Today, the three major stock indices finished higher: the DOW added 37 points, the NASDAQ gained 10, and the S&P was up 1/2 a point. The DOW was led by strong gains in three components: BA, IBM and AAPL. These three accounted for a big part of the positive rise, while other stocks were being pulled down by falling crude oil prices. The price of crude oil dropped to $52.28 a barrel today. Gold prices continued to edge higher on the potential anxieties about the political situation. The precious metal closed at $1,234 an ounce.

Bond yields moved downward again. The 10-year Treasury note yield is 2.38%. This trend should take the Fed out of the picture for the March meeting. However, fourth-quarter G.D.P. might get a little upward boost from the decline in the December trade deficit. The deficit was down to $44.3 billion, lower from $45.7 billion in November. For the entire year, it was $502.2 billion which was the widest since 2012. The reason for the narrowing in December was that the dollar began weakening thereby making our exports cheaper.

Today was the 80th straight day that the S&P has gone without a decline of 1% or more. This is the longest such run since 2006. This streak remains well short of the 180 day record for this lack of volatility that occurred back in the 1960’s.

With more than half of the S&P companies having reported, the estimates for profit growth keep rising. They are now up to 8%; the largest advance in nine quarters. The remaining earnings lineup for the week: Tonight – AKAM, ADM, BWLD, GILD, MOS, ORLY, OMC, PNRA, REGN plus DOW component DIS; Wednesday – AGN, GT, HSIC, JEC, MYL, TWX, WFM; Thursday – AAP, BZH, CLF, CMI, CVS, JCOM, K, RAI, TWTR, VIAB, YRLP, YUM and high-flying NVDA.

Donald M. Selkin

These are excerpts from Don Selkin’s Daily Market Notes, abbreviated and updated 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 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, and the Associated Press.