Option Investor
Market Updates

Markets look to post a weekly gain

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With 45-minutes left to go in today's trading session, and the week for that matter, the major market indexes look to weekly gains in what has been a rather volatile option expiration Friday.

Volume levels had been tapering off as the week progressed, but today's news events has pumped a little more volume as the NYSE turns just over 1.1 billion shares, while NASDAQ volume also runs the 1.1 billion mark. Both volume runs look to be above that last two sessions.

While the S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) 849 +1.42% might be hard pressed to challenge Tuesday's close of 851, there's still some time remaining. Should the SPX be able to hold current level into the close, the SPX would post a weekly gain of 14-points, which is probably much better than most would have expected considering some of the "surprising" economic data released this week, along with intra-day news events that have had trader's jittery.

I must say that it is very difficult to try and draw any type of conclusions from today's trade that has seen some marked volatility from various news events like the refinery fire in New York and word out of Iraq that it is willing to talk with the U.S. on more peaceful terms if the U.S. were to call of its current war plans. Option expiration may also add to today's rather complex trade as the NASDAQ-100 Index Tracking Stock (AMEX:QQQ) $25.20 begins to fall from the $25.30 level and back near its DAILY pivot of $25.03. Heavy open interest in the QQQ $25 strikes for February expiration may be in play as options traders look to peg levels in the Q's and various stocks with heavier open interest where a strike is nearby.

A quick look at today's market internals into the close has the NYSE showing bullish breadth with 7 stocks advancing for every 3 decliners. NASDAQ breadth is positive with 3 stocks advancing for every 2 decliners.

New highs versus new lows is starting to even out a bit. The NYSE shows 53 stocks having hit a new 52-week high versus 57 stocks trading a new 52-week low. NASDAQ breadth for this indicator has 57 stocks trading a new 52-week high versus 65 stocks trading a new low.

Jeff Bailey

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