Equities Update: A Drop Today, But 6-Year Best Finish

by: Midnight Trader

4:16 PM, Dec 31, 2009 --

  • NYSE down 56 (0.8%) to 7,184.92.
  • DJIA down 120 (1.1%) to 10,428.
  • S&P 500 down 11 (1%) to 1,115.
  • Nasdaq down 22.1 (1%) to 2,269.


  • Hang Seng up 1.75%
  • Nikkei Closed
  • FTSE up 0.28%


(+) QUIX adds to sharp evening gain that followed buyout news.

(+) IDN gains as CEO comments on products for airport security.

(+) ICXT another of the stocks boosted by expected airport security demand. OSIS, LLL also continue to gain in related move.


(-) YRCW exchanges 88% of company's outstanding notes.

(-) AMT reportedly mulls expansion into India.

(-) APWR inks conversion agreements with noteholders.


Stocks decline around 1% in the year's final session, giving a small haircut to an otherwise stellar rebound for 2009.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finishes up some 19%, its biggest percentage gain since 2003. The DJIA is up 60% from the March lows. American Express (NYSE:AXP) is up 22% for the year, to lead the blue-chip Dow. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) will end down 14% for 2009, the Dow's biggest decliner.

The Nasdaq is up 43%, this year, its largest percentage gain since 2003 and its second biggest gain in history. The S&P 500 is up 24%, for the biggest gain since 2003.

Stocks were choppy throughout Thursday's session. A report showing a bigger-than-expected drop in weekly jobless claims, to the lowest point in 18 months, cheered Wall Street bulls, but also served as a reminder that higher interest rates are likely to follow increasing evidence of economic recovery.

The government reported the number of people filing initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 432,000 in the week ended Dec. 26, the lowest level since summer 2008, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It was a deeper drop than Wall Street expected.

The four-week average of initial claims dropped 5,500 to 460,250, the lowest since September 2008. The number of continuing claims, which reflects people who have been collecting state benefits for an extended period, decreased 57,000 to 4.98 million in the week ended Dec. 19.

Crude oil futures ended slightly higher, capping what's been their best yearly performance in a decade. The February contract closed up 0.1% at $79.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after hitting $80.05 earlier in the session. Futures end the year up 78%.

In otherwise thin trade, companies with a potential stake in heightened airport security are posting strong upside moves.

Among them, Intelli-Check (NYSEMKT:IDN) is up after the CEO highlighted the company's products used in airports in an interview on theStreet.com. The CEO pointed out that the military already uses it to protect Andrews Air Force Base, home of Air Force One, and West Point.

With regard to airports, he said people already have to present an ID along with their boarding passes to embark. "Do something useful, actually scan the ID and check if you're on a bad guy list, and we can do a much better job," he said.

ICx Technologies (ICXT), a developer of sensor technologies for homeland security, is recording gains along with other screening technology firms in the wake of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an airplane in Detroit. OSI Systems (NASDAQ:OSIS) and L-3 (NYSE:LLL) are posting related gains.