As has been evidenced by the last seven days of trading, investors have stepped off the accelerator heading into year end. From the 15th of December though the close of last week the S&P 500 has been exactly unchanged, closing at 2258.50. Over the same period of time, the Dow Industrials have managed to gain a total of 63 points or .3%. In addition to the largely horizontal movement we have seen in prices, weekly volume over the period has, not expectedly, fallen to post election lows.
The high flying energy (XLE -0.04%) and financial sectors (XLF – 0.07%) have fallen prey to some drift and mild profit taking over the period as short term traders look to trim profitable positions.
The cautious overall tone and tepid volume that has defined recent equity market trading is likely to remain with us through the end of the week and year, Dow 20k or not.
We will obviously break through the 20k level in the days or weeks ahead but it is really meritless other than to provide those covering the markets with bold headlines. Of significantly greater merit is the degree to which markets can manage to retain their collective stability and constructive trends.
Flickr photo: Nick Lee