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What's Up With the Volume? 

What's up with the volume? The NYSE Consolidated Tape volume (all trading in all NYSE stocks on all exchanges), was 4.1 billion shares yesterday, pretty anemic considering that we averaged over 5 billion shares a day in 2009.

At 2:30 PM ET today, volume was just over 3 billion shares, so we'll do better than yesterday, but just barely.

What's going on?

1) Many traders are still not back, which limits trading levels.

2) There's also a general lack of conviction about the direction of short-term trading. Traders note that those who got long at the end of Q4 and are just sticking with it...that we never saw real profit taking...so most are long and staying long.

What will get volume and volatility moving? Look for earnings, which begin in the next couple weeks, to be the first catalysts for 2010.

Outside that, the momentum traders will definitely get more activity if we get a decisive breakout to new highs...or stocks drop at least 3 or 4 percent.

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