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“There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.” – William James

Morning stock market summary

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A move by UK finance minister Jeremy Hunt to reverse most of the provisions of his predecessor’s ‘mini-budget’ have global equities and bond prices rallying this morning after Friday’s disappointing negative reversal.  No major headlines out of China (good or bad) coming out of the country’s national party congress has also helped to contribute to the positive tone.  So far, there hasn’t been much in the way of earnings flow, but earnings from Bank of America (BAC) were better than expected and the stock is trading up a bit more than the broader market.  The only economic report of the day was Empire Manufacturing, and that report was weaker than expected coming in at -9.3 versus forecasts for a reading of -1.0.  Given the massive swings of the last several days, what do you think an average investor’s confidence level is that the gains hold throughout the day?

For all the fireworks of the last two trading days, neither bulls nor bears really have much to show for it.  On Wednesday, the S&P 500 closed at 3,577; by the week’s end, the S&P 500 was just six points higher at 3,583.  In between those six points, though, there were some historic swings in equity prices.  On Thursday, the S&P 500 gapped down over 2% but then quickly erased those losses before noon and kept rallying throughout the afternoon to finish up over 2.5%.  On Friday, it looked as though bulls were going to get some follow-through as the S&P 500 rallied more than 1% in early trading.  The positive momentum was fleeting, though, and within an hour of the highs, all the gains were erased, and by the end of the day, equities shed another 2.4% erasing nearly all of the prior day’s gains.  In the span of two days, the S&P 500 had two extremely rare reversals in completely opposite directions.

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