Can Markets Catch a Rising Tide Amid Choppy Waters?

U.S. stocks and ETFs finished in the green in Friday after a rough week and now look to a holiday shortened week ahead.

After a volatile week on the edge of the fiscal cliff, U.S. stocks and index ETFs posted modest gains on Friday as the first session of discussions over a solution for the cliff between leaders of Congress and the President were termed as “constructive.”

Nobody expects them to take the U.S. economy over the cliff, however, it’s quite possible that even with a solution, the ultimate outcome won’t be positive for U.S. markets and the economy as a whole.  One way or other,  taxes appear to be going up and that likely won’t be positive for U.S. earnings and markets.

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Everyone seems eager to get a deal by Christmas and apparently new revenues will be on the table according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Boehner.

In other news, October Industrial Production came in at -0.4% today, a wide miss from +0.2% forecast and last month’s reading of +0.2%.

Europe officially slipped into recession and major European indexes and ETFs were broadly lower for the day and week.

 Major U.S. Index ETFs:

Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEARCA:DIA) +0.37%

S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY) +0.48%

Nasdaq 100 ETF (NYSEARCA:QQQ) +0.39%

Russell 2000 (NYSEARCA:IWM) +0.89%

Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) -0.13%

Oil (NYSEARCA:USO) +1.39%

Notice oil’s sharp rise as tensions escalate in the Middle East, Palestinian rockets fall around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and Israel prepares for possible ground attack.

For the week, major index ETFs were lower as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) dropped -1.8%, the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) fell 1.5%, the Nasdaq (NYSEARCA:QQQ) slif 1.8% and the Russell 2000 (NYSEARCA:IWM) shed 2.4%.

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This was the second straight weekly decline for the s&P 500, (NYSEARCA:SPY) the fourth straight weekly decline for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, (NYSEARCA:DIA) and the sixth straight weekly decline for the Nasdaq Composite (NYSEARCA:QQQ)

Bottom line: Friday provided some relief for battered markets as politicians seem to be getting together for a settlement of the fiscal cliff.  Nevertheless, significant other headwinds including recession in Europe, possible war in Gaza, and slowing global growth remain unsolved.

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