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While the S&P 500 stock index futures made a new all-time high by a nice margin (4808.25 vs. 4799.75), it failed to make a new all-time closing high. Adding to the slightly negative tone for the session was that it was poised to post that new closing high until the final nine minutes of the session. That had the index flirting with a close above 4800 when sellers engulfed the market.

Perhaps the cause for the sudden reversal was that aggressive traders bought ahead of the $2.8B buy imbalance and were positioned to sell into the closing print. Meanwhile, the big boys were out there selling into the unexpected strength following the turbulent session. When the bids evaporated in the closing minutes, those traders had to sell into a falling market as opposed to a rising one.

There is a clear battle line for Wednesday’s session. Was the last-minute retreat another blip in the sell radar and the index regains its momentum tomorrow, or has the Santa Claus rally marked a temporary top in the index? With the last two closes within a few points of each other, the premarket traders have a bogey to clear for another stealth premarket rally.

For the session, the index was lower by 1.75 handles to close at 4784.25, just under Monday’s all-time closing high price of 4786.

Investors flocking into the value trade enabled JP Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) to be the biggest gainer of the top components. For the session, the issue added $6.13 or 3.8% to close at $167.83. That marks a two day gain of $9.48 or 6%.

The cash index slipped 0.6%.

From the biggest gainer on Monday of the top components to the biggest loser on Tuesday of the index was Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA). Negative headlines on the issue, along with a failure to hold $1200 forced investors to sell into weakness instead of strength. For the session, the issue declined $50.19 or 4.2% to close at $1149.59.


PreMarket Prep Stock Of The Day: Sea Ltd. (NYSE: SE)

New low for the move, one day after Bank Of America upgrades the issue. Read more about SE here.