Markets were relatively calm for the first time this week as the benchmarks ended the session little changed. Headed into Friday the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 are higher by 2.9%. Seasonally after this week the indexes tend to rise into year end, so perhaps the rush to chase performance by countless underperforming fund managers will continue. And of course next week is a holiday shortened week which historically tend to be positive ones. The recent merger excitement seems never ending and today it was NSC which gained almost 5% after it was confirmed that CP has an interest in acquiring the name. Back just 10 sessions ago the rumors emerged and NSC jumped 11% on 11/9. It could see some use as a possible alternative to the recent scorned Keystone pipeline deal as CP would look to transport crude via rail. Oil again flirted with the round 40 number and held above it and their does seem to be a consensus here that it is bottoming. Of course consensus is dangerous and there have been some wild forecasts with GS calling for $20 oil and OPEC $200. Pay attention to the price. Looking at countries that rely on commodity exports one could see the pain which they endured. Exploring the performance of country ETFs coming into Thursday Brazil was lower by 32.7%, Canada by 19.5%, and Australia and South Africa by 15.5 and 15.2%. The lone exception was Russia, which like Canada and Brazil is in a recession, is higher by 20.4% thus far in 2015. Putin has been bombing oil installations and perhaps the reasoning is two fold. Combat the terrorists and try and put a bid under oil prices which the country so desperately needs. Oil names themselves fell Thursday and we would reiterate our affinity for the group and look for leaders to enter on weakness. RSPP would fit into that conversation and below is its chart.
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