While snow blankets much of the East Coast today, and continues to fall furiously, Wall Street is open for business as usual. Despite the pleasant white coating on the streets outside of offices in lower Manhattan, however, investors see the color red splashed across their computer screens. Weak U.S. economic data coupled with disappointing earnings from several prominent companies have put stocks squarely in negative territory today. Read more about Investors on Guard Amid Weak Data 1-27-15
Last week the World Bank issued its 2015 global economic forecast, this week the International Monetary Fund. Not surprisingly, like the World Bank, the IMF also shaved its country projections for the year, with the notable exception of the United States. The IMF now expects to see the world economy expand by 3.5 percent this year, down from its prior 3.8 percent projection. For 2016 the IMF sees world economic growth of 3.7 percent, down 0.3 percent from its October projection. For the U.S. the IMF calls for growth of 3.6 percent this year, up from 3.1 percent in its last forecast. Read more about All Eyes Once More on the ECB
Stocks are rallying in early trading today, aided by positive quarterly results from aluminum giant Alcoa, which suggesting that the economy remains in fine shape. Also boosting shares, U.S. small business optimism climbed in December to its highest level in eight years. Small businesses contribute about half of the nation’s GDP. And perhaps the biggest takeaway from the report was a big jump in the future hiring index. The move in stocks today means the S&P 500 has essentially wiped out its losses incurred in the early going of the new year. Read more about Traders Breathing a Bit Easier 1-13-15
Market participants are in no mood these days to try to catch a falling knife when it comes to crude oil. The price of West Texas Intermediate cut through $50 a barrel, and is revisiting levels not seen since the 2008-09 financial crisis. Brent in London is hard on its heels below $52 a barrel. The decline has far more to do with perceptions than actual excess supply, but given the momentum in the market, it’s hard to say where the bottom will be reached. Certainly $40 WTI isn’t out of the question. Read more about A Falling Knife, a Soaring Buck and You
So far, so good.
Stocks are up more than 5 percent in the last four days, with a brand-new all-time high for the S&P 500. Yesterday’s close at 2078.68 is nearly three points better than the previous high, set only on December 5.
Behind the favorable action are the good traditional year-end dynamics, plus the effect of the calming message of the latest FOMC meeting. Read more about Growing and Spending 12-23-14
Another day, another drop in crude oil prices. At least that’s the way it has felt a lot lately. Today crude prices hit another low, around $54 a barrel, a level last seen in early May, 2009 when the world economy had yet to climb out of the Great Recession. Circumstances look much different today, of course, and it’s not a lack of demand but a surfeit of supply that has taken crude prices so low. Read more about Overwrought, Oversold and Under Appreciated 12-16-14