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Monday, December 27, 2010

Trading In A Winter Wonderland. Sorta. More Or Less.

Stock performance on Wall Street was mixed today (the Dow was down 18.46, the NASDAQ was up 1.67, the S&P 500 up 0.77, and the 10 Year Treasury Yield Index down 0.42), with blame being placed squarely on God and China.
God gets the blame because of a series of blizzards that have brought the Fimbulvetr[1] to the eastern coast of Canada and the United States. It's cancelled over 2000 flights, disrupted road and rail traffic, left tens of thousands of homes across the eastern seaboard without power, and - worst of all - threw a monkey wrench in the post-Christmas holiday sales. Yes, that's right. This massive blizzard could "push December 26 out of the running for one of the top 10 shopping days of the year." Sure puts that whole blizzard in perspective, doesn't it?
And China[2]? Well, they get the blame because - in what is obviously a Communist plot[3] - went and raised their benchmark lending rate and their benchmark deposit rate by 25 basis points each. Never mind that the Chinese central bank has been concerned about inflation, and so is taking steps to reign it in and keep their economy healthy. No, this was obviously a Communist plot deliberately timed to strike our economy at the same time as the blizzard[4].
Of course, things happened throughout the world without regard to the blizzard. Let's see what else is going on.
H&R Block was down 7% today on news that, thanks to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, they will not be allowed to offer tax refund anticipation loans. (Well, specifically, HSSBC can't offer them, and H&R Block uses HSBC.)
18 alleged militants were killed by missiles fired by US drones at the Mir Ali village in Pakistan. The people of Pakistan are not particularly amused.
Anyone remember AIG? Practically the poster child for the 2008 financial collapse? Something like 30 banks have banded together under the administration of JPMorgan Chase & Co to loan them $4.3 billion. That's "billion". With a "b". Assuming they can pay off their Federal Reserve Bank of New York credit line ($20 billion) by March 31.
Also, according to the European Union Times, it appears that WikiLeaks is set to reveal that the United States has been in a covert war against Antarctican UFOs since 2004.
[1] "Hard is it on earth, with mighty whoredom;
"Axe-time, sword-time, shields are sundered,
"Wind-time, wolf-time, ere the world falls,
"Nor ever shall men each other spare" sure seems to describe the current state of the economy.
[2] Still not wanting to replace the United States as the single dominant economic and military superpower in the world.
[3] Obviously.

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