Market Insider: Friday Look Ahead

Friday's markets could be subdued after Wednesday's pre-Thanksgiving rally.

Stocks Wednesday rose, with the Dow gaining 247 points or 2.9 percent to 8726. The S&P 500 jumped 30, or 3.5 percent to 887, and the Nasdaq was up 67 points or 4.6 percent at 1532. The gains give the Dow its best four day performance since 1932.

Traders said the multiple days of stock market gains, the longest winning streak since April, was a sign of encouragement. They expect Friday to be a light volume day ahead of the early 1 p.m. close.

For the month of November, the Dow is down 6.4 percent so far, its third straight monthly decline. Its 24 percent three month decline is the worst since 1987 when it fell 31 percent. The Nasdaq is down nearly 11 percent for the month, as of Wednesday, and the S&P 500 was down 8.4 percent.

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Energy stocks were the best performers Wednesday, rising 5.7 percent. The financial sector rose 4.8 percent, giving it a 28 percent gain for the week so far.

Douglas Cliggott, chief investment officer of Dover Management, is one who is not ready to call a bottom for the financial sector. He said he expects to see the government impose a lot of restrictions on the financial companies it has invested billions of dollars in. He said the perimeters of that oversight have not yet been defined.

Cliggott, in an interview after his appearance on "Squawk Box" Wednesday, also said the financials have yet to take their hits from the economic downturn, and he also expects to see a decline in profitability at the firms.

As far as stocks in general, he said he is investing defensively in consumer staples and health care and is taking smaller positions than he has in the past.

"My best guess is we finish the year around where we are now. I don't think the lows are in," he said. "I think the market is very comfortable with the idea that the data flow is going to get worse." He also expects earnings and economic data to look awful in the first half of 2009. "I think the market will trade lower on that."

He said the big question is what the fiscal stimulus package looks like, as it could be a major factor for the economy and stocks.


Black Friday

Friday is the official start of the holiday shopping season, which so far is expected to be a dud. An early read on the activity should be available by Monday. Consumers have been on a spending strike since September so economists are anxious to see how holiday spending will shape up. Wednesday's consumer spending data for October showed a decline of one percent, the lowest level in seven years.

Oil prices rose Wednesday ahead of OPEC's meeting in Cairo this Saturday. Some traders also said crude was under pressure because of coordinated attacks by gunmen in business district and at hotels in Mumbai, India.

Oil rose $3.67 per barrel, or 7.2 percent to $54.44.

"I think the main plan of this meeting is they are going to earnestly seek non OPEC cooperation," said John Kilduff, senior vice president of M.F. Global. But he does not expect OPEC to cut production until mid December.

"There seems to be some follow through on this first round of cuts by most of the members so I think that's helped crude find something of a bottom around that $46 dollar area. I think we'll see several dips below $50 before we can say the bottom is in for crude," he said.

The dollar rose 1.24 against the euro Wednesday and 0.14 percent against the yen .

As the credit markets adjust to the latest moves by the Fed and Treasury, there's been some interesting activity in the Treasury market. On Wednesday, the 10-year Treasury continued to attract lots of buying interest. As it rose, its yield fell to finish at 3.002 percent, the lowest on record. But earlier in the day, the 10-year's yield fell below 3 percent for the first time ever.

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