Opening View: Market Poised for Flat Session as Street Looks to 2011


The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is poised for a quiet open this morning, as much of the Street seems to have taken off for the New Year's holiday. Futures are pointing to a flat start to the final session of 2010, with Dow futures currently trading 1.29 points above fair value, and futures on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) trading 0.17 point above fair value. In fact, despite a round of upbeat economic reports on Thursday, the major U.S. indexes ended the session slightly lower, as investors locked in their gains and looked ahead to 2011.

The Dow ended Thursday's session at 11,569.71, holding steady above short-term support at the 11,550 level. Despite Thursday's losses, the blue chip barometer is on track to finish 2010 with gains of roughly 11%. Meanwhile, the SPX ended yesterday's session at 1,257.88, and remains perched above support at the 1,250-1,255 level. The SPX is also set to finish the year higher, with gains of 12.5%.

In equities news, Clearwire Corporation ( CLWR ) Chairman Craig McCaw has resigned from his position with the communications company. Clearwater hasn't revealed why McCaw resigned, but has said that the resignation did not stem from any disagreements about policy or operation. Benjamin Wolff, the former co-chairman of CLWR, is rumored to be a candidate for the position.

Meanwhile, Time Warner Inc. ( TWX ) said late Thursday it is prepared to offer "all available Big Four network programming" if Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. ( SBGI ) blacks out its content to the cable company. TWX said its agreement with SBGI ends at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 31, "and Sinclair is threatening to take its stations off the air if Time Warner Cable does not agree to its demands for large fees." Roughly 4 million Time Warner customers receive local broadcast stations owned by Sinclair.

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Economic Calendar

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Market Statistics

(Editor's note: The original post of this article inadvertently included all option activity on the CBOE in this section , rather than equity-only activity.)

Equity option activity on the CBOE saw 828,555 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 431,750 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.52, while the 21-day moving average rose to 0.51.

Volatility indices

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

**The volume data shown above is from the Nasdaq and NYSE exchanges only. It does not include regional volume activity, which means that other daily volume quotes you see may be higher.**

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

Overseas Trading

Overseas trading is mixed this morning, as four of the 10 of the foreign indexes that we track are in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the collective stands at a loss of 0.24%. In Asia, three of the top five stock benchmarks -- including Japan's Nikkei -- finished 2010 with negative returns, while Southeast Asian markets -- such as Hong Kong's Hand Seng and South Korea's Kopsi -- ended the year with significant gains. Meanwhile, European markets are stumbling to the finish in today's holiday-shortened session. Generally speaking, though, European stocks had a good year in 2010, helped by strong demand from emerging markets and the U.S. economic recovery.

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

Crude futures have slipped beneath the psychologically significant $90 level this morning, as traders consider Thursday's report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which revealed that crude stockpiles aren't falling as quickly as anticipated. However, analysts are remaining optimistic, predicting oil demand to strengthen in 2011. At last check, crude futures had backpedaled 0.13% to $89.71 per barrel. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar is also trading lower this morning, extending Thursday's slide as strong economic data encouraged trade out of the dollar and into riskier, higher-yielding currencies. At present, the greenback has slumped 0.52% to sit at $79.11; meanwhile, gold futures have risen 0.54% to trade at $1,413.50 an ounce in London.

Currencies and commodities

Unusual Put and Call Activity:

For an explanation of how to use this information, check out our Education Center topics on Option Volume and Open Interest Configurations .

Unusual options activity - puts

Unusual options activity - calls

Every morning, our research staff analyzes the prior day and the overnight markets, and monitors the morning wires to give you an accurate preview of the day to come. If you enjoyed today's edition of Opening View, sign up here for free daily delivery, straight to your inbox, before the opening bell.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: CLWR , SBGI , TWX

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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