May 23, 2017

Markets Drift Despite Some Positive Reports

Markets drifted on Thursday amid mixed economic and corporate news around the world and as investors paused to reflect after Wall Street’s failure to make new highs.

In afternoon trading, the Standard Poor’s 500-share index was 0.2 percent higher, the Dow Jones industrial average was unchanged and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.6 percent.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended the day down 0.5 percent even after official figures showed that the British economy grew by a quarterly 0.6 percent in the second quarter, its fastest rate in nearly two years. Germany’s DAX was down 1 percent despite the closely watched Ifo index pointing to solid growth in Europe’s economy. The CAC 40 in France was 0.2 percent lower.

United States economic figures failed to move the markets much, with a bigger-than-expected 4.2 percent surge in durable goods orders in June downplayed because it was largely a result of elevated aircraft sales. And a 7,000 increase in weekly jobless claims was more or less in line with expectations.

The latest run of corporate earnings around the world also failed to excite. Though a number of companies like Facebook have impressed, investors have not shown much willingness to push markets higher on the back of corporate earnings. Among the latest releases, Facebook (shares up 27 percent on Thursday) and General Motors (shares down 0.9 percent) impressed, but the German chemical company BASF (United States-traded shares down 3.1 percent) disappointed.

Some results “are being used as an opportunity to sell at the current highs, creating another opportunity to buy the dips,” said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari.

China’s weak manufacturing figures from Wednesday continued to weigh on sentiment in Asia. China’s slowdown is in large part self-induced. Its leaders are trying to shift the basis of China’s growth away from reliance on exports and industrial investment in favor of consumption, which they hope will be more self-sustaining. That means large stimulus is unlikely.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average shed 1.1 percent, to 14,562.93 points, with the camera maker Canon plunging 5.4 percent after it lowered its full-year profit and sales outlook on Wednesday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 0.3 percent, at 21,900.96 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 0.6 percent, to 2,021.17.

Currency markets were fairly lackluster, with the euro 0.2 percent higher, at $1.3230, and the dollar down 0.6 percent, at 99.59 yen.

The latest bout of selling of oil ground to a halt and the benchmark New York rate was 31 cents higher, at $105.70 a barrel.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Markets Slump Despite Some Positive Reports

Markets drifted on Thursday amid mixed economic and corporate news around the world and as investors paused to reflect after Wall Street’s failure to make new highs.

In afternoon trading, the Standard Poor’s 500-share index was 0.2 percent higher, the Dow Jones industrial average was unchanged and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.6 percent.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended the day down 0.5 percent even after official figures showed that the British economy grew by a quarterly 0.6 percent in the second quarter, its fastest rate in nearly two years. Germany’s DAX was down 1 percent despite the closely watched Ifo index pointing to solid growth in Europe’s economy. The CAC 40 in France was 0.2 percent lower.

United States economic figures failed to move the markets much, with a bigger-than-expected 4.2 percent surge in durable goods orders in June downplayed because it was largely a result of elevated aircraft sales. And a 7,000 increase in weekly jobless claims was more or less in line with expectations.

The latest run of corporate earnings around the world also failed to excite. Though a number of companies like Facebook have impressed, investors have not shown much willingness to push markets higher on the back of corporate earnings. Among the latest releases, Facebook (shares up 27 percent on Thursday) and General Motors (shares down 0.9 percent) impressed, but the German chemical company BASF (United States-traded shares down 3.1 percent) disappointed.

Some results “are being used as an opportunity to sell at the current highs, creating another opportunity to buy the dips,” said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari.

China’s weak manufacturing figures from Wednesday continued to weigh on sentiment in Asia. China’s slowdown is in large part self-induced. Its leaders are trying to shift the basis of China’s growth away from reliance on exports and industrial investment in favor of consumption, which they hope will be more self-sustaining. That means large stimulus is unlikely.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average shed 1.1 percent, to 14,562.93 points, with the camera maker Canon plunging 5.4 percent after it lowered its full-year profit and sales outlook on Wednesday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 0.3 percent, at 21,900.96 points, and China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 0.6 percent, to 2,021.17.

Currency markets were fairly lackluster, with the euro 0.2 percent higher, at $1.3230, and the dollar down 0.6 percent, at 99.59 yen.

The latest bout of selling of oil ground to a halt and the benchmark New York rate was 31 cents higher, at $105.70 a barrel.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Markets Stay Strong, Riding Investor Confidence

Stocks rose on Wednesday, with the Dow and Standard Poor’s 500-stock index rising to new highs in a broad market rally.

The Nasdaq also reached its highest point since November 2000, though gains were limited by a steep decline in Apple. Shares of the technology giant sold off in late afternoon trading after filings from hedge funds showed that the one-time Wall Street darling had been dropped by more hedge fund managers in the first quarter.

But shares of Apple’s rival, Google, rose to a record high at $916.38 on news that it had adopted a business model for streaming music.

The day’s gains were broad, with nine of the S. P. 500’s 10 sectors ending higher. Among the top gainers were the consumer staples sector index, up 1 percent, and the financial sector, also up 1 percent. The only decliner was the energy sector index, down 0.4 percent.

The overall market showed further signs of strength as the S. P. 500-stock index reached a high for the fourth session in a row. The broad index has recorded 15 nominal closing highs this year.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 60.44 points, or 0.40 percent, to 15,275.69 at the close on Wednesday. The S. P. 500-stock index added 8.44 points, or 0.51 percent, to finish at 1,658.78. The Nasdaq composite index gained 9.01 points, or 0.26 percent, to close at 3,471.62.

During trading, the Dow touched a record intraday high at 15,301.34, while the S. P. 500 reached a record intraday peak at 1,661.49. Earlier, the Nasdaq reached a 52-week high at 3,475.48.

In the latest assessments of the economy, activity in New York state’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly contracted in May. Another report showed that industrial production in the United States fell more than expected in April.

“It’s disconcerting that the data was so much lower than what we were looking for, but there’s no reason for investors to sell,” said Michael Binger, senior portfolio manager at Gradient Investments in Minneapolis.

“The main things driving the market — the Fed, earnings, consumer confidence — are holding up, and people put money in the market on any down day. I still see a lot of value,” he said.

In signs that the rally may strengthen from current levels, the Credit Suisse Fear Barometer, known as the CSFB Index, fell 11.4 points over the last two weeks — the largest decline on record — and was now at a one-year low of 21.73.

“A low CSFB reading is a constructive signal for the market,” a Credit Suisse equity derivatives strategist, Mandy Xu, wrote in a note to clients.

Among Wednesday’s top gainers was Agilent Tech, up 3.9 percent to $45.68, a day after the company posted adjusted earnings that beat expectations and doubled its stock buyback program to $1 billion.

Tech shares got a lift from Netflix, up 4 percent at $243.40, and from Yahoo, up 2.6 percent at $27.34. In contrast, the Computer Sciences Corporation was the S. P. 500’s biggest loser, dropping 9.7 percent to $44.71 after reporting results.

Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb rose 5.1 percent to $44.34 in anticipation of favorable data from clinical trials of its melanoma drug.

In other data released on Wednesday, the producer price index recorded its largest drop in three years in April, falling a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent.

The price of the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 12/32 to 98 9/32, dropping the yield to 1.94 from 1.98 on Tuesday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/16/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Pushing Back Retirement, and Not Always for Money

Nowadays retirement is all over the map. It’s blurred, more elastic. Many people retire piecemeal. Or they retire and then unretire. Or they continue working well after they were supposed to have retired.

As part of a fast-changing retirement picture, many Americans leave their longtime job, but then, fearing that their Social Security benefits and nest egg will prove too small, plunge into part-time work — as a consultant, say, or a salesclerk at a big-box store. Others step down from career jobs but then conclude, after a year or two, that they are bored and want to start their own businesses. So they unretire and become entrepreneurs.

Not long ago, it seems, the typical American’s goal was to retire at 58, 60, 62 — certainly no later than 65. But now, more workers are pushing back retirement to 68, 70, 72 and even later.

Some delay retirement because they are still healthy and love to work. But many put it off instead because their 401(k)’s are so puny, or because their medical bills, even with Medicare, are so high. Or some delay because their stock portfolios haven’t fully recovered from Wall Street’s swoon five years ago, despite new highs set on the stock market last week — nominal records spurred by low-interest-rate policies that have at the same time hurt retirement savings.

Some baby boomers understand all too well why they are called the sandwich generation: they need to continue working far longer than they intended, either because the bill for sending their children to college is so steep or because the cost of keeping a parent in a nursing home is so high — or both.

Another twist is that many more Americans are living into their late 80s and 90s — and many of them are outliving their retirement savings. Some companies are rushing to plug this hole by offering annuities that don’t begin until age 80 or 85. The retirement picture in the United States has become so fluid that one survey found that while 43 percent of Americans say they can’t wait to retire, 41 percent don’t expect to ever retire at all. .

“There’s no consensus on what retirement is anymore,” said Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, director of the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College. “We’re starting to rethink it. Truly, today’s grandparents are not like my grandparents. The experience of aging is different. People say, ‘I’m not done yet.’ ”

That’s certainly the case for Leon Burzynski, 71, an electrician for 35 years before retiring from full-time work eight years ago. Mr. Burzynski, a father of seven who lives in Pewaukee, Wis., said his Social Security benefits and $16,000 yearly pension were not enough to pay for living expenses, a secondary health insurance plan and the elder hostel vacations that he and his wife love to take.

So he has taken on two part-time jobs, earning about $4,000 a year doing bookkeeping for several small companies and $6,000 a year helping with returns during the peak tax season at an accounting firm where one of his sons is a managing partner.

“On one hand, I would like not to have to work, and on the other hand, it gives me something to do,” Mr. Burzynski said. “It’s kind of yin and yang. It allows my wife and me to maintain the quality of life that’s consistent with what we’ve always loved — to go to the theater, the symphony and to take trips.”

While retirement has assumed myriad forms across the country, many economists and other experts on retirement see some common, increasingly worrisome trends. A growing number of workers are convinced they will not have a comfortable retirement. A Boston College study in October found that 53 percent of Americans were “at risk” of being unable to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living once they retire, up from 30 percent in 1989. A study last May by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that 44 percent may not have enough money to meet their basic needs in retirement.

It is well known that many workers live paycheck to paycheck and find it hard to save much for retirement. A result is that one-third of retirees in the United States rely solely on Social Security, with benefits averaging just over $15,000 a year for an individual and $30,000 for a couple.

A generation ago, most workers with employer-based retirement plans were enrolled in traditional pension plans promising a monthly stipend for life after retirement. Now, just 26 percent of all workers are in such pension plans, including 17 percent of private-sector workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most people whose employers offer retirement plans are enrolled in 401(k)’s instead, and 58 percent of workers are not participating in an employer-based retirement plan, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/13/business/retirementspecial/pushing-back-retirement-and-not-always-for-money.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Wall Street Opens Higher, a Day After Record

The Dow industrials moved higher on Wednesday, a day after setting a record, but the rally in the broader market faltered.

In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.2 percent, but the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was down slightly, and the Nasdaq composite was off 0.2 percent.

Signs of a strengthening American economy, continued support from the Federal Reserve, and fairly attractive valuations compared with other assets have helped equities rally this year.

On Tuesday, the Dow ended at 14,253.77 points, breaking through October 2007’s record close of 14,164.53. For the year, the Dow is up more than 8 percent. The S.P. 500 has gained 8 percent in the first three months of the year and is less than 2 percent below its record close.

The larger S.P. 1500 index has already reached record highs, thanks to help from smaller-cap companies.

“I think this is a happiness hangover,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

“What’s happening today is probably people that had been extremely risk-averse during the roller-coaster ride are now feeling comfortable and, sadly, that’s really not the time to buy in when we’re hitting new highs.”

Ms. Forrest said investor attention should start to turn to the labor market, with the closely watched nonfarm payroll report due on Friday. Despite signs of strength in some areas of the economy, the labor market has been healing only slowly.

But an early look at the jobs market on Wednesday was surprisingly strong, with companies adding 198,000 jobs last month, according to a report by the payroll processor ADP, above estimates for 170,000. January’s job gain was also revised up to 215,000. Futures added to gains following the data.

“The ongoing level of the labor market recovery continues to impress investors and that is once again reinforced by these numbers,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak in New York.

“Manufacturers and business leaders are telling us that the demand has picked up, that they are short of inventory and that they are adding workers.”

The Commerce Department reported later in the morning that new orders for factory goods fell in January as demand for transportation equipment weakened, but the underlying strength in manufacturing remained intact.

The report said orders for manufactured goods dropped 2.0 percent. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 2.2 percent decline in orders after a previously reported 1.8 percent increase in December.

Overnight in Europe, stock markets rose to their highest since the 2008 financial crisis. The European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan are all expected to stick to ultra-easy monetary policy at meetings this week.

European Union antitrust regulators fined Microsoft 561 million euros ($732 million) for breaking a promise to offer European consumers a choice of web browser. Shares of Microsoft were off 1 percent.

Staples tumbled 7 percent after the company reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue and forecast weak full-year earnings.

Shares of the drone maker AeroVironment slumped 11 percent after the company cut its full-year forecast on delays in government orders.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/07/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss