Wednesday is shaping up to be a relatively quiet session for the market. Stocks initially traded higher and the S&P 500 hit a new 2009 high intraday. Investors seem to be waiting for Friday's non-farm payrolls report after seeing today's ADP number come in slightly worse than expected. A bounce in the dollar is not having much affect on the metals while oil is down on a jump in its weekly inventory number.
Foreign markets were higher but momentum is slowing. Asian markets managed their third gain in a row. The Japanese NIKKEI rose 0.38%, hitting a new two-week high, fueled by a drop in the yen against the dollar. The Chinese Shanghai index rose just over 1%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng gained 0.8%. A Reuters report said Chinese regulators will be meeting next week for an annual three-day economic summit to plan for 2010. On the other side of the world European markets extended their gains thanks to strength in the mining stocks. Yet Tuesday's bounce in the banking sector has already run out of steam. The French CAC-40 rose 0.5%. The English FTSE climbed 0.29%. The German DAX managed a 0.09% gain.
This morning the ADP National Employment Report, a look at private sector employment, showed a loss of 169,000 jobs in November. Economists were expecting the ADP number to come in at 160,000. While slightly worse than expected it was improvement over October's 195,000 lost jobs. Looking inside the headline numbers ADP said finance jobs fell for the 24th month in a row and construction jobs marked their 34th monthly decline in a row. In a separate report Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a placement firm, said planned layoffs for November plunged 72% from almost 182,000 a year ago to about 50,300. Analysts see this data as a positive preview for Friday's non-farm payrolls report. Estimates are putting the government numbers at a loss of 130,000 jobs in November compared to -190,000 in October. Unemployment is expected to stay at 10.2%.
Commodities were making headlines again with another new all-time high in gold. Gold futures hit $1,218.40 an ounce earlier today. The precious metal has pared its gains but it's still up more than $10 at $1,210. Silver, platinum and palladium are also hitting new relative highs. Normally a rise in the dollar would put downward pressure on commodities but metals are doing a pretty good job of ignoring dollar strength today. Meanwhile crude oil is off more than 2.3% to $76.50 a barrel thanks to a larger than expected rise in the weekly inventory numbers this morning.
Tomorrow major retailers will start releasing their November same-store sales figures. Tomorrow will also bring the weekly initial jobless claims data but unless it's wildly off the mark investors will probably ignore it and wait for Friday's job report.
Currently the S&P 500 is off its high of the session and trading down less than two points at 1107. The NASDAQ composite is up about six points but it's early morning rally failed at the 2200 level. The Dow Industrials are down less than 30 points near 10,443. The small cap Russell 2000 index is up a few points but the early morning rally failed at round-number resistance near the 600 mark.
Chart of the S&P 500:
Chart of the NASDAQ:
Chart of the Dow Industrials:
Chart of the Russell 2000 index:
Looking for movement on the OptionInvestor.com play list I see that FDX is extending its gains and hitting new 2009 highs. The GLD gold ETF has hit our final target at $118.50. Traders should be taking profits here in the GLD. GMCR, a put play, continues to sink and shares have almost hit our first target near $60. Goldman Sachs continues to underperform the market. IBB, the biotech ETF, has broken out past resistance at $80.00 and hit our stop loss. NTRS, a regional bank, has also broken out past round-number resistance and hit our stop loss.