Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stocks Down Again, Failing at Second 2014 Benchmark

Amid economic cross-currents, the major indices failed at the second benchmark for the year, that being the first five days of trading, which turned out to be negative and indicative of a sub-par performance for stocks throughout 2014. The first benchmark was also negative, as stocks were sharply lower on the first trading day of the new year.

After the banner year that was 2103, in which the indices were ahead by anywhere from 26-30%, a pullback is, however, more likely than not.

Putting numbers to the reality, here's the performance for the first five trading days of 2014:
Dow: -114 points
S&P: -11 points
NASDAQ: -11 points
NYSE: -79 points

While these figures aren't anything dramatic, they are negative, suggesting that investors are taking a very cautious approach to stocks even as financial data appears to point toward a strengthening of the general economy.

ADP reported that 238,000 jobs were created in December, ahead of forecasts and predictive of an equally-strong number from the BLS when they report Friday on December non-farm payrolls.

On the flip side, retail traffic for the just-ended holiday shopping season was down 14%, though sales were still ahead by 2.7%, and, just ater the bell, Macy's (M) reported same-store sales gains in the 3.6% range but announced that they would be laying off 2500 employees and closing five stores. Shares of the company were up sharply on the news in after-hours trading.

Overall, markets were down throughout most of the day, especially the Dow Jones Industrials, which suffered the most. The NASDAQ was higher through most of the session and hit the unchanged mark with just about 20 minutes left in the trading day, but returned to slightly positive territory at the close.

Tomorrow, the first earnings report will be come to the markets as Alcoa (AA), a former Dow component, reports full-year and fourth quarter results.

DOW 16,462.74, -68.20 (-0.41%)
NASDAQ 4,165.61, +12.43 (+0.30%)
S&P 1,837.49, -0.39 (-0.02%)
10-Yr Note 97.94, -0.17 (-0.18%) Yield: 2.99%
NASDAQ Volume 2.20 Bil
NYSE Volume 3.47 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2585-3071
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 336-29
WTI crude oil: 92.33, -1.34
Gold: 1,225.50, -4.10
Silver: 19.54 , -0.248
Corn: 417.00, -9.00

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