Thursday, January 4, 2018

Caution Thrown To (Bitter Cold) Wind, As Investors Ignore Tech and Weather Threats

Across the board gains were the order de jour on the second day of trading in the new year.

As on Tuesday, the NASDAQ outpaced the other major averages, continuing its meteoric rise beyond the 7,000 mark with tech stocks leading the way despite an admission from Intel (INTC) that their chips have a serious flaw, affecting nearly all chips made by the company over the past ten years.

The world's largest chipmaker was not immediately taken to the woodshed and whipped, though shares of the company were down more than three percent and are off another one-and-a-half percent in pre-market trading on Thursday.

Rival chipmaker, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), was the main beneficiary of the Intel news, its stock advancing more than five percent on the day, though it appeared that AMD chips are also vulnerable, though not to the same extent nor by the same exploits as Intel chips.

While the immediate impact may be slim, the long-term repercussions of this revelation may be significant. The world's major chip manufacturers may be facing a black swan event once hackers devise attacks that could legitimately effect computers and servers worldwide, for years.

Traders were not on the defensive, however, as the lure of early gains overwhelmed any concerns for troubles ahead, such as the massive snowstorm and bitter cold that is expected to affect most of the Northeast in days ahead. The storm - being called a Bomb Cyclone - is primarily focused off the Eastern coast of mainland North America, though New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts were making preparations for a major winter weather event which has already bettered Southern cities such as Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA.

The apparent complacency of equity speculators is somewhat confounding, given the potential for severe disruptions from weather and technology in coming days.

On the other end of the asset spectrum, precious metals responded to a slight rise in the dollar index, blunting a strong run for gold and silver over the past three weeks, though the selling seemed to be transitory, with the metals recovering early on Thursday morning as the dollar fell to fresh lows (91.933).

On Thursday morning, prior to the opening bell on Wall Street, ADP private payroll data for December showed a massive 250,000 job gain for the final month of 2017. While the AMD numbers are preliminary and subject to revision, they are sending a strong signal in advance of Friday's BLS non-farm payroll dataset for December.

With caution being thrown largely to the (bitterly cold) wind, Friday and/or Monday could be a day of "selling the news," or, as has been the case for the past nine years, the stock market rally will not be impeded by facts nor insinuations of negativity.

At the Close, Wednesday, January 3, 2018:
Dow: 24,922.68, +98.67 (+0.40%)
NASDAQ: 7,065.53, +58.63 (+0.84%)
S&P 500: 2,713.06, +17.25 (+0.64%)
NYSE Composite: 12,957.28, +54.55 (+0.42%)
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