Quietly Choppy

Friends

Trading was quiet today, as the market averages spent time in both the black and the red throughout the session, but never very far from the breakeven point. The weekly jobless claims number was slightly better than expected coming in at 311,000 for the week. Very gradually that number has been getting better over the past couple of years. Maybe we’ll break the 300,000 level soon.

Regardless, by the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 4 points to finish the day at 16,264. The S&P 500 was down 3 to close at 1849. Gold was down $10 to trade at $1293 per ounce, while oil was up $1.06 to trade at $101.32 per barrel WTI.

With two more trading sessions left in the first quarter, the Dow is in negative territory and the S&P is in danger of closing down for the quarter. We’ll get a consumer sentiment reading tomorrow, but market participants are certainly tentative at the moment, as the froth has been coming out of the high flying growth names and the tech IPO’s are beginning to be more scrutinized. With the likelihood that the Fed will no longer be a tailwind forever, the need for good corporate earnings is becoming more pressing. The upcoming earnings season should be interesting. No clear winner of the bull/bear debate seems evident as we near the end of the first quarter, but as we have pointed out, the atmosphere is definitely different than last year. Let’s see how the week ends tomorrow.

Have a nice evening everyone.

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