Equity indexes following events in Egypt

Good day! In yesterday's column we looked at weakness in afterhours and premarket trade. This became the most extended in the Nasdaq futures, which were heavily influenced afterhours due to earnings. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Ind. Average futures, on the other hand, based in premarket trade, leaving a continued bias for weakness into the opening bell on Thursday, which played out early in the day.

The 8:30 a.m. ET employment data had little impact on the day's direction. The government's Labor Department reported that first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell to 383,000 last week. This is the lowest number in 2 1/2 years.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

At 10:00 a.m. ET the latest wholesale inventories numbers were released. Wholesale inventories in December rose 1% to their highest level in nearly two years thanks to slower-than-expected sales. The market jumped soon after this release. The Nasdaq led thanks to a breakout from a premarket PhoenixTM on the 15 minute time frame. As soon as the gap closed, however, the indices stalled. The upside did continue on a subsequent breakout around 11:15 a.m. ET. This took the Nasdaq back to Wednesday's highs, but the market struggled to push past this resistance zone throughout the remainder of the session.

Although earnings had a strong impact on afterhours and premarket trade, it was news from abroad that played a major role in the intraday swings felt by the market in Thursday's session. This was particularly the case late in the session with whiplash action in the final 15 minutes of trade. Egypt's President Mubarak announced that he would be stepping down. He noted that, while he will not run for another term as president, he will remain in office until September and would be delegating his powers to the country's vice president.

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