Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Markets pare losses on hopes for continued easing by the Fed

Dow dropped 128 (but off the lows), decliners only slightly ahead of advancers & NAZ gained 7.  The MLP index went up 1+ to 417 & the REIT index backed up chump change in the 333s.  Junk bond funds pulled back & Treasuries rallied as stocks declined.  Oil at new lows has a 43 handle while gold slid lower.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

CLJ15.NYM....Crude Oil Apr 15....43.54 Down ...0.34  (0.8%)

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

Oil prices fell again, pressured by expectations of a 10th week of record highs in US crude inventories as trade remained volatile from a weaker dollar & short-covering after 3 days of price drops.  Analysts forecast that crude stocks in the US rose 3.8M barrels last week to nearly 453M (the biggest domestic stockpile in at least 80 years).  Also pressuring prices was rising output in Libya & Iran's eagerness to export more oil once it clinches a nuclear deal that would remove Western sanctions.  News that a refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, had begun the start up process for a unit under maintenance helped US crude pare losses. The refinery has a capacity to handle 600K barrels of crude per day.  Market downside was also limited by a weaker dollar to the € that made commodities denominated in the greenback more appealing to holders of the single currency.

U.S. Crude Prices Slide with Supply Glut in Focus

Apple's much-hinted-at TV service may soon become a reality as the iPhone maker is in talks with programmers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks this fall.  The service would have about 25 channels, anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS & Fox, & be available across all devices powered by the iOS operating system, including iPhones, iPads & Apple TV set-top boxes.  AAPL has been offering a "skinny" bundle with well-known channels like CBS, ESPN & FX, leaving out the many smaller networks in the standard cable TV package.  The price of the new service is about $30-40 a month.  AAPL plans to announce the service in Jun & launch it in Sep.  The stock rose 2.09.  If you would like to learn more about AAPL, click on this link:

Report: Apple in Talks to Launch Online TV Service

Apple (AAPL)

Payrolls rose in 39 states in Jan & the unemployment rate fell in 24 as the US labor market continued its acceleration.  California led with a 67K increase in employment, followed by a 25K advance in Ohio, according to the Labor Dept.  Job growth is a bright spot in the US, as economic gauges from consumer spending to factory output have slowed amid inclement weather, sluggish growth abroad & limited wage gains for American workers.  Employers will need demand for their goods & services to pick up in order to justify expanding headcount in the months ahead.  Idaho showed the biggest percentage gain in employment with a 1.4% increase, followed by Hawaii at 0.9%.  States where payrolls fell included Virginia, Minnesota & Louisiana.  The unemployment rate in Jan dropped the most in Oregon, where joblessness fell to 6.3% from 6.7% in Dec.  No states showed a statistically significant increase in unemployment.  North Dakota had the lowest jobless rate at 2.8%.  Mississippi & Nevada tied for the highest at 7.1%.  The slump in oil prices hasn’t yet led to widespread job losses.  Payrolls in North Dakota climbed 1.3K workers in Jan, while Texas showed a 20K increase.  The national report showed payrolls across the US climbed 295K in Feb following a 239K increase the month before.  The unemployment rate fell to 5.5%, the lowest in almost 7 years & at the range that Federal Reserve officials consider full employment.

Payrolls Increased in 39 States in January Led by California

Stock buyers returned in the PM to limit losses for the day.  The FOMC meeting excites traders who hope there will be hints about about extending low interest rates, the key driver of a higher stock market.  But there have been plenty of hints about rate hikes coming around mid year & supporting economic data, notwithstanding dreary numbers during winter, should give the Fed courage to begin raising interest rates.  Rates hikes can be expected to come in 25 basis point increments.

Dow Jones Industrials

stock chart 

3 Stocks You Should Own Right Now - Click Here!


No comments: