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Where's the Massive Sell-Off?

John Maxfield
February 13, 2013

Some said the Mayan calendar forecast that the world would end on Dec. 21, 2012. Roughly 2,000 years later, in a similarly definitive manner, the chief investment strategist of Raymond James, Jeff Saut, predicted that President Obama's State of the Union address could trigger a massive 5% to 7% sell-off in stocks.

Both predictions now appear to have been the result of miscalculations. With about an hour left in the trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is off by a negligible 64 points, or 0.46%.

What's moving the market today?
Two reports appear to be weighing on stocks today. First, the Department of Commerce published its estimate of January retail sales this morning. According to the report (link opens PDF), total domestic retail and food services sales increased last month by 0.1%. While this doesn't sound overly impressive, as my colleague John Divine pointed out, "the $416.6 billion spent in the area is 4.4% higher than the January 2012 figure."

And second, the Mortgage Bankers Association published data showing that mortgage applications fell by 6.4% last week compared with the prece