally in the five trading days before Christmas coupled with a rally in the two trading days after Christmas, we can safely say Santa Claus did not disappoint this year. Between Friday, December the 18th’s close of 2005.55 on the S&P 500 and Tuesday’s (12/29) close of 2078.36, the S&P rallied 3.63%. But,

We head into year-end with the near term direction of the market in limbo. That said, we can count on tax related end of the trades, portfolio window dressing and below average trading volume. My complete article on how the market defied those claiming that Santa’s rally would not materialize on Investing.Com and my conversation on the market headwinds on NPR’s Marketplace Morning Report with David Brancaccio.