Stocks are seeing a little profit taking but for the most part the market continues to churn sideways as we approach the end of 2009. Investors ignored better than expected Chicago ISM numbers. The Treasury auctioned off another $32 billion in seven-year notes. An early bounce in the dollar put pressure on metals. Yet oil was up in spite of bearish oil inventory data. Meanwhile parts of Times Square were shut down and the NASDAQ was evacuated due to a suspicious white van. The van had no license plates and there was a placard from a nonexistent law enforcement agency on the dashboard. In just the last few minutes the New York bomb squad has declared that the van does not represent any threat.

Asian markets were mixed. The Chinese Shanghai index outperformed its peers with a 1.5% gain marking its fifth gain in a row. The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed virtually unchanged with a 0.01% decline. The Japanese NIKKEI index lost 0.8% on this last trading day of the year in Japan. The NIKKEI closed out 2009 with a 19% gain following its worst year on record with a 42% plunge in 2008.

European markets suffered widespread profit taking snapping a multi-day rally for the region. The French CAC-40 lost 0.6%. The German DAX fell 0.9%. The English FTSE dropped 0.7%. Energy, banks, and drug stocks led the decline. German markets will be closed tomorrow. French and English markets will have a shortened trading session on New Year's Eve. All markets will be closed on New Year's day.

The big economic data out this morning was the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago index, a.k.a. the Chicago PMI, which rose from 56.1 in November to 60.0 in December. This beat economists' expectations for a rise to 55.0. Readings over 50 indicate expansion and growth and a reading at 60 is the best level since January 2006. This was a bullish report with strong gains in the new orders and the employment components.

Overall stocks are mostly flat today following their early morning decline. Unfortunately the profit taking is widespread with nearly every sector save the semiconductors in negative territory. The dollar has given up its early morning gains but metals are still weak. Gold futures are down more than $5 to $1,093 an ounce. Silver is down 2%. Oddly enough copper is bucking the trend with a new 2009 high possibly due to a potential strike at a large copper mine in Chile.

As we come to the close for 2009 the Options Clearing Corp. said that option volume in 2009 hit another record at 3.59 billion contracts traded for the year.

Chart of the S&P 500:

Chart of the NASDAQ:

Chart of the Dow Industrials:

Chart of the Russell 2000 index:

A quick look at the OptionInvestor.com play list reveals that most of our picks are following the market lower. EQIX is slipping under short-term technical support at its 10-dma. LLL spiked to a new high this morning at $89.23 but has since pared its gains. NUE is showing some relative strength with a 1.8% rally. VMI is showing relative weakness with a 1.9% decline and a breakdown under the $80.00 mark. Readers may want to abandon ship here. VRTX hit a new high at $44.04 this morning. Traders may want to take profits now.

As you make plans for your New Year's Eve celebration you may want to take a moment and look skyward. Most of the world will enjoy a full moon on New Year's eve. This is the second full moon this month making it a "blue" moon. Blue moons only occur about every 2.5 years. A blue moon on New Year's Eve only happens every 19 years. The next one won't happen until 2028.