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The Geithner Affect On Markets

Another day, another final-hour swing. At 2:55pm, the Dow was once again drifting into negative territory. But unlike much of this week, when the markets sold off and ended at the lows of the day, a NBC News report revealing President-Elect Barack Obama’s nominee for Treasury Secretary propelled a strong late-day rally.

In just the final hour of trading, the Dow surged nearly 550 points to end the day at session highs after NBC News reported New York Fed President Tim Geithner would become the next Treasury Secretary.

While the choice of Geithner was not a complete surprise, Wall Street applauded the choice, hoping that Mr. Geithner’s extensive involvement during the financial crisis will help him restore confidence in the markets. After all, he knows and understands the problems at hand. Regarded as a young, but savvy, good thinker, Wall Street believes his wealth of experience at the Fed and thorough understanding of the markets will help provide strong leadership at the Treasury.

Despite the broad strength in the markets today, big banks like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup all failed turn positive at the end of the day. Citigroup still closed below $4, posting a 60% decline this week.

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
SC0Y
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WFC
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Leading the way today were two of yesterday’s laggards: materials and energy stocks, which nearly erased all yesterday’s losses. Particularly strong throughout the day were gold stocks, including AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, and Barrick Gold, each of which closed up 30% on the day. Gold stocks strengthened earlier on the heels of gold prices crossing $800 for the first time in a month.

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
YNP
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ANG
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15255
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While earnings and trading activity will likely be a little lighter next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, some important economic data will be released. The data include the preliminary Q3 GDP number, as well as another likely set of dismal New Home Sales and Personal Spending statistics. For the week: Dow -5.3%, S&P -8.4%, Nasdaq -8.7%.

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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