After falling to a two-month low last week, U.S. stocks—using the S&P 500 as proxy—have staged a comeback in recent days. For the month, the blue chip index is about breakeven. As predicted by our stock indicator, although equities may struggle to find much upside in the near term with valuations stretched, despite the ongoing geopolitical risks, the chances for a major decline (10 percent or larger) seem small. Read more about Keeping an Eye on Overseas Turmoil 08-12-14
Last Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs in July. That was more than 20,000 fewer jobs than economists had expected. Nevertheless, the gain represented the sixth consecutive monthly addition of more than 200,000 jobs, the longest such period since the 1990s. Read more about Digesting the News 08-05-14
Despite the disquiet in international news, economic data on the home front continues to look encouraging. Last week, the Department of Labor announced that new applications for unemployment benefits fell during the week ended July 19 to the lowest level since February 2006, thanks partly to an increase in auto production at a normally sluggish time of year. Initial jobless claims declined to 284,000, a level lower than most economists had expected. Read more about Markets in Neutral Gear as Economy Rebounds 07-29-14
The U.S. Department of Commerce today reported retail sales for June. At a growth rate of 0.2 percent, following a 0.5 percent increase in May, the sluggishness of the headline sales number surprised economists, who had expected to see 0.6 percent growth. That may account for the renewed aura of worry hitting the market today, particularly in small- and mid-cap stocks. Read more about No Reason to Rush for the Exits 07-15-14
The jobs report that hit the wires last Thursday, one day early due to the July 4th holiday, cheered the markets enormously. Alas, the step into new record territory also proved transitory.
While the unemployment rate sank to 6.1 percent, within the upper range that the Federal Reserve Board had targeted, the rate of labor participation for individuals across the age spectrum remains stubbornly low. That the participation rates are poor both for older employees and younger workers alike had a chilling effect on the market. It’s not a sign of economic strength. Read more about A Mixed Picture 07-08-14
The S&P 500 enters the second half of 2014 on a six-quarter winning streak, the longest string of quarterly gains since 1998. Currently hovering around 1975, the blue-chip stock index seems poised to make a run at 2000. Read more about 2000 Milestone Within Reach But What's Ahead? 07-01-14