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December 25, 2022 | Santa Rally Crawls Toward the New Year

Rick Ackerman

Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, an online service geared to traders of stocks, options, index futures and commodities. His detailed trading strategies have appeared since the early 1990s in Black Box Forecasts, a newsletter he founded that originally was geared to professional option traders. Barron’s once labeled him an “intrepid trader” in a headline that alluded to his key role in solving a notorious pill-tampering case. He received a $200,000 reward when a conviction resulted, and the story was retold on TV’s FBI: The Untold Story. His professional background includes 12 years as a market maker in the pits of the Pacific Coast Exchange, three as an investigator with renowned San Francisco private eye Hal Lipset, seven as a reporter and newspaper editor, three as a columnist for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner, and two decades as a contributor to publications ranging from Barron’s to The Antiquarian Bookman to Fleet Street Letter and Utne Reader.

In an economy that over decades has grown increasingly dependent on revved-up holiday sales, investors have responded by praying more fervently each year for a Santa rally. It’s an odd metaphor, however, considering that Wall Street even at its seasonal cheeriest has a heart as cold and dark as volcanic glass. The Santa of investors’ imaginations is assuredly not the fat, jolly one originally drawn by a Dutch artist Haddon Sundblom for the Coca-Cola company, but rather someone more like Fed Chairman Jerome Powell gone silly in a headdress of fluffy white dove feathers.

Unfortunately, Powell has not left much room for silliness in this holiday season. Gone are the days when Neiman Marcus could get a rise by featuring his-and-hers Bentleys in their Christmas catalog. The typical American household is thinking about more practical presents in these recessionary times: PG&E gift certificates…bread machines and pasta makers…survivalist seed packets…battery chargers.

More Turbulence

The result for investors has been a balky stock-market shaped more by Scrooge than Santa. Even with bullish seasonality at maximum force last week, the Dow Industrials could muster only a 300-point gain. They closed on Friday at 33,203, down a thousand points since Thanksgiving. More turbulence seems likely in the final days of 2022. Perhaps the best we can hope for when the markets lurch into gear on January 3 is that stocks continue to drift through a circa 1914 minefield without triggering a nuclear war or the debt deflation we all know is coming. [What do the charts say? Click here for my latest interview with Howe Street’s Jim Goddard. RA]

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December 25th, 2022

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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