Week on Wall Street

KAI RYSSDAL: It being a Friday afternoon, what say we check the week on Wall Street with David Johnson down in Dallas, Texas. How are you, David?

DAVID JOHNSON: I'm fine. I'm fine. Let's hurry along here. I don't know that I can spare all that much time. You know, we're in great demand nowadays.

KAI RYSSDAL: Busy, busy man that you are with this week that has gone by.

DAVID JOHNSON: Yeah, it's kind of funny how, you know, when the market goes up everybody returns your phone calls. Everybody loves you. You get fruitcakes that are just piled up to your eyeballs. So we got a new all-time high on the Dow Jones Industrials average. Good week. But so what are you going to do? What are you going to play today?

KAI RYSSDAL: Well, I think, let's see. You look around. Everything was up. I think it's the happy music, yeah.

DAVID JOHNSON: Well, OK. And far be it from me to argue since we do better in bull markets, but there were 210 more stocks down than up today.

KAI RYSSDAL: Is that right?

DAVID JOHNSON: Yup. There were more stocks down than up, so it is, you know, it's a coin toss but it also, it kind of reinforces what was going on just today because this is the third Friday of the month. It's the end of the quarter. It's virtually the end of the year. And it's not the clearance sale. It's quadruple — it's kind of like that — it's quadruple witching day when the options and indexes and futures and everything all expire at once. It doesn't really matter except that you trade a lot of volume and you never know where you're going to end up, so we end up mixed today.

KAI RYSSDAL: Yeah, I mean, just the industry's on this upside stuff. Was it worth anything? Should we make a note of that or not?

DAVID JOHNSON: It's all right. I mean, we've got a truly mixed market right now. The oil stocks sort of trended down a little bit because everybody knows OPEC cheats. Oil was up today, up 92 cents, but you know, those guys aren't going to be able to cut back all that much.

KAI RYSSDAL: No, no, no.

DAVID JOHNSON: And the housing market, we've seen the housing market get beat up. Now we're sort of beginning to see the fallout from that. We saw, you know, Centex and Lennar and D.R. Horton and . . .

KAI RYSSDAL: Home builders.

DAVID JOHNSON: . . . all those guys sell off, but did you see what happened this week? United Technologies was down this week, and did you see why?

KAI RYSSDAL: No, no.

DAVID JOHNSON: They own Carrier, the air conditioning people.

KAI RYSSDAL: Oh, sure.

DAVID JOHNSON: And then today, Black and Decker — unfortunately, Black and Decker is making a habit of this, you know, saying that our numbers are going to be bad — but Black and Decker was down $8.66 today at $78.26 and again they blame the housing market.

KAI RYSSDAL: Hmm. Are you worried at all about that consumer inflation number that came out today? Are we softening too fast? Yes, no, maybe? All of the above?

DAVID JOHNSON: No. It's just perfect. And that's what we've seen and this is why the market's done so well here recently and why it's just really confounding the shorts, the people who, you know, sell stocks hoping to go down because when you get numbers like this that are just benign, not really inflationary, no signs of recession, the shorts get squeezed.

KAI RYSSDAL: Yes. Indeed, you do. Listen, before I let you go, have a look at the calendar for me, would you? Where are we?

DAVID JOHNSON: Yeah, I see it over there.

KAI RYSSDAL: All right. Now, take a look. Count how many days until the end of the year.

DAVID JOHNSON: Oh, yeah. You know what's happening?

KAI RYSSDAL: Yeah.

DAVID JOHNSON: You're right. That's one of the cross currents, too. I forgot all about that. It's tax selling. Everybody's rushing around looking for some losses to offset some of the gains, trying to buy back at the last minute. That's going to go on for a little while, but I think we saw a lot of that this week.

KAI RYSSDAL: All right. Well, we shall see it next week, I suppose. David Johnson down in Dallas, Texas. Thank you, David.

DAVID JOHNSON: Yeah, just another day in paradise.

KAI RYSSDAL: Oh, yeah. Life's always good when you're David Johnson.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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