Markets Mixed to Start Shortened Week; Southwest Travelers Experience Massive Wave of Cancelled Flights

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2023 4:46 PM | Neal Farmer

Markets got off to a mixed start with the tech-heavy NASDAQ falling Tuesday following the extended weekend in observance of Christmas. Hopefully, investors are still enjoying the Christmas spirit because it's lining up to be an extremely boring week in the stock market.

Everyone’s on vacation still and that’s great! Economic data is extraordinarily light with unemployment claims being the biggest report for the week and Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) headlines an earnings week that includes it, itself, and Cal-Maine.

Meanwhile, investors await to see if a Santa Claus Rally occurs as retail traders have greater sway in the market with institutional investors largely on vacation and markets still containing the holiday spirit.

Trending Topics

China and airlines were the biggest headlines to start the shortened trading week as China announced it would ease its travel restrictions with an end to quarantine requirements for international travelers starting on January 8th. Travelers will now simply need to obtain a negative COVID test within 48 hours before departure and no longer be required to hotel quarantine for five days following arrival.

Southwest made headlines for a far worse traveling reason as it somehow managed to cancel 62% (5400) of its flights in a 48-hour span during the holiday weekend. Now, there were some major winter storms and an ongoing pilot shortage so it's somewhat understandable how this situation could occur… is what some Southwest PR representative has surely already said. The reality is that Southwest was an extreme outlier in this regard as Delta, United, American, and JetBlue Airlines all each managed to report no more than 2% of their flights being canceled. Many were delayed but even Southwest far outpaced its competitors in that regard.

The massive wave of canceled flights for thousands (more likely millions) of travelers is simply unacceptable and has led to the Department of Transportation saying it will probe into the situation. A stern talking to by the U.S. government will assuredly change the airliner practices immediately.

Light Week for New Data

Unemployment claims data set to release on Thursday is expected to show initial claims rise slightly from 216,000 to 220,000 claims for the week ending December 24th. Claims have been hovering around where they were shortly before the pandemic first struck and have stayed relatively level for over the last six months with only a few major spikes or crashes in weekly claims. Also set to be released on Thursday are the inventory levels for EIA crude oil and natural gas.

Meanwhile, new housing data headlines Wednesday’s economic data release as pending home sales are projected to fall 0.2% in November following a 4.6% decline the previous month.

Economic Events this Week


- 7:00 ET - MBA Mortgage Applications Index - 10:00 ET - Pending Home Sales

Thursday - 8:30 ET - Initial & Continuing Claims - 11:00 ET - EIA Crude Oil Inventories

Friday - 9:45 ET - Chicago PMI

Earnings Reports This Week


After the bell: CALM

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