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Weak

Fed likely to slow bond buys despite tepid economy

Hiring is soft. Pay is barely up. Consumers are cautious. Economic growth has yet to pick up.

And yet on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is expected to take its first step toward reducing the extraordinary stimulus it's supplied to help the U.S. economy rebound from its deepest crisis since the Great Depression.

If it does, the Fed will likely spark a debate: Has the economy strengthened enough to withstand the pullback?

The answer might not be clear for months.

The Fed is meeting this week at a time of deepening uncertainty about who will succeed Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term ends in January. On Sunday, Lawrence Summers, who was considered the leading candidate, withdrew from consideration. [Read more...]

China, U.S. & Inflation

In light of today's positive economic data out of China, I thought I would reproduce a segment from NFTRH 255 (9.8.13) that speculated upon the possibility of a new up cycle in inflation expectations based in large part on China and its credit growth cycle (on which central planners have announced a planned clampdown). 

China industrial, retail data beat forecasts

The Greenspan Fed provides a handy reference as to how long it can take for a withdrawal of policy to manifest in a new economic deceleration. [Read more...]

Nokia stock surges on Microsoft takeover

Microsoft Corp.(NASADAQ:MSFT) is buying Nokia Corp.'s (NYSE:NOK) line-up of smartphones and a portfolio of patents and services in an attempt to strengthen its fight with Apple Inc. and Google Inc. and capture a slice of the lucrative mobile computing market.

The 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion) deal announced late Monday marks a major step in the company's push to transform itself from a software maker focused on desktop and laptop computers into a more versatile and nimble company that delivers services on any kind of Internet-connected gadget.

"It's a bold step into the future a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies," Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer told reporters at Nokia's headquarters in Finland Tuesday. "It's a signature event." [Read more...]

Nasdaq takes some blame for 3-hour breakdown

A three-hour trading outage on the Nasdaq last week was partly the result of issues within the company's control, the Nasdaq OMX Group said Thursday.

In a statement, the company detailed some of its early findings from an internal review. The Nasdaq blamed "a confluence of unprecedented events" that overwhelmed the exchange's system for handling price information. It said the catalyst was a torrent of messages from a trading platform run by the New York Stock Exchange, Arca.

"NASDAQ OMX is deeply disappointed in the events of August 22," the statement said, "and our performance is unacceptable to our members, issuers and the investing public."

The outage cracked the midday calm of a quiet summer day on Wall Street, sending brokers and traders scrambling to figure out what went wrong. Suspicion immediately fell on high-speed trading. [Read more...]

Orders for long-lasting US factory goods plunge

Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods fell sharply last month as demand for commercial aircraft plummeted and businesses spent less on computers and electrical equipment.

The Commerce Department said Monday that orders for durable goods plunged 7.3 percent in July, the steepest drop in nearly a year. Excluding the volatile transportation category, orders fell just 0.6 percent. Both declines followed three straight months of increases.

Durable goods are items meant to last at least three years. The drop suggests manufacturing continues to struggle after starting the year weak. [Read more...]

Stocks drop for a fourth straight day

U.S. stocks dropped for a fourth day in a row Monday as investors continued to express worry about the recent rise in bond yields. Banking stocks also dragged down the broader market.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 70.73 points, or 0.47 percent, to 15,010.74. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 9.78 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,646.05. The market fell broadly 4 stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index also fell, losing 13.69 points, or 0.48 percent, to 3,589.09. The Russell 2000 index, which is made up of primarily riskier, small-company stocks, fell nearly twice as much as the S&P 500. That index fell 11.05 points, or 1 percent, to 1,013.25.

Investors had little data to digest Monday, so the focus for many remained the ongoing climb in bond yields. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.88 percent from 2.83 percent Friday. Yields are at their highest level since July 2011. [Read more...]

Warnings of slower sales drive down U.S. stocks

Warnings of weaker sales from two major companies and concern that the Federal Reserve will soon start withdrawing its support for the economy pummeled the stock market Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average slumped 225 points, its worst day in nearly two months.

Before the start of trading, Wal-Mart cut its estimates for annual revenue and profit, warning that cautious shoppers are spending less. The news followed a disappointing revenue forecast from Cisco Systems late Wednesday.

In a twist, more signs of resilience in the U.S. economy drove long-term interest rates to their highest level in two years and wound up rattling the stock market. Reports on inflation and the job market appeared to raise the odds that the Fed would begin winding down its massive bond-buying program next month. Many investors think that the Fed's effort has underpinned the stock market's record run. [Read more...]

Warnings of slower sales sends U.S. stocks lower

Warnings of weaker sales from two major companies and concern that the Federal Reserve could pull back its support for the economy sent the stock market spiraling lower Thursday.

Before the start of trading, Wal-Mart cut its estimates for annual revenue and profit, warning that cautious shoppers are spending less. The news followed a revenue forecast from Cisco Systems late Wednesday that was weaker than Wall Street expected.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 20 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,666 at noon Eastern Daylight Time.

The selling swept across all 10 industry groups in the index, and 93 percent of the index's 500 stocks fell.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 177 points, or 1.2 percent, to 15,159. The Nasdaq composite index fell 52 points, or 1.4 percent, to 3,618. [Read more...]

Stocks slump on Wall Street

The stock market fell on Wednesday as a poor earnings report from Macy's cast doubt on the outlook for consumer spending, a vital component of the U.S. economy.

Other department store stocks also fell after Macy's reported disappointing earnings for the second quarter and cut its forecast for the year.

The stock market's early summer rally has fizzled out after a strong July, and August is shaping up to be a lackluster month as many traders and investors take their summer breaks. The major indexes have drifted lower in the past week after climbing to all-time highs at the start of the month. [Read more...]

S&P 500 crosses 1,700 points for the first time

Stocks rose Thursday morning after an encouraging employment report, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 index above 1,700 points for the first time.

The S&P 500 (CME:SP500), which investors follow closely as a gauge for the rest of the market, was up 18 points in early trading, or 1.1 percent, at 1,704.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 144 points, or 0.9 percent, to 15,644. The Dow is also at a record high. The Nasdaq composite index rose 37 points, or 1 percent, to 3,664.

All 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500 index rose, led by banks and industrial stocks. [Read more...]

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