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  • Stocks stumbled from their record highs Thursday despite a handful of upbeat economic reports, although trading remained light in the final sessions of the year. AmEx fell, while Alcoa rose.

  • Treasury Building

    While some traders fear rising bond yields could crimp stocks' gains, some bond strategists do not expect interest rates to rise beyond the range of the past year.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    Although current law does not allow states to go bankrupt, some experts believe it should be permitted so the federal government can avoid bailing out states faced with massive budget shortfalls and the end of stimulus funds in 2011.

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    Though historically low interest rates have been at the core of much of the rally across asset classes in 2010, that doesn't mean expected moves higher for rates in the year ahead will stop investors from making money.

  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, rose above 17 on Thursday. James Strugger, derivatives strategist at MKM Partners, warned investors that the VIX is likely to climb further.

  • Blowout. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index was WAY ABOVE expectations. Virtually every component was above 60. New orders, production, employment, all strong. So why didn't the market rally?

  • Stocks traded slightly down from record highs despite a batch of positive economic reports, including a surprising jump in pending home sales and a burst in Midwest manufacturing activity. AmEx fell, while Intel rose.

  • The stock market’s modest rally this month is an indication of an equity market revival in 2011, said Brett D’arcy, CIO at CBIZ Wealth Management, and Tim Courtney, CIO of Burns Advisory Group.

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    New claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 29-month low this week, but the improvement is probably not as good as it seems. "I think the numbers are distorted," said Deutsche Bank economist Joseph LaVorgna.

  • Verizon shares are trading around their highest levels in more than two years, but don’t start taking profits yet! So said Christopher King, senior telecom services analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. He believes the rally will continue going into next year.

  • Six in 60

    Here's why you should keep a close eye on these six stocks.

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    It is what will lead the U.S. economy to a self-reinforcing virtuous cycle of increases in production, income, and spending, and it is what will enable risk assets to continue to outperform less risky assets. This condition will prevail for a while. The path to successful investing is to ride these trends and get off before they are discredited, says bond expert Tony Crescenzi.

  • Cheniere Energy is usually a thinly traded energy stock, but earlier this week it was near the top of OptionMonster's tracking systems. The call buying began early and continued throughout the session, focusing mostly at the March 8 strike. They fetched $0.20 in the morning but rose to $0.30 by the close. Volume surged past 11,400 contracts, more than 75 times open interest when trading began.

  • Stocks opened modestly lower Thursday, as Initial Jobless Claims totaled 388,000 for the week, well below the estimates of 416,000 and the lowest since July 2008. Chinese PMI came in weaker than expected.

  • U.S. stock index futures strengthened  but remained lower after the government reported a sharper than expected drop in jobless claims.

  • Groupon

    Groupon, the social buying site that spurned a $6 billion takeover bid from Google earlier this month, has attracted several big institutional investors as it works to potentially go public in 2011, people briefed on the matter told the New York Times.

  • lisbon portugal

    January in the northern hemisphere is usually the coldest month of the year and it might prove to be a bitter one for euro zone governments trying to raise money in the capital markets, reports the Financial Times.

  • NYSE Traders

    While traders fear rising bond yields could crimp stocks' gains in 2011, some bond strategists don't expect interest rates to rise beyond the range of the past year.

  • If you’re expecting this regulatory body to protect you, think again.

  • Cramer lists the forces that can drive stocks in this ever more complicated market.