Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A great day for business as usual

In Politics and economics from Reuters for August 25, 2014, I made this observation on the stock market.
If one of my readers had told me a year and a half ago that the S&P 500 would break 2,000, I wouldn't have believed them.  I would have been sure that the market would have topped out by now.  By the way, the markets went up today.  No profit taking yet.
Here's the story from Reuters: S&P 500 scores first close above 2,000; data helps By Chuck Mikolajczak in NEW YORK on Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:48pm EDT.
(Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Tuesday to lift the S&P 500 just a hair above the 2,000 mark, its first close above that milestone, after data that pointed to a brighter future for the economy.

Energy shares, which closely track the pace of growth, led the day's gain. The S&P energy index rose 0.5 percent and ranked as the best performer of the 10 major S&P sectors.

The S&P 500 hit an intraday high of 2,005.04, climbing above the 2,000 mark for the second straight day. On Monday, though, the benchmark could not hold on to that mark and ended at 1,997.92. With Tuesday's move, both the Dow and the S&P 500 have risen in 10 of the past 13 sessions, while the Nasdaq is up for 11 of the past 13 sessions.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 29.83 points or 0.17 percent, to end at 17,106.70. The S&P 500 gained 2.10 points or 0.11 percent, to close at 2,000.02, a record high. The Nasdaq Composite added 13.29 points or 0.29 percent, to finish at 4,570.64.

The Dow industrials had touched a record intraday high of 17,153.80 during Tuesday's session.
Two stories, one definitely good news and the other mixed depending on which side of the Atlantic one one lives, helped fuel this rally.  Follow over the jump for them.

First, the good news: U.S. consumer confidence hits nearly seven-year high in August, Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli, on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:18am EDT.
(Reuters) - U.S. consumer confidence rose in August to its highest level since October 2007 on improved feelings about the current state of the economy, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes rose to 92.4 from a downwardly revised 90.3 the month before. Economists had expected a reading of 89, according to a Reuters poll.

July's reading was originally reported as 90.9.
In other words, consumers haven't felt this good about the U.S. economy since before the recession.  This news is why I used Farnsworth to illustrate this article.

Now, the not so good news: Euro close to cracking on ECB talk, shares on the up By Wayne Cole in SYDNEY Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:44pm EDT.
(Reuters) - The euro was close to cracking on Wednesday as feverish speculation of further policy stimulus in the euro zone drove bond yields to all time lows and gave a fillip to stocks globally.

The groundbreaking call by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi for more action on both the monetary and fiscal fronts has markets wagering that fresh steps could come as soon as next week when the central bank's governing council meets.

"The comments have raised expectations that the ECB could announce even more monetary policy stimulus over coming months," said Peter Dragicevich, a senior currency and rates strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "The next program could include broad-based asset purchases."
The single currency broke down to a new 11-month trough of $1.3154 on Wednesday, taking it nearer to the Sept. 6 low of $1.3104 which also doubles as major chart support.

The euro's weakness helped lift the U.S. dollar index through its September peak to reach its highest in 13 months at 82.698. The greenback could only manage a minor gain on the yen to 104.09, short of Monday's 7-month peak at 104.49.
In commodity markets, gold was back down at $1,280.60 an ounce after failing to sustain a bounce to $1,290.80.
Looks like a flight to safety to me.  The U.S. may be in trouble, but it's the best game in town.

Speaking of commodities, the article mentioned oil prices.
Oil prices were steadier for the moment after their long decline. Brent crude inched up 7 cents to $102.57 a barrel, while U.S. crude dipped 3 cents to $93.83 a barrel.
The Reuters article I quoted in Fear premium a dead cat bounce as price falls three times in five days listed Brent crude for October delivery at $102.28 a barrel, while October WTI was at $93.45.  In other words, prices have stabilized over the past week.  That's been reflected at the pump.  None of the neighborhood outlets have gone below $3.35 and the corner station actually made a brief sortie into No Man's Land, raising their price to $3.49, then dropping it within the day back to $3.35.  That reflects what I see on GasBuddy, which shows that the national average bouncing off a bottom between $3.42 and $3.43 with the Detroit average hitting $3.41 a few days ago and returning to between $3.43 and $3.44.  That makes the prediction I made last week look good.
Check back next week to see if the neighborhood outlets drop below $3.32 and head to $3.29.  I don't think it will happen next week.
So far, it hasn't happened and the retail and wholesale data indicate it isn't likely to happen this week either.

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