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Volume fades as weekend nears

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The major indexes continue to hold gains, but volume has been fading into the close compared to yesterday's 03:00 levels, with the NYSE just now turning 968 million shares compared to yesterday's 990 volume rate. Trader talk that technology bears were trying to cover some positions before the weekend has NASDAQ volume at 998 and that would be ahead of yesterday's 987 million mark at the 03:00 PM EST mark.

The Dow Industrials (INDU) 7,881 is off just 3.9 points, and has been rather flat and trading in a tight 30-poin range for the better part of the afternoon session. Dow component Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) $17.18 +2.87% continues to turn heavy volume of just over 55 million shares and is today's most actively traded stock (for those over $5).

Large caps are struggling to hold onto gains into their close as the S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) 839.31 +0.24% holds a 2-point gain, while the narrower S&P 100 Index (OEX.X) 424.24 +0.17% shows a 0.74-point gain.

Giving some credence to trader talk of short-covering into the weekend, the NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 1,004 +0.93% holds an 8- point gain, while the heavily traded QQQ $24.97 +0.8% has been holding near its WEEKLY pivot of $25.02 for the better part of the afternoon trade, after jumping to a session high of $25.22 earlier this morning.

Treasuries were marked near their session high at their close, with the 10-year March futures contract (ty03h) $116'230 +0.34% closing at a contract high. This action has the 10-year YIELD ($TNX.X) finishing lower at 3.696% and closing at levels not seen since mid-October.

Jeff Bailey

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