The economic calendar is loaded with data and we have a holiday-shortened week. In some circumstances the many economic reports and the Washington stories would dominate. This week the market and economic context suggests a different theme:

Will Black Friday results confirm consumer strength? Can this spark the typical Santa Claus rally, or should we expect (like last year) a big lump of coal?

Since there is no easy answer, the investment community will be watching closely for hints.

Last Week Recap

In my last installment of WTWA, I took advantage of a quiet calendar to ask whether we should be worrying about debt. I did not expect this to be a media favorite, but it never is. We must occasionally take up matters that are important beyond today’s trading! Readers seemed to enjoy the discussion and the format.

The Story in One Chart

I always start my personal review of the week by looking at a great chart. This week I am featuring the version from Investing.com. If you visit the original, you will see many interactive features, including the news events indicated on the chart.

The market lost 0.3% for the week. The trading range was only 1.2%. You can monitor volatility, implied volatility, and historical comparisons in my weekly Indicator Snapshot in the Quant Corner below.

Personal Note

Mrs. OldProf and I will be traveling over the next two weekends. I’ll try to do a weekly update if something dramatic is happening. We will be staying at the hotel where I was on the 16th floor during an earthquake. I had no idea what was happening. There was no alarm. It felt like a huge dog was bouncing on my bed. I did what any modern person would do: Sign into Twitter. I had my answer instantly – better than any news show.

I might try to dig up my presentation for the Money Show that year. It was well-received, but I wonder how many people cashed in on the ideas. Do-it-yourself investors are not natural contrarians. The process of reading and learning exposes them to an excessive level of good-sounding bad analysis.