Today legend Art Cashin said this was center stage for global markets.

On this day…
December 5 (King World News) – Art Cashin: On this day (+1), (which would be December 6th if you have a graduate degree), in about 705 A.D., the Nordic tribes of Europe, recently converted to Christianity, began to adopt a theologically un-definable affection to an Archbishop who had existed three centuries before in an area east of Greece. Legend says he was as wise as they come. And, certainly he was devout. 

But was that enough to make him a big hit? He did have the added benefits of being the designated patron saint of scholars (ain’t we all); merchants (a popular Nordic pastime); sailors (the other Viking pastime) and children. He had gained the latter role through the legend that he had saved three dowry- less young girls by dropping jewels into their home through an open window. 

So, over the next thousand years, these Nordic tribes would recall his love of children and his generosity by giving gifts to their children and the poor on St. Nick’s feast day – December 6th. When the Dutch came to America, they brought their gift-giving “Sinte Klaus” with them. America moved the day to Christmas and mispronounced his name to Santa Claus. 

Of course, by this time Nordic and American winters had made open windows rather impractical in December. So the chimney became the logical point of entry. And, since cold floors tended to make you reach for your stockings (hung to dry by the fire), they became the logical place to hide the jewels (gifts). 

To prepare for the feast of good old St. Nick go to the Rooftop Inn and sip enough well-laced eggnog to make your nose look like Rudolph’s. But don’t get out of line or they’ll put coal in your stocking. 

After three straight sessions of getting coal in their stockings, Wall Street bulls got nothing but gumdrops. Once again the market’s direction was all about the presumed status of the U.S./China trade talks. 

As we had noted in Wednesday morning’s Comments, the upside reversal was inspired by a 4:00 a.m. Bloomberg headline that the talks were closer to a deal than markets had assumed. 

The Bloomberg inspired optimism on trade talks got a further boost when President Trump, off-handedly, said the trade talks were going well. 

Adding further icing to that cake were reports that Jared Kushner would now be involved in the trade negotiations. Some of the financial media speculated that Kushner was coming in as a “closer” suggesting that the deal talks were down to critical specifics. 

All of that optimism allowed the Dow to spike higher on the opening and hold near the highs for the vast bulk of the trading session. 

The Nasdaq and S&P rallied back to Tuesday’s lows and seemed to find resistance at those levels. The Dow never made it all the way back to its Tuesday lows. 

The Dow faded a bit in the final hour, which was a bit puzzling because there were about $1.5 billion to buy on balance for the close. 

The bulls have more work to do to restore the chart uptrend that was broken by the multi-day selloff. 

Overnight And Overseas – New hopes on the trade talk help boost most of the Asian equity markets. Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai all closed moderately higher. India was fractionally lower. 

London shares are a shade lower. Paris and Frankfurt are moderately higher. 

Among other assets, Bitcoin continues to churn around the $7300 level. Gold is flat, while crude has moved modestly higher. The euro is a touch firmer against the dollar and yields are very slightly higher. 

Consensus – Trade remains center stage, clearly overshadowing economic data.

Another factor is that Thanksgiving may be disrupting short-term data like claims and mortgage apps.

Stick with the drill – stay wary, alert and very, very nimble.

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