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Daily Market Commentary

The session provided several nice trading opportunities for day traders and investors through out the day. Overall, the major indices were definitely confused with a consistent battle between the Bulls and the Bears with neither, taking full control of the market session. At the end of the trading day, here is how the major indices ended the session: the DOW (Dow Jones Industrial Average) moved lower today by 48.23 points to end the session at 12738.41; the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) moved lower by 20.40 points to end at 9433.53; the NASDAQ moved higher by 5.38 points to close at 2518.42; the S&P 500 moved lower by 2.05 points to end at 1457.63 and the RUSSELL 2000 moved higher by 1.22 points to close at 827.33. The FTSE All-World Index ex-US (top Large/Mid Cap aggregate from over 2,700 stocks from the FTSE Global Equity Index Series (GEIS) which covers 90% of the worlds investable market capitalization) moved lower by 0.63 to close at 247.09 and the FTSE RAFI 1000 moved lower by 11.71 to end at 6134.49 for the day.

Federal Reserve Board Member Donald L. Kohn commented today: must guard against moral hazard in stemming crises; global interest rates 'low' by historical standards; current account imbalances 'unprecedented'; current financial market conditions 'very settled'; can't rule out future financial crises; financial markets priced for 'benign' outlook and financial markets have been resilient to geopolitics.

President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Janet L. Yellen commented today: concerned about upside inflation risks; policy well positioned for inflation to move down; supports bias in policy toward tightening; core inflation on high side, it has begun to 'ebb modestly'; January Core Consumer Price Index on 'high side' of expectations; economy soft landing 'most likely outcome'; signs of stabilization in housing market; housing drag on Gross Domestic Product may wane later this year; no spillover from housing to consumer spending; rising delinquencies only affect small part of market; CDS investors see mortgage losses likely fairly contained; price pressure from energy likely to dissipate; labor market strength poses risk to inflation; economy doing well outside of housing and autos; inflation target could help with price, job goals and top concern still housing slowdown, but it's easing.

President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, William Poole commented today: Fed ready to act if inflation doesn't tame; doesn't know result of inflation target discussion; turnover at Fed won't affect policy; no big discord among economists on Fed policies and commented that we should not read too much into January Consumer Price Index data.

Economic data released for the day:

MBA Purchase Applications: Compilation from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association of various mortgage loan indexes. This data is the leading indicator for single-family home sales as well as, housing construction. U.S. MBA Market Index fell by 5.2% to 606.6 from 639.8; U.S. MBA Purchase Index fell by 4.8% to 381.4 from 400.7 and U.S. MBA Refinancing Index fell by 5.4% to 1921.1 from 2031.7.

ICSC-UBS Store Sales: Weekly measure of comparable store sales at major retail chains which is related to the general merchandise portion of retail sales, as reported by the International Council of Shopping Centers. This date accounts for approximately 10% of total retail sales. ICSC-UBS Chain Store Sales were down by 0.1% for week of February 17th.

Consumer Price Index: The measure of the average price level of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers; monthly changes represent the rate of inflation. U.S. Real Average Weekly Earnings fell by 0.3% in January; U.S. January CPI Energy Prices fell by 1.5%; U.S. January CPI Food Prices rose by 0.7%; U.S. January CPI Unrounded increase by 0.174%; U.S. January CPI Core rose by 0.256%; U.S. January CPI Excluding Food & Energy rose by 0.3% as compared to consensus of an increase of 0.2% and U.S. January Consumer Prices rose by 0.2% as compared to consensus of an increase by 0.1%.

Redbook: General merchandise portion of retail sales covering only approximately 10% of total retail sales, this data is a weekly measure of sales at department stores, chain stores and discounters. U.S. Retail Sales fell by 1.2% for the first two weeks in February versus January.

Leading Indicators: Ten economic indicators are compiled by the Conference Board that should lead overall economic activity. In the past 30 years the data has been revised many times especially when it has not done a good job of predicting turning points in the economy. U.S. Conference Board reports as follows: January Leading Index rose by 0.1%; Coincident Index rose by 0.1% and Jan Lagging Index fell by 0.1%.

FOMC Minutes: Federal Open Market Committee releases minutes after most recent policy meeting describing decision for policy action. The FOMC minutes contained: discussed changing risk assessment language; all members agreed to maintain tightening bias; downside growth, upside inflation risks diminished; all members expressed concern over inflation; inflation improving, but downtrend not yet firm; further gradual inflation decline likeliest outcome; energy, import prices, rents should ease inflation; housing stabilizing, but still 'notable' econ risk; labor markets taut, significant wage gains in some jobs and many members see Gross Domestic Product potential above staff estimate.

On the commodities markets, the trend was higher across the board today for the Energy sector: Light crude moved higher by $1.22 to close at $60.07 a barrel; Heating Oil closed higher today by $0.04 to end at $1.68 a gallon; Natural Gas moved higher by $0.10 to end the day at $7.72 per million BTU and Unleaded Gas closed higher by $0.05 today to end the session at $1.77 a gallon.

Metals Market ended the session higher across the board today: Gold moved sharply higher in a major reversal from yesterday with a gain by $23.00 to close at $684.00 an ounce; Silver closed higher by $0.44 at $14.27 an ounce; Platinum moved nicely higher today by $14.10 to close at $1,233.20 an ounce and Copper ended the day higher by $0.06, same as yesterday, to close at $2.66 per pound.

On the Livestock and Meat Markets, the trend was higher across the board today: Lean Hogs closed higher by 0.13 to close at 66.98; Pork Bellies ended the day higher by 3.00 to close at 104.50; Live Cattle closed higher by 1.05 to end the day at 96.40 and Feeder Cattle ended the day higher by 0.40 to close at 100.03.

Other Commodities: Corn moved substantially higher today by 10.75 points to end at 439.00 and Soybeans moved nicely higher by 11.00 to close at 798.00.

The end of day results for the CBOT (Chicago Board of Trade) which is comprised of the total Exchange Volume for Futures and Options (EVFO) including Electronic, Open Auction and Cash Exchange ended the day at 2,875,412. Open Interest for Futures moved higher by 23,730 to close at 9,363,370 and the Open Interest for Options moved higher by 68,972 to close at 8,521,507 for a total Open Interest of 17,886,231 for a total gain on the day by 92,702.

Bonds were lower across the board today: 2 year bond closed lower by 1/32 at 100 2/32; 5 year bond closed lower by 2/32 at 100 9/32; 10 year bond closed lower by 15/32 at 99 15/32 and the 30 year bond closed lower by 6/32 at 99 11/32.

The mini Dow ended the session with a loss today of 38 to close at 12758. The total Dow Exchange Volume for the day came in at 97,075 which are comprised of Electronic, Open Auction and Cash Exchange. Traders should review workshops available at the CBOT (Chicago Board of Trade) Educational in-person seminars schedules available on CBOT (Chicago Board of Trade) website.

New York Stock Exchange movers for the day: Vulcan Materials Company (VMC) made a super spike rally today with a gain of 10.85 points to end at $121.99 for the day; Jack in the Box Incorporated (JBX) moved nicely higher by 6.45 points to close at $71.02; M & F Worldwide Corporation (MFW) fell by 10.87% to shed 4.53 points for a closing price of $37.15; Chemed Corporation (CHE) rallied by 19.10% to tack on a gain of 7.61 points for a close of $47.76 and Medco Health Solutions Incorporated (MHS) rallied higher by 6.21 points to close at $67.80 for the session.

On the NASDAQ today, advancers came in at 1,524; decliners totaled 1,489; unchanged came in at 175; new highs came in at 191 and new lows came in at 21. Gainers and losers for the day on the NASDAQ: Acorda Therapeutics Incorporated (ACOR) fell by 2.21 points to end the session at $22.61; Joy Global Incorporated (JOYG) moved higher by 3.85 points to close at $53.98; Apple Incorporated (AAPL) climbed higher by 3.25 points for a closing price of $89.15; NutriSystem Incorporated (NTRI) fell lower by 2.24 points to end the day at $46.69 and Google Incorporated (GOOG) gained 3.65 points to close at $475.75.

Thanks for reading.