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OI Technical Staff : 12/8/2006 9:59:59 PM

The Market Monitor has been archived. You may view it and any previous days here: Link

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Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 5:07:39 PM

Closing U.S. Market Watch at this Link

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 4:19:29 PM

It was a very quiet day. The quick run up this morning followed by a very choppy pullback leaves me with the impression that we'll see another run higher on Monday. This would fit the past pattern of a down Thursday prior to opex followed by an engineered rally into opex so that the mega banks can make their billions. I still see that as a distinct possibility for next week.

However, as I've been saying for a while now, surprises (other than the program buying we get) will be to the downside so other than intraday trading on the long side I can't recommend being long here. I hope everyone has a great weekend, see you Monday.

Marc Eckelberry : 12/8/2006 4:15:02 PM

Small caps lag and are now in the red. Watch interest rates. If they drop, small caps will get a bounce into the year end, but we could have seen the highs yesterday, just as ES could have as well. It's all about interest rates now.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:58:50 PM

Dollar Index (CEC:DXY) 83.33 ... at 02:23 PM EST, when 10-year YIELD hit 4.55%, DXY traded 83.30

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:57:35 PM

CRB Index (CEC:CRY) 312.38 -0.22% ... at 02:23 PM EST, when 10-year YIELD hit 4.55%, CRY traded 312.30.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:52:11 PM

Goodyear Tire (GT) $17.58 +1.32% ... getting some action into the close.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:48:59 PM

GM "funky" around its WEEKLY Pivot of $29.55.

Marc Eckelberry : 12/8/2006 3:48:51 PM

It's rates and climbing yields, Keene. Competition for stocks that have little upside left. Watch ES 1422.75, 11/22 highs.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:48:20 PM

MMM sure wasn't "on the list"

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:47:06 PM

MMM $78.49

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:46:41 PM

Sell Program Premium YM 12,395 : SPY 141.32

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 3:44:19 PM

Just a slow bleed back down. No real selling but the buyers have hung up their mice for the day.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 3:33:04 PM

It's beginning to look like no one is going to blink as we head into the close, Those sitting on fat profits on the long side don't seem particularly worried and those trying to short the market just aren't trying very hard. Very lethargic day except for the one engineered rally this morning.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:23:03 PM

03:00 Internals found at this Link

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 3:14:59 PM

NQ has broken above its bull flag but stalled. A pullback could retest the top of the flag at 1812 and the bulls want to see that hold. A drop back into the flag would negate the bullishness of the pattern.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:10:56 PM

The kiss of death ...

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:09:42 PM

Bearish day trade stopped alert on MMM $78.55

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:03:59 PM

03:00 Market Watch found at this Link

Marc Eckelberry : 12/8/2006 3:03:33 PM

Interest rates are climbing fast and equity investors should be cautious.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:01:22 PM

MMM $78.46

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 3:00:44 PM

YM07H ... at 02:27 PM, kissed its 50% dynamic (mid-point of today's range). Just easing off 19.1% (12,415)

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:52:40 PM

MMM $78.50

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:52:23 PM

YM07H ... 12,409 ... best levels of the afternoon.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:38:31 PM

Kinross Gold (KGC) $12.20 -2.94% ...

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:37:12 PM

Barrick Gold (ABX) $30.00 -2.43% ... on the button.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:35:14 PM

GLD $62.17 -0.89% ...

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:34:19 PM

SMH $34.19 -0.55% ...

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:34:02 PM

QQQQ $43.98 +0.64% ...

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:33:41 PM

RUT.X 792.66

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:33:28 PM

BIX.X 399.00 -0.15% ...

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:33:14 PM

SPY $141.33 +0.12% ...

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:32:57 PM

DIA $122.98 +0.17% ...

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 2:32:36 PM

10-year YIELD ($TNX.X) 4.550% ... gets the trade at MONTHLY Pivot.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 2:32:15 PM

Countering the bull flag for NQ I don't quite like the short term pattern for ES and YM. It looks like a sideways consolidation after the first pullback from today's high. This suggests another leg down as we head into the close. All that effort to prop up the market this morning and now it's just a slow bleed back down.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 2:29:46 PM

NQ continues to chop its way lower inside the bull flag that I showed earlier (1:35 PM). The bottom of the flag is now near 1809 and a break out of it would be a rally above 1816.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 1:51:48 PM

Day trade short alert ... for 3M (MMM) $78.34 -1.53% here, stop $78.55, target $77.75

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 1:41:22 PM

VIX looks to be forming a shallow bear flag after its morning drop. A break to new lows for VIX would be good confirmation of a stock rally and I'd look to buy it.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 1:39:46 PM

H-P SETTLES CIVIL CHARGES FOR 'PRETEXTING'

DJ- Hewlett-Packard agrees to pay $14.5 million to settle civil charges stemming from board-leak probe. Technology giant will pay $13.5 million to create a new state privacy and piracy fund, $1 million in civil penalties and investigation costs.

HPQ $39.79 -0.17% Link ...

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 1:39:41 PM

Got a slight taste today (see 12:20:04)

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 1:35:16 PM

After the big spike up NQ has a clean bull flag pattern, the bottom of which is currently near 1811.50. This morning's bear flag failed and we saw a strong rally out of it. Will the opposite happen here? It could but I'd look to be a buyer if this pulls back to 1811.50 and looks to hold. Either that or a break above 1819 could also be a good time to try a long. Link

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 1:39:34 PM

You were listening! Excellent.

Now we just need to keep in mind what party recently won the U.S. House and Senate.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 1:30:30 PM

We're about to hit 1:30 PM and this is the time that we often see the program trades hit. So let's get the show on the road here and do something. This is boring trade (in)action.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 1:29:10 PM

In fact when Greenspan voiced his opinion against protectionism it was one of the few times I stood up and applauded him (wink).

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 1:28:09 PM

Jeff, I did hear that about trade sanctions. In fact there have been several Congressmen calling for trade sanctions. IMHO, I think protectionism is about the worst thing we could do. Certainly people need to go back and read the history around the Great Depression and how protectionism was one of the culprits leading to worsening conditions globally. We all need to stay connected and work through problems together.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 1:16:52 PM

01:00 Internals found at this Link

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 1:08:06 PM

You must have missed Greenspan's testimony several month ago Keene, when Senator Kerry uttered "trade sanctions" on China.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 1:02:46 PM

01:00 Market Watch found at this Link

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 1:00:53 PM

LOL, Jeff, actually I think it's we who need to remember who's our daddy. With all the money that China now returns to us through their purchases of our debt, we need to make nice and keep them happy with our greenback.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 12:56:26 PM

Careful China .... just remember "who is your daddy?"

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 12:51:52 PM

Current OPEN MM Profiles that I've made and Watch List found at this Link ... When I want a loan I got to a bank. When I want M&A advice, I go to a broker.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 12:49:03 PM

And China back to U.S., "go pound sand".

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 12:45:26 PM

Treasury Secretary Paulson: China Must Speed Trade Reforms

AP Story Link

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 12:35:55 PM

GLD $62.20 -0.84% ... WEEKLY S2 at $62.09. DAILY S1 right here.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 12:34:47 PM

DXY has traded QCharts' WEEKLY R1 of 83.33.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 12:33:52 PM

It's a round-tripper for the Dollar Index (DXY) 83.26 +0.55% in its DAILY Pivot

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 12:31:44 PM

OPEC WON'T CUT OUTPUT IF CURRENT PRICES HOLD

DJ- A senior governor at the oil cartel says it will leave its production unchanged when it meets next week in Nigeria, unless oil prices start heading back down toward $60 a barrel.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 12:25:07 PM

YM07H ... nice bounce from the triple-overlap support of 12,336 this morning. WEEKLY R1 here 12,405. Sssssniffing a 12,375 close today.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 12:24:14 PM

If the current pullback is going to lead to another move higher then use this dip as an opportunity to get long. I've got mixed signals here so that might mean we'll chop a little lower before finding better support. It's turning into a slow Friday and that will make trading a little riskier if a buy or sell program hits. Probably best to at least wait until after lunch.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 12:22:36 PM

Russell 2000 (RUT.X) 794.48 +0.27% ... back above WEEKLY R1 after dip below this morning.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 12:20:04 PM

US Rep Rhall: Seeks To Repeal Offshore Royalty Relief

DJ- House Resource Committee Chairman-Elect Nick Rahall, D-WV, said one of his top priorities in the next congressional session will be to reform or repeal the Deepwater Royalties Relief that gives oil companies an incentive to drill offshore.

Given high oil prices and companies record profits, "I think they hardly need the incentives to drill...not in today's climate," Rahall said at a press conference to announce his upcoming agenda as chairman of the committee.

Although Rahall said first his committee would examine the royalty relief act, he added, "If that's what we need to do, I'm in favor of the repeal."

Marc Eckelberry : 12/8/2006 12:03:38 PM

I mentioned shorting bonds yesterday and that is proving profitable. The bid in yields is not allowing the BIX to move up even with the MA news.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 11:56:51 AM

Bullish swing trade long entry alert ... for the 1/2 position StreetTracks Gold (GLD) $62.50.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 11:45:15 AM

This price action is what you call a jam job. At least if it can keep going to a new high it will complete the short term price pattern that I had mentioned in last night's Wrap. While the daily charts are screaming for the bulls to take profits and get out, the short term charts would look best with another new high. This YM 60-min chart shows the potential for price to move up to a Fib target of 12534 (about DOW 12430) and finish its ascending wedge. But a drop back below today's low would negate this idea and instead suggest we've already seen the top. Link

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 11:36:48 AM

Here is how the markets are trading in relation to their PDRs. Link

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 11:33:41 AM

Not that I have a great deal of money to worry about.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 11:33:58 AM

Please excuse my musing today but Linda and I started a discussion earlier that I have many times with my sister and we all at a loss for where to put our money.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 11:32:15 AM

My sister has some money and would love to be able to generate enough income to live off it. She asks me all the time where should she put this money and my answer is a big strug and say Bonds? I truly don't know. Not in the stock market unless you are willing to sit out bear markets and most cannot do that or if they do it takes a huge emotional toll on them.

I know there are some strategies like what Mike Parnos does that work wonderfully in any market but you can't have all your eggs in one basket.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 11:27:16 AM

Today is a very good example.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 11:27:02 AM

You know Kermit's song "It's not easy been Green," well let me assure you it is not easy been yellow either. I'm not talking about the kind of scared yellow but the yellow you see when people have jaundice. I am the most jaundiced person you can find where the market is concerned with very little faith in stocks or the stock market and mostly why I am a futures daytrader. With that said there are some things that I do believe in and although it has taken me 7 years of trading to find them they are my 100%'s. I share these with you daily and are the VIX and AD volume. I really and truly do believe the VIX and AD volume are two internals that every trader should have in their toolbox and when they are in agreement you have the closest to a sure thing as you can get. Do they work 100%? Probably not but you also know I look at trading as a game of probabilities and your highest probably trade is when these two are in sync.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 11:26:36 AM

Supposedly the reason for our rally the past few months is because the market has been expecting the Fed to reduce rates soon. Today we get data that shows the Fed is likely not going to reduce rates anytime soon (the bond market is saying that today and Fed funds futures are saying that) and yet the stock market rallies. This is why it will only frustrate the heck out of you to try to trade on news. The Fed is pumping money into the economy and the mega banks' trading teams are more than happy to keep buying stock with it. Keeps everyone happy, for now.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 11:16:37 AM

* NYSE advancers outnumber decliners 17 to 14
* Nasdaq advancers outnumber decliners 14 to 13

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 11:16:11 AM

They are some 100% in the market and one of them is you do want to be short when the VIX is making new daily lows and AD volume new daily highs. 100%

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 11:14:48 AM

11:00 Internals found at this Link

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 11:14:38 AM

TAke a guess as to which team has the ball. Link

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 11:14:02 AM

This looking like it's got the footprints of the banks' trading teams with the Fed money--just keep notching it higher with only small little pullbacks.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 11:11:29 AM

Nasdaq most active stocks: QQQQ SUNW SIRI INTC AAPL
* NYSE most active stocks: F CHK PFE C BAC

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 11:02:22 AM

11:00 Market Watch found at this Link

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 10:59:18 AM

Allegiant Travel flys straight from the Tri-cities, WA, where I live, to Las Vegas three times a week. It has no frills but it gets me there on time and I love it.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 10:54:41 AM

Allegiant Travel (ALGT) priced its IPO at $18 -- above its $15-$17 range -- for its stock market debut on Friday. The IPO opened at $24 a share and rose to $25.23 for a gain of 41%.

The company raised $90 million by offering 5 million shares for trading on the Nasdaq The Las Vegas-based airline provides flights to 45 cities with operations concentrated in its home base and Florida.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Allegiant reported net income of $10.3 million on revenue of $180 million, compared with net income of $7.7 million and revenue of $92.5 million in the year-ago period.

At the midpoint of its IPO price range, Allegiant would be more expensive than Frontier Airlines (FRNT) or AirTran (AAI) but "probably rightly so," Prudential analyst Bob McAdoo wrote in a Nov. 30 note to clients.

"Allegiant's unique operating methods and product offering keep it well below the radar of the big airlines and uniquely attractive to a substantial segment of the population seeking low-priced leisure travel from smaller cities," he said.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 10:53:49 AM

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Heelys and Allegiant Travel both priced atop their range for their stock market debuts Friday in a sign of strong interest in the profitable small-cap firms. Heelys Inc. (HLYS) , a maker of children's sneakers, which have wheels in the heels, rolled past its price range of $16 to $18 by setting its IPO at $21 a share. ,p> The Carrollton, Texas company, founded in 2000 by current board member and 40-year skateboarding veteran Roger R. Adams, raised $135 million by offering 6.425 million shares with underwriters Bear Stearns and Wachovia Securities.

Profitable for at least the past three years, Heelys rang up $17.7 million in net income and revenue of $117 million in the nine months ended Sept. 30, compared with net income of $2.9 million and revenue of $29 million in the year-ago period.

Riding a surge in popularity of action sports, Heelys appears to be tapping into interest in the IPO market for youth-oriented brands and popular footwear companies.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 10:52:39 AM

Before the bulls get to giddy though please be aware the AD line AND volume are still below 0.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 10:50:52 AM

I expect to hear my TICKS +800 alert at any time now. Just watching the rescue team come to the rescue.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 10:40:50 AM

Very slow price action here. It looks like a little bear flag developing over the past 45 minutes.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 10:38:28 AM

Bullish swing trade long setup alert ... for 1/2 position in the Street Trackers Gold (GLD) $62.94 +0.33% Link ... on a pullback to $62.50 and today's DAILY Pivot. Stop goes $60.80 with target of $65.00.

Day order only.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 10:24:31 AM

The SOX is leading the charge down the hill again--down 1.6% this morning.

Marc Eckelberry : 12/8/2006 10:24:28 AM

Overbloated small caps leading to the downside.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 10:21:30 AM

Red Hat (RHAT) $16.22 -1.45% Link ... retraces 38.2% ($16.30) of its recent bounce.

Daily inverval bar chart has MACD threatening to cross below its Signal , below O, which MACD-watchers view as bearish.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 10:17:46 AM

Current OPEN MM Profiles that I've made and Watch List found at this Link

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 10:13:50 AM

The drop in Consumer Sentiment, released at 10:00 AM, from 92.1 to 90.2 was unexpected and that dropped the market back to its pre-market lows.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 10:11:34 AM

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Consumer sentiment eroded slightly in December, according to researchers at the University of Michigan on Friday. The consumer sentiment index fell to 90.2 in December from 92.1 in November. The decrease was unexpected. The consensus forecast of Wall Street economists who had expected sentiment to rise to 92.4.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 10:10:48 AM

The VIX is back testing daily highs and does not confirm ES's new daily lows so the lows may not hold or will wait for the VIX to catch up. In any case don't expect too much more downside yet.

Jeff Bailey : 12/8/2006 10:02:31 AM

10:00 Market Watch found at this Link

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 9:58:58 AM

On the last two pokes higher this morning the DOW stopped at its downtrend line from yesterday morning's high. Therefore if we see another push higher to new daily highs then that would be short term bullish. SPX doesn't run into its downtrend line until just under 1411 (ES 1424). It's possible we're going to see a consolidation inside this morning's range and if we do that will start to look more bearish.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 9:51:34 AM

Maybe I should build a scenario where I have ducks playing football?

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 9:50:50 AM

Opps there goes the TRIN to new daily highs. HMMM ducks are not in a row for sure.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 9:50:15 AM

AD volume continue to make new daily highs so the ball remains firmly in the hands of the bulls.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 9:47:24 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Energy stocks grabbed quick gains at the open Friday, propelled by a $1 rise in crude oil prices to over $63 a barrel. In early trades, the Amex Oil Index ($XOI) was up 0.7% at 1,225.8 points, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index ($OSX) was up 1.6% at 212.9 points, and the Amex Natural Gas Index ($XNG) advanced 0.4% to 470 points. Crude oil for January delivery was last trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at $63.36 a barrel, up 89 cents from Thursday's close. The contract hit $63.60 overnight amid increasing speculation that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will trim output when they gather Dec. 14.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 9:46:21 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- February gold rose $2.80 to $639.80 an ounce in morning trading, but were still ready to end the week with a more than $10 loss as traders continued to eye moves in the U.S. dollar. March silver was up 0.5 cent at $14.04 an ounce and March copper traded at $3.1215 a pound, up 1.95 cents. Metals shares traded slightly higher, with the CBOE Gold Index ($GOX) up 0.1%.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 9:44:06 AM

The other possibility of course is that the move higher out of the gate here is going to be a bull trap. Push the market higher, get some liquidity going and then sell into it. Like I said, be careful of the early whipsaws.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 9:43:27 AM

VIX is making new daily lows confirming ES's new daily highs so, for now, the bulls have the ball but they don't have field advantage. I have seen the ball intercepted many times in the last few weeks so as the saying goes "Keep your eye on the ball (internals)."

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 9:42:48 AM

At this point it certainly looks like they set, and sprang, a nice bear trap on NQ as it now rallies higher than the initial spike off the jobs numbers.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 9:40:35 AM

AD line is paltry +103 but climbing as is the AD volume. AD volume is really climbing.

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 9:34:37 AM

As has often been the case with this market, an early move down is a bear trap so be careful of that. If we get a move down that continues down today then that would be a signal that an important high might have been made. Then we'll watch for important support levels to hold or not.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 9:11:37 AM

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The odds of an interest rate cut in early 2007 fell after data showing jobs growth in November was stronger than expected. April fed funds futures were last down 0.03 at 94.84, which implies a 36% chance that the Federal Reserve would lower its target for overnight rates to 5% from 5.25% by its meeting in late March vs. a 48% chance priced in late Thursday. The odds of a rate cut by the Fed's meeting in mid-January fell to 12% from 16% late Thursday. A week earlier, the odds of a rate cut by the end of March rose to a high of 76%. Nonfarm payrolls expanded 132,000 in November, exceeding the average economist estimate compiled by MarketWatch of growth of 112,000. Job growth in September and October were revised higher by a net 42,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose to 4.5% from 4.4%, as expected.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 9:09:42 AM

My goodness so much for that bullish bias this morning. Look at where the futures are now. Link

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 9:08:11 AM

NQ's MACD does not have as much of a bearish divergence as does the ES and YM charts but the new yearly highs made on November 24th were not confirmed by the MACD and there is a H&S forming which I think will confirm. This H&S gives us a downward target of around 1715. Link

Keene Little : 12/8/2006 9:06:31 AM

The initial spike higher in the futures after the jobs numbers has been given up and NQ is back in the red. We'll have to wait for the dust to settle after the cash market opens since this could literally go either way. The market may end up being disappointed that the numbers are not "rate-cut" friendly enough. Futures now spiking down as I type. Could be an interesting open after the bell. Watch the whipsaws.

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 9:00:28 AM

The market liked the employment data out at 8:30EST and should give us a bullish bias at the open. Whether that bias lasts the rest of the day or not remains to be seen.

I believe we will not see new yearly highs until the bearish formations I am seeing on the daily charts is resolved and the only way those will be resolved is a sideways move or a revisit back to the daily 50EMA. The most heathly for the market is a return to the 50EMA so the bulls can recharge for another run at new highs. Link

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 8:53:14 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet next week and they appear ready to set a floor for prices amid worries of weakening demand from a slowing U.S. economy.

Officials from the cartel have voiced support for a production cut, just two months after 10 of its 11 members agreed to cut output by 1.2 million barrels a day.

What's surprising to many experts is that OPEC is planning to cut output at a time when overall demand for oil is growing.

While OPEC may be seeking a higher target for oil prices, the trick will be to balance oil at a price that doesn't destroy demand.

A decision for a reduction in output would probably come "mainly because [members] are worried about building inventories," said Phil Flynn, a senior analyst at Alaron Trading in Chicago

Jane Fox : 12/8/2006 8:44:23 AM

WASHINGTON -- U.S. payroll growth accelerated during November, while worker wages grew slightly less than expected, the government said in a report providing favorable signs for the economy and inflation.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 132,000 after growing a revised 79,000 in October and 203,000 in September, the Labor Department said Friday. The previous two months were initially reported as increases of 92,000 and 148,000 jobs, respectively. The unemployment rate in November rose 0.1 percentage point to 4.5% from 4.4% in October.

Average hourly earnings increased three cents, or 0.2%, to $16.94 from October's $16.91. Earnings were up 4.1% from a year earlier.

The payrolls number came in higher than the 110,000-job increase economists had expected, according to a survey by Dow Jones Newswires. Average hourly earnings were expected to rise by a slightly higher 0.3%, while the jobless rate came in as expected.

The Federal Reserve stopped raising the federal-funds rate over the summer and has held it at 5.25% as the economy slows down. Wall Street is speculating when policy makers might lower rates, sifting through all data to detect economic strength and inflationary pressures.

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