Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Slow Week

Said a stock market man named O'Toole:
"Never trade in the week after Yule;
For liquidity's thin
When the traders aren't in,
Which, for now, is the general rule."

Discussion of stock market trading in the week between Christmas and New Year's invariably touches on the low market volume. For example, Tuesday's New York Stock Exchange volume, at two billion shares, was half the normal daily figure of 4.3 billion shares traded. This is caused not only by the fact that half of the market participants are on vacation, but also by the fact that most of them will have already "cleaned up" their balance sheets for year-end financial and regulatory reporting, and are loath to untidy them again. Interest rates for short-term funding over year-end can be volatile and expensive as well, another encouragement simply to take the week off.

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