Monday, December 28, 2009

MarketWrap for 12/28/09 6th straight daily gain on strong retail sales....

U.S. retail sales rose an estimated 3.6 percent this holiday season as online gift-buying, last- minute spending and an extra shopping day spurred a recovery from last year, the worst in four decades.  Helping lift sentiment, MasterCard's  SpendingPulse unit said a late boost from procrastinating consumers and an extra day of shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas increased total retail sales, excluding automobiles and gas, by 3.6% over the year-earlier period through Christmas Eve. Macy's  climbed 1.1% , while Saks rose 1.3% and American Eagle Outfitters advanced 2.9%.   Also providing a boost, online retail giant Amazon.com  said over the weekend that sales on its peak holiday-shopping day topped 9.5 million items.  This news helped stocks rise for the 6th straight session, despite choppiness throughout the day.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 26.98 points, or 0.3%, to 10, 547.08, its highest close since Oct. 1, 2008.  The technology-heavy NASDAQ added 5.39 points, or 0.2%, to 2,291.08.  The Standard & Poor's 500 added 1.3 points, or 0.1%, to 1,127.78.  Volume was light across the board which is to be expected the last trading week on the decade. 

The market is back to levels not seen since the fall of 2008, around the time of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  Year-to-date the Dow is up just over 20%, the S&P 500 is up 25% and the NASDAQ is up 45%.  But all three major indexes are up even more substantially since hitting multi-year lows on March 9 amid the height of the financial crisis.

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