All major U.S. markets sagged in the final week of 2016, rebounded the first couple of days of the New Year, and now hover just below recent highs.  The Dow chart looks the best, and appears to have a good fighting chance to crack once again to new highs.  The overall sentiment has slipped from the “extreme greed” range, but remains very positive.  The first quarter of a post-election year is often flat, followed by a better-than-usual spring and summer.  A new Trump administration brings both opportunity and uncertainty, depending on the sector.  Healthcare, for example, could be in for some major changes, but, at the same time was the worst performing sector in 2016 and seems to be trending up lately.


Financials and Energy sectors continue to lead the way, but most major sectors are fairly flat.    Options traders will look to take advantage of various cash flow strategies, and neutral strategies if the coming months happen to lack a strong trend.  For the best and most comprehensive options training, go here:

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has come off of its recent high near 15, and has settled down around 12 as the New Year has brightened somewhat.  Volume is also picking up now that the holidays are behind us, and traders/institutions are getting more active looking to position their portfolios for the new year.  The increased activity could also lead to bigger swings in the months ahead as we approach a new earnings season.   Did you know that you can trade options on volatility?  To learn more, click here:


OVERSEAS:  Asian markets were mostly bullish in overnight action, especially in China.  The Nikkei, however, took a small breather as the Yen strengthened somewhat against the dollar.  European markets were very flat to slightly bearish as inflation in the Euro Zone reached its highest levels since September of 2013.

OIL:  Fluctuations in oil prices continue as both production plans and demand for oil also bounces around.  Currently crude pricing has settled near 53, but additional movement could occur depending on the outcome of the inventory report due out later today.  Want some expert advice?  To hear what Courtney Smith has to say about oil and other opportunities, click here:

JOBS:  Ahead of the ADP Employment Report, forecasters called for 172K new payroll additions for the month of December, but the actual figure came in at a disappointing 153K, much lower than the 215K added in November.  The Challenger job report showed 33K job cuts, slightly higher than the 29K in November, but still at relatively low levels.  New Jobless Claims came in at 235K compared to an expectation of 260K new claims.

BIOTECH INSIDER: As we noted with Eli Lilly (LLY), when it comes to gap downs in biotech and pharmaceutical names, never ignore it.  When shares of Bristol Myers (BMY) collapsed from $76 to $49 following a disastrous cancer study, excessive fear forced traders out.  But smart investors took full advantage and bought, as we did.  One, this is BMY.  It’s not going out of business on the study.  It has a healthy pipeline of drugs after 129 years in business.  Two, after its cancer drug trials failed in Phase III, the company is confident of its potential combination therapy with its other immuo-oncology drug, Yerory for those with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).  Trading the undervalued opportunity in BMY netted a quick gain of 35% for Biotech students. To learn more about our Biotech Options program, click here:

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