Entries in Stock Markets (131)


Federal Reserve Split on When to Halt QE3; Markets End the Day Slightly Lower

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Members of the Federal Reserve are split on whether to keep stimulating the economy until the end of 2013, according to minutes from a Fed meeting released Thursday afternoon.  Some members of the Fed believe that QE3 measures to boost the U.S. economy should be pulled back before the end of the year.
Economist Diane Swonk says that it's important for the Fed to get on record that there is some debate, but she thinks that QE3 measures will last until 2013 if not well into 2014, unless the unemployment rate gets to or below 7 percent.  The current unemployment rate is 7.7 percent, with new data due Friday morning.
In a previous announcement the Fed said that it expects to keep interest rates low until unemployment falls below 6.5 percent.   This was the first time in its history that the Fed set specific targets for its monetary policy.
Now the Fed is making public debate about how long QE3 will last.  It said it will continue QE3 until there is a substantial improvement in the labor market without defining what substantial improvement means.

So what does QE3 mean for you?

  • Your 401K will fare well because this move likely boosts stock prices.
  • Home Mortgages: Rock-bottom rates will likely last for the foreseeable future.  So this is a great time to buy if you can get a loan.  Buying mortgage-backed securities may end up encouraging banks to give out more home loans.

The markets moved a bit lower on the release of the Fed's meeting minutes, but have since recovered some of their loses.  The Dow closed down 21 points, while the S&P and Nasdaq lost three and 11 points, respectively.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Markets Surge After Fiscal Cliff Deal

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street is poised to get a big bounce on Wednesday after the House passed the Senate’s fiscal cliff agreement.

U.S. stock futures shot up after the drama finally ended late Tuesday.  Economists had warned hundreds of billions of dollars in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts could have triggered a U.S. recession this year.

Overseas, several leading European averages are up 2 percent on Wednesday as a result of the news.  Australian and Hong Kong stock indexes closed overnight at their highest levels since June 2011.

The vote brings tax increases on high earners for the first time in 20 years.  Single taxpayers earning more than $400,000 and couples over $450,000 will see their top marginal tax rate go up.  The wealthiest Americans will also pay more on capital gains and dividends.

The fiscal cliff deal stops income tax hikes for more than 98 percent of taxpayers.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


White House Fiscal Talks Give Stocks a Boost

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stocks called it a week with a bit of a bounce Friday. The indexes had been in a slump since last week's presidential election, but jumped Friday on news from the White House that fiscal talks among bipartisan leadership were "constructive."
The Dow closed at 12,588.31, up 46 points. The Nasdaq gained 16 points, closing the session at 2,853.13. The S&P added seven points, ending the week at 1,359.88.
Investors kept a watchful eye on budget talks at the White House with House and Senate leaders.  The clock is ticking down toward a Jan. 1 "fiscal cliff," when automatic tax hikes for all Americans and deep government spending cuts are set to take effect unless a deal is reached before then.
Meanwhile, the federal agency that insures mortgages for millions of low- and middle-income borrowers is facing losses of more than $16 billion and may require taxpayer support.  Government officials say the Federal Housing Administration has enough cash to pay insurance claims against mortgage defaults.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stocks Rise as Markets Open After Hurricane Sandy

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks opened up Wednesday morning after being closed for two days because of Hurricane Sandy -- the longest weather-related closure since the blizzard of 1888 struck New York.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.49 percent to 13,172 after trading resumed at 9:30 A.M. eastern time, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg ringing the opening bell.

Concerned about safety, NYSE Euronext had decided to close trading due to Hurricane Sandy for the last two days, the first time in over 100 years that stock trading was closed for two straight days due to weather.

Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist with Janney Capital Markets, said from the perspective of the fixed income markets, “Sandy was little more than a blip, albeit a 1,000 mile wide one.”

The bond markets were open for a half day on Monday, with the lowest volume session in nearly four years, and were closed on Tuesday.

However, trading opened as usual in Tokyo and London.

“The challenge today will be the logistics of traders getting to the office, so activity is likely to be somewhat subdued, particularly in the morning,” LeBas said.  “Moreover, a lot of new issuance has been postponed, which has a further impact of slowing corporate and municipal bond trading activity.  The lasting impacts of Sandy are likely to be more economic in nature."

"Two days of lost productivity plus the expense of damaged infrastructure will have a negative short-term impact on economic growth, though in future months and quarters, the US economy should benefit from construction and rebuilding,” he continued.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stock Markets Up on News of Spanish Bailout Agreement

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Global stock markets are mostly higher Tuesday morning after European finance ministers made progress on easing Spain's banking crisis.

They agreed to make as much as $30 billion available to Spanish banks by the end of this month.  The rescue had been called for after the banks were weakened by toxic loans from a collapsed property market.

After the agreement was announced, yields on 10-year Spanish government bonds fell below 7 percent.  The news also pushed European markets and U.S. stock futures up.

The finance ministers will need the approval of their respective governments before they can finalize the agreement on July 20, when they return to Brussels.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stocks Down Amid Bleak Economic Prospects

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As fears about Europe persist, U.S. stock markets followed a selloff in Europe today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending the day at 12,502.66, down 138.12 points, or 1.09 percent.

There was more troubling news out of Europe today — Greece’s new finance minister had to step down because of an illness, Cyprus asked for a bailout, Spain’s banking crisis remains murky and expectations are low that European leaders will have any grand plan to deal with all of this.

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ ended the day lower as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Asian Markets Rally After Greek Election Results

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Asian markets rallied Monday morning after voters in Greece narrowly backed pro-bailout parties in the country's weekend election.

The New Democracy party squeaked by the leftist Syriza bloc in Sunday's historic vote, 29.5 percent to 27.1 percent.  The result makes it less likely that Greece will soon make a disorderly exit out of the single currency euro zone.

In response, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 soared 1.96 percent, South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.81 percent, Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.77 percent, and Taiwan’s Taiex climbed 1.76 percent.  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shot up by 1.01 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite  gained 0.40 percent.

Still, the news in Greece wasn't enough to boost markets elsewhere.  Yields on 10-year Spanish bonds moved above 7 percent Monday morning, adding to fears that Spain might be the next euro zone country to need a full bailout.

As a result, U.S. stock futures were mostly lower ahead of Monday's opening bell.  Over in Europe, stocks dropped, losing gains they had made earlier in the day.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Continued Uncertainty for Greece Leads to Mixed Stocks

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The markets appeared to lack direction Monday as Greece, once again, held sway over the financial trading. Greece's newly issued bonds traded at rates suggesting fears of a default have not gone away. As Europe prepares the final touches on a massive bailout for Greece, investors traded with more uncertainty, leading to mixed results for stocks.

The Dow gained 38 points Monday to close at 12,960, while the S&P closed just up a fraction of a point.  The Nasdaq fell off 4.68 points.

Meanwhile, the U.S. federal deficit was slightly smaller through the first five months of the budget year than the previous year. Still, the imbalance is on pace to exceed $1 trillion for the fourth straight year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Greece Deal Boosts US Stocks to Highest Level Since 2008

Hemera/Thinkstock/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Dow Jones industrial average closed up Tuesday after hitting the intra-day high of 13,000 for the first time since May 2008. The stock index is at a nearly four-year high, closing just under 13,000.

The Dow closed at 12,967, up 0.13 percent, while the S&P 500 closed at 1,362, up 0.08 percent.

Paul Larson, chief equities strategist for investment firm Morningstar, said the 13,000 mark was an arbitrary number without much intrinsic value to the markets. Still, it is twice the intra-day market low of 6,440 at the height of the recession on March 9, 2009.

The Dow opened the morning at 12,980 while the S&P 500 opened to 1,364, which was that index's highest close since 2008. The Dow Jones industrial average closed Friday at 12,950, up 0.35 percent, and the S&P 500 closed at 1,361.

With European finance ministers agreeing to a new bailout package for Greece, all eyes were watching whether the Dow would pass the psychological threshold of 13,000 after being closed Monday in honor of Presidents Day. The index briefly passed the mark shortly before 11:30 a.m. ET before returning to about 12,995.

"There's nothing magical about the 13,000 level, but it could help boost investor sentiment to some extent," Scott Brown, an economist with Raymond James, said.

Early Tuesday morning, eurozone finance ministers finished seven months of deliberating in Brussels and agreed to a bailout plan for Greece of 130 billion euros, or about $171.5 billion, its second in three years. Martin Koehring, an economist for the Economist Intelligence Unit, said that without the bailout, Greece faced the prospect of defaulting on a 14.5 billion euro, or about $19.1 billion, bond redemption due by March 20.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Stocks Lower at Close; Oil Futures Down

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stocks start the week in negative territory with the Dow closing down 17, the S&P off less than a point and a four-point loss for the Nasdaq.

Though oil futures were down nearly $1 -- closing at just under $97 a barrel -- gasoline prices are going up. Gas has gone up 19 cents in the past four weeks to $3.48, and higher-than-usual increases could be seen as the peak demand seasons approach.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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