Stock Markets Whipsaw Ahead of Holiday

S&P 500 and its ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY) rally back to close green as volume slows for the holiday.

Major U.S. stock indexes and their ETFs lost ground most of the day but managed to finish positive as traders and major participants left town for an early and long holiday weekend.

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Consolidating recent gains, stock and ETF investors digested Fed Chairman Bernanke’s comments regarding the fiscal cliff and economy.  Overall, he warned lawmakers to resolve the “cliff” and reminded everyone that the Fed would not be able to counteract the negative effects of the “cliff.”

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) took a huge hit, down 11.95% on poor earnings and apparent accounting irregularities.

Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY) also disappointed and was pounded for a 13% loss after reporting a Q3 loss ahead of the all important holiday shopping season.

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News from Europe also added a new level of concern as Moody’s downgraded France and conflict continued in the Middle East.

In the housing industry reports, housing starts rose while building permits fell.

Major U.S. Index ETFs:

Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) -0.06%

S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) +0.07%

Nasdaq 100 (NYSEARCA:QQQ) -0.05%

Russell 2000 (NYSEARCA:IWM) +0.10%

Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) -0.29%

Oil (NYSEARCA:USO) -2.2%

Bottom line:  Stocks and ETFs were whipsawed by the seemingly never ending fiscal cliff, along with poor earnings reports from HP and Best Buy and ongoing worries over France.  Volatility will continue on light volume until market participants, and more importantly, Congress return from the Holiday weekend.

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John Nyaradi is the author of The ETF Investing Premium Newsletter.