We Have A Trading Range, For Now

Drifting lower on light volume: is this what the first quarter of 2009 will look like? Stocks moved lower today, with declines accelerating midday, but a rebound in the last half hour limited the losses.

GM was down 21 percent on concern the equity may be worthless.

Many retailers were down 4 to 7 percent as the lousy weather added to the poor sales concerns. Commodity stocks were weaker on concerns about slower global demand; midday Moody's said it was placing Alcoa's debt rating under review for a possible downgrade. Insurance stocks like MetLife saw declines of greater than 10 percent; Friedman Billings cut its rating on Prudential in light of the recent (modest) rally.

Other financials like Goldman , Wells Fargo and KeyCorp were down 6 to 7 percent.

Bottom line: for the moment, we are in a trading range. The S&P 500 has spent 75 percent of its time between 825 and 900 for the past three months.

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