Quiet Market Overshadowed by Horrific Tragedy

US markets finished in negative territory during a quiet session Friday to cap off a three-day slide for stocks. The Nasdaq again showed relative weakness due to heaviness in its biggest component Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) The mid-week Fed announcement of additional QE only boosted stocks for a matter of minutes before selling pressure entered the fray. It was all downhill from there, but nothing to cause any major alarm for macro investors.

Overall the market remains stuck in the mud thanks to the fiscal cliff talks that seem to be going nowhere fast. It will likely take the urgency of a last-minute negotiating session to hammer out a compromise, while polls show the public sides with President Obama on ways to close the budget gap.

The S&P fell down its its 50- and 100-day moving averages today, which provided some initial support. With such a quiet tape today its hard to read much into how the index behaved at those levels, but next week’s price action could get interesting. Will investors start to panic a bit more as the fiscal cliff deadline approaches? So far there hasn’t been a large effect on the market, but we’ll see.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) did not handle this much smaller IPO lock-up as well as its previous, larger one, finishing the day down just over 5%. The stock broke lower out of an upper level flag, and it will be interesting to see what the break leads to.

Traders will be looking to pare down risk as we get closer to Christmas and New Years, which are typically slow times in the market. Do not force trades in this slow tape, maintain a narrow focus.

Today’s action in the market is a mere footnote, however, to what was a tragic day in this country and world. The tragic shooting in Newtown, CT appears to have claimed dozens of lives, most of them kindergarten aged elementary school students. It’s such a horrific tragedy that it’s hard to find words to describe it, but our thoughts and prayers go out to the individuals and families affected.

John Darsie and Marc Sperling

Disclosure: Marc Sperling is long FAS, MS, GS, SLB, AIG calls, PANW calls, PANW, GOOG, GNRC, RLGY, GRPN, FB, ZNGA, ZNGA calls, ANTH, DELL calls, AMD, FB calls, DNDN calls, GS calls, MLNX calls, C calls, AAPL calls, CMG calls, CMG, SHOS.

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