2009 finally ends tonight and what a year it has been.  The market sunk to a low of 666 before being exorcised by a low quality rally and a bottle of jesus juice, the US goverment bailed out the financial system and printed enough money to make Bill Gates seem like a pauper, unemployment spiked to multi-year highs bringing back Great Depression slogans such as “Brother can you spare a dime?” and “What can we get for $10?” (the answer of course being “everything you want.”), and Hannah Hilton announced her retirement sending Money McBags into a deep and prolonged depression of his own.  It was a momentous year but that is in the past and as the year 2010 begins, we all need to refocus on the markets and follow the data closely because things aint so cheap out there anymore so mistakes can be made (though probably not as big as this mistake or this one).

In market news today, weekly unemployment claims came in lower than expected as companies build back inventory and try not to Scrooge people during the Christmas holiday.  The 432k initial jobless claims were the lowest in a year and a half so there is some optimism.  Of course, those filing for extended unemployment benefits rose by 200k to just under 5MM.  That’s right, 5MM people have been out of the work force or longer than their 6 months of unemployment checks, but there is nothing to see here.  In actuality, we appear to be at an inflection point where the economy has bottomed and is stabilizing so there is hope for growth, of course, they said that in Japan in 1991 as well.

In stock news, not much is happening today.  Financials are up a bit (and as always, remember they are raking in the dough right now with free money from the FED and people and businesses who need that money willing to pay a lot more for it than free), RICK is rising again as the weak dollar makes those $20 lap dances oh so much cheaper for the international crowd, and NLS may be providing us with a good entry point should we believe the analysis of whengeniusprevailed random message board posters (as always, buyer beware).

So a Happy New Year to all of you from Money McBags who will leave you with this one thought for 2010.

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