Today the markets came out of the starting gate with a roar, as the Dow reached a gain of 46 to 19,980…brushing up against the magic, juicy round number of 20,000. From there, the DOW slipped back to close up 11 at 19,945. The S&P 500 added 5 points today and the NASDAQ was higher by 24 and today’s big hero. The NASDAQ touched an intraday record level of 5500 and was led by strong gains in AMZN and another new high in NVDA.

The upside was being helped by the release of the December Consumer Confidence number which reached its highest level since 2001. It was upwardly revised for November as well. This is consistent with the pattern of most economic reports showing a background in overall conditions getting better. This can be helpful to stocks over the near to medium-term.

Bond yields were a little higher with the 10-year Treasury Note at 2.57%. The dollar was a little stronger as a result. Gold was hanging around at current support levels of $1,138 an ounce. Crude oil was higher once again as there is optimism in this market that OPEC is going to adhere to its production quotas for a change. The VIX was strangely higher today and finished at 11.97, up 4%. This is ultimately friendly because the indices are higher and the VIX is moving further away from its ultimate downside support level of 10. This theoretically gives stocks more room to move higher.

Earnings for the third-quarter of the year were higher by almost 3%, which finally broke the five straight quarters of negative profits and is one of the reasons for the recent upside move. Profits for the fourth-quarter are estimated to be higher by as much as 4% and the big turnaround could come in the energy sector, which was decimated in its earnings in the fourth-quarter of 2015. For next year the earnings projections for the S&P 500 are projected to be up by as much as 11% according to current estimates.

Donald M. Selkin

These are excerpts from Don Selkin’s Daily Market Notes, updated and abbreviated with permission from the author. Don Selkin is the Chief Market Strategist at Newbridge Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC and provides the Fair Value analysis for CNBC each morning.  The commentary provided in this Market Letter is intended to provide our customers with timely market analysis and should not be considered a research report.  This Market Letter may contain, and is limited to: Discussions of broad based indices; Commentaries on economic, political or market conditions; Technical analyses concerning the demand and supply for a sector, index or industry based in trading volume and price; Statistical summaries of multiple companies’ financial data, including listings of current ratings; and, Recommendations regarding increasing or decreasing holdings in particular industries or securities.  This Market Letter does not make a financial or investment recommendation or otherwise promotes a product or service of the firm.   This Market Letter contains only news, facts, and commentary on information previously reported from a news source believed to be accurate and reliable by the author.  These news sources include the following:  {Bloomberg Financial, Reuters, Associated Press}. It is possible that at any