Updated from 5:01 a.m. EST
NEW YORK (
) -- Ho-ho-hum. Christmas is over, New Year's Day is Friday and everyone is taking a break, including participants in our latest sentiment survey. Sure, the survey says poll-takers believe the market will go higher this week, but if the lack of poll participants is any indication the final trading week of 2009 is going to be slow.
Those still hanging around can at least digest Tuesday's consumer-confidence figures and weekly initial jobless claims on Thursday. And a report Monday from MasterCard's SpendingPulse that showed holiday retail sales in the U.S. rose 3.6% from a decline of 2.3% a year earlier could give a boost to retailers such as
As of 7:45 a.m. Monday, 65.9%, or 224 of the 340 votes cast in TheStreet.com's RealMoney Barometer poll, were bullish, while 18.8%, or 64 votes, were bearish. Neutral was at 15.3%, or 52 votes. The total number of votes cast was about a fourth of what is usually recorded in the sentiment survey.
Last Thursday, in an abbreviated session, the benchmark stock indexes closed at new highs for the year. The
Dow Jones Industrial Average
gained 1.9% for the week, the
gained 2.2% to close at 1,126, and the
rose 3.4% to finish the week at 2,286.
The tech sector was the biggest gainer Thursday with stocks such as
tacking on gains.
rose 3.4% on Thursday, touching an all-time high, on speculation the company would unveil a tablet computer, its latest gadget, sometime in January.
Poll participants chose commercial banks as the sector most likely to rise this week, while precious metals placed second.
The precious metals sector was seen as the sector most likely to post declines this week, with banks placing second. The airline sector also was viewed as one likely to post declines this week, owing likely to the Christmas Day attack of a Northwest flight headed to Detroit and the tighter security regulations imposed on travelers by the U.S. government. Northwest is owned by
In U.S. corporate news, a consortium led by
lost out to a
that won a $20.4 billion nuclear power contract from the United Arab Emirates.
> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll
The poll closes at 9:15 a.m.
U.S. markets Monday were headed for a higher opening. Markets are closed Friday for New Year's Day.
Asian stocks ended mostly higher Monday as a jump in Japan's factory production suggested the region's economic recovery is gathering pace and China affirmed its easy credit policies will continue. As of 7:45 a.m., stocks in Germany and France were rising by about 0.8%, while markets in Great Britain were closed.
Here is a wrap-up of our other polls:
In a poll last week, we asked readers of
bring good things to life in 2010?"
Our timing was impeccable. Since General Electric's Dec. 15 investor meeting, at which CEO Jeff Immelt conveyed that 2010 will be a year of focus for refining GE's portfolio of assets, a number of developments in line with his goals have materialized.
On Dec. 21, GE announced that aircraft engine supplier CFM International, in which GE is a partner with high-tech aerospace, defense and security group Safran, would be the sole Western supplier of jet engines for China's newest commercial aircraft in development. On the same day, GE announced that GE Capital, Corporate Retail Finance served as the only lender for a $35 million asset-based credit facility to off-price specialty retailer Loehmann's for its working-capital needs. It also said that day that it would improve payment terms for doctors and hospitals to purchase its health care information technology systems.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority -- some 86.3% -- of
readers were bullish on the stock. A mere 13.7% were skeptical of the rosy picture Immelt presented for 2010.
Click here for full results and analysis of our GE poll
Last week, we asked the readers of
whether they thought the
787 Dreamliner would revolutionize the airline industry.
It was a relevant question, given the events of the week. After a successful maiden debut on Dec. 15, the Dreamliner continued to forge ahead with its 10-month flight-test program. On Dec. 22, a second Dreamliner aircraft completed its first flight, taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., and landing at Boeing Field in Seattle two hours later.
More than 67% of those who responded to our poll said that the Dreamliner would be a positive long-term factor for the airline industry.
About 32.9% of readers still feel bearish on the airline industry, feeling that it is too early to get excited over a plane that still needs to perfect itself for commercial aviation.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel and Ty Wenger in New York.