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George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

The stock market rally extended to seven sessions in a row yesterday with the Dow industrials gaining 47 points on a quiet Columbus Day. So, as investors prepared for the start of trading today there was a sense the streak was finally in jeopardy. Maybe it was wishful thinking by all the permabears out there at MarketWatch.com, owned by the Wall Street Journal, or simply sour grapes because they missed the recent rally. But, a drop of about 80 points in the Dow at the get-go today lasted about half an hour before the index returned to positive territory. One of the wisest expressions on Wall Street is "don't fight the tape." Right now the momentum is upward. True, that could change quickly but it makes little sense to try to anticipate a change in direction.


Investors are waiting for quarterly earnings reports from U.S. companies starting in earnest this week. Expectations are the numbers will be disappointing, but most companies have adjusted their forecasts to reflect the impact of the situation in China and elsewhere.


Tomorrow will bring a couple of key economic reports including retail sales for September. The closer we get to the holidays the more important it is to see a positive trend in consumer spending. Remember, a big chunk of retail sales go to gasoline and as prices at the pump continue to move lower the more likely it will make it look like there has been a drop in spending.

By the way, a study by the JP Morgan Chase Institute finds most people are using their savings to make other purchases. For every buck saved at the pump, 80 cents is spent on other items. So much for the widely held opinion that households were putting the extra money in savings or using it to pay bills.

Speaking of spending, a new report from the International Council of Shopping Centers finds 90 percent of Americans are planning holiday purchases this year, up from 82 percent in 2014. The average will be $702 this season, up from $677 last year. It comes as no surprise the report from the council for shopping centers finds 95 percent of shoppers plan to make a purchase at a physical store this year. The main reasons for opting to do their buying at a store rather than online is the ability to physically see, touch or try on the merchandise. They also find it easier to return or exchange items at a store.

Pretty nasty loss for the Chargers last night. It came down to which team would whine the most about their injured players. Of course, it is hard to find a bigger group of whiners than the Chargers -- Philip Rivers -- so they had plenty of excuses for why they lost when the Steelers scored the winning touchdown on the last play of the game. Now the Bolts get to head to Green Bay next Sunday to play the Packers, who have yet to lose this year.

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