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12/18 U.S. stocks soar as Fed’s ‘patience’ fuels rally

Administrator - Thursday, 18 December 2014 07:59

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Nasdaq Scans 12/18:
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Active Options 12/18
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ScreenHunter_20 Dec. 18 16.25
U.S. stocks score biggest gains in years
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The U.S. stock market surged on Thursday, with the main indexes recording their best one-day gains in years, as investors continued to cheer the Federal Reserve’s accomodative approach to monetary policy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 421 points, or 2.4%, to 17,778.15, a day after the Federal Reserve said it “can be patient” about the timing of its first rate hike, signaling increases will be slow and steady. It was the first time in more than six years that the Dow recorded two consecutive days of gains exceeding 200 points. The S&P 500 SPX, +2.40% jumped 48.34 points, or 2.4%, to 2,061.23, it’s biggest one-day gain in nearly two years. Technology and healthcare sectors led the gains, while all ten main sectors ended the session with solid gains. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +2.24% ended the day with a gain of 104 points, or 2.2%, at 4,748.

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ScreenHunter_21 Dec. 18 16.32

Gold rises 2 pct as Fed takes patient stance on rate hike
Gold climbed more than 2 percent on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would take a patient approach toward raising interest rates, lifting stock markets and commodities while dampening the dollar.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the Fed was unlikely to hike rates for “at least a couple of meetings”, meaning April of next year at the earliest.

Rising U.S. interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing assets such as gold, and also lift the dollar, in which the metal is priced. The dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Thursday.

Spot gold was up 1.8 percent at $1,209.46 an ounce by 1043 GMT. On Wednesday, it fell as far as $1,183.73, its lowest since Dec. 1.

A break of stops above $1,200 an ounce sparked a rally in gold in early European trade, said Afshin Nabavi, head of trading at MKS, sending prices to a peak of $1,212.80 an ounce.

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ScreenHunter_04 Dec. 18 10.36

U.S. stocks soar as Fed’s ‘patience’ fuels rally
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The U.S. stock market rallied on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve said it “can be patient” about the timing of its first rate hike, signalling increases will be slow and steady.

The FOMC statement following its two-day policy setting meeting sent indexes soaring on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 scoring its biggest one-day gain of the year. Indexes appear to be building on those gains, with one of the strongest opening gains this year.

The S&P 500 SPX, +1.36%   rallied, with gains across the board. Technology and energy sectors were leading the move higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.33%   jumped more than 200 points, with all 30 of its components trading up.

The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +1.43%   surged, as technology companies recorded big gains.

In economic news, a weekly jobless claims report came in stronger than expected, confirming the Fed’s view that the economy is strengthening. Claims fell by 6,000 to 289,000, a low level typically associated with strong hiring.

Separately, Philadelphia Fed survey on business conditions was mostly in line with expectations, while leading economic index rose as expected in November.

A positive day in commodity markets, with oil prices rising for the third consecutive day, also contributed to rising optimism among equity investors.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-futures-cautiously-higher-on-mild-post-fed-optimism-2014-12-18

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[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]
Gold gets lift from Fed statement
LONDON (MarketWatch) — Gold prices moved back above the $1,200 mark on Thursday, catching a lift from some dovish words from the Federal Reserve. Leading up to the statement, gold had steadily weakened on the prospects of the central bank shortening the timeline on higher interest rates.
At last check, gold for February delivery GCG5, +0.69%  was up $14.10, or 1.2%, to $1,208.90 an ounce. March silver SIH5, +0.61%  added 26 cents, or 1.6%, to $16.18 an ounce.

A day earlier, gold put an end to its five-day losing streak with a slight advance that didn’t quite take prices above the key $1,200 mark. The Fed dropped the pledge to keep rates close to zero for a “considerable time” and replaced it with new language that the U.S. central bank “can be patient in beginning” to tighten monetary policy.

“The FOMC statement was deemed by gold market traders to be slightly bullish, judging from the modest gains seen right after the statement was released,” said Kitco’s Jim Wyckoff. “The market place is still very concerned about the Russian ruble’s sharp drop this week.”  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-gets-minimal-lift-from-fed-statement-2014-12-18

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U.S. stocks: Futures rally as market cheers a ‘less-aggressive’ Fed
MADRID (MarketWatch) — U.S. stock futures pointed to a powerful opening rally for Wall Street on Thursday, as global markets and other assets soared on the view that the Federal Reserve will take a slow and steady approach to rising interest rates after its last meeting of the year.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJH5, +1.10%  surged 205 points, or 1.2%, to 17,497, while those for the S&P 500 index SPH5, +1.19%  jumped 25.20 points, or 1.3%, to 2,033.40. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index NDH5, +1.42%  climbed 59.50 points, or 1.4%, to 4,218.50.

Markets appeared to be picking where they left off on Wednesday, after the Federal Open Market Committee said it “can be patient” about the timing of its first rate hike, modifying the “considerable time” language. Buoyed as well by energy gains, the Dow industrials DJIA, +1.69%  jumped 1.7% and the S&P 500 SPX, +2.04% surged 2% — the best one-day gains for both indexes in 2014.

Take it and run: “The truth is that you can take what you need from yesterday’s FOMC song and dance, but the key take-away for traders was that less-aggressive outlook for the Fed Funds rate forecast by FOMC members for the end of 2015……..Take ‘em, and bid it,” said Stephen Guilfoyle, chief economist at Sarge986.com, in a note.

Speaking after the statement, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen warned markets not to expect the “measured pace” type of tightening seen from 2004 to 2006, saying the Fed’s moves will be data-dependent. Not all were convinced this marked a dovish tone.

“We would speculate that the equity rally in the final hour of trading was more likely related to models-buying equities, as bonds sold off, than anything Chair Yellen said. She didn’t push normalization out — if anything, she opened a window to do it sooner,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist with Jones Trading.

Global markets picked up the baton, with an upbeat business-sentiment survey from Germany lending a hand and helping drive a 2% rally for the Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +2.15% Asian stocks gained as well, with the Nikkei 225 index NIK, +2.32%  surging more than 2%.

A trio of data due Thursday is expected to confirm the Fed’s view that the economy is strengthening. Weekly jobless claims is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, while a Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing survey and leading indicators for November are expected at 10 a.m. Eastern.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-futures-cautiously-higher-on-mild-post-fed-optimism-2014-12-18

12/17 U.S. stocks move off highs as Fed chairwoman speaks

Administrator - Wednesday, 17 December 2014 07:45

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After-hours buzz: Avon, Oracle, Jabil, Hertz & more

Avon Products – The maker of beauty supplies agreed to pay $135 million to settle civil and criminal charges related to a bribery scheme involving its China unit.

GT Advanced Technologies – The company, which sought bankruptcy protection in October, said it believes it has settled a dispute with Apple. Its shares fell in after-hours trading.

Herman Miller – The maker of office furniture dropped in extended-hours trading after offering a downbeat outlook.

AK Steel – Shares soared after the company said it expects shipments to rise some 37 percent, quarter-over-quarter, citing recent acquisitions and strong auto demand. The stock was last up a more than 6 percent in extended-hours trading.

Jabil Circuit – The Apple supplier said it expects current-quarter revenue to come in above Wall Street estimates, boosted by impressive sales of Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 plus. The mobile casings maker also forecast for its sales to increase 53 percent during the second quarter, which ends Feb. 28. The stock jumped as much as 6 percent before cooling in after-hours trading.

Hertz – Shares rose nearly 4 percent after Carl Icahn disclosed that he purchased 2.63 million more shares of the holding company, upping his stake from 10.77 percent to 11.34 percent.

Oracle – The technology provider delivered quarterly earnings and revenue results that topped Street projections—halting a three-quarter losing streak. The stock was last up more than 4 percent in extended trading.

Herbalife – The stock edged lower after one of the company’s top salesman said that most people who sell the company’s weight loss and nutrition products are doomed to fail, according to Reuters.

Zoetis – The animal-health company raised its quarterly dividend by 15 percent.

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ScreenHunter_13 Dec. 17 17.16

U.S. stocks move off highs as Fed chairwoman speaks
“Considerable time” language replaced with “can be patient”
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. stocks shot up in a knee-jerk reaction after the Federal Reserve statement, which replaced the ‘considerable time’ with ‘can be patient’ wording.

But as the Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen began her press conference, indexes came off session highs, but looked on track to end the day with solid gains. Yellen appeared upbeat about the state of the U.S. economy but noted that there was room for improvement.

She noted that inflation is running below the Fed’s 2% target inflation rate but expects to see normalization. She also suggested that the recent slump in oil may be fleeting, referring to crude oil price moves as possibly “transitory.”

The Federal Reserve included language in its policy statement that indicated that central bank is prepared to hike interest rates as early as the middle of next year, but will be “patient” as it forges a path toward monetary tightening.

The Fed dropped the “considerable time” language in its statement and replaced it with new language that the U.S. central bank “can be patient in beginning” to tighten monetary policy.

The S&P 500 SPX, +2.04%   moved higher. The energy sector jumped by nearly 3%, as oil prices reversed earlier losses. All 10 main sectors were trading higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.69% had jumped 300 points, shortly after the statement, though pared back during Yellen’s comments.

Chevron Corp. CVX, +4.25%   and Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM, +3.02%  were leading the gains. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +2.12%  also rose sharply, let by big gains in the technology names.

Jeffrey MacDonald, senior portfolio manager at Fiduciary Trust, said the markets were focused on ‘considerable time’ language and the Fed was able stay on message without keeping it.

“The replacement language conveys the same message – that the Fed is data dependent and will continue to monitor the U.S. economy,” MacDonald said.

“It means the Fed will err on the side of being slow at raising rates, which is usually good for risky assets, such as stocks,” he added.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-markets-stock-futures-higher-with-eyes-on-inflation-fed-2014-12-17?link=MW_latest_news

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ScreenHunter_08 Dec. 17 11.44

Stocks rally with energy sector; Dow up 150 points
U.S. stocks climbed on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 bouncing back from a three-session drop, as investors bet that the Federal Reserve would continue to support the U.S. economy while readying for an interest-rate hike.

Energy producers led Wall Street gains, and the price of oil turned higher.

“West Texas has stabilized a bit here. Maybe that’s enough to stop the precipitous decline in oil shares, as that sector was completely washed out,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

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Consumer prices post biggest drop in six years
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The sharp slide in gasoline prices gave another boost to U.S. households in November, as consumer prices fell by the biggest amount in six years and inflation-adjusted take-home pay rose just as the holiday season kicked into high gear.

The consumer price index fell by a seasonally adjusted 0.3% last month to mark the largest drop since December 2008.

ScreenHunter_01 Dec. 17 09.27

Energy costs fell for the fifth straight month, the Labor Department said Wednesday, led by a 6.6% decline in the price of gasoline. Global oil prices have been in a freefall since the end of summer, lowering the cost of gas to less than $2 a gallon in some parts of the country from as high as $3.70 in mid-June.

The cost of food, another major household expense, rose a mild 0.2% in November. Beef shot up 0.8% and rose for the 10th straight month.

Stripping out volatile food and energy costs, so-called core inflation edged up 0.1% last month. Core prices are viewed as a better gauge of long-term trends in consumer inflation.

The pace of inflation over the past 12 months fell to 1.3% in November and is down sharply from 2.1% just five months ago. The growth in the core rate of inflation edged down to 1.7% last month.

Easing consumer prices triggered by the slump in oil continues to improve the financial well-being of Americans, at least temporarily. Average hourly pay adjusted for inflation shot up 0.6% in November.

Real hourly wages are up just 0.8% in the past 12 months, however, so Americans will have to see further gains to encourage them to spend more and boost the overall economy.

Lax inflation also reduces pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise a key short-term interest rate, now at zero, for the first time since 2006. The central bank on Wednesday will offer further clues on when it plans to raise rates after top policymakers conclude their latest strategy session.

Yet despite sharply lower energy prices, consumers still face rising costs in other key areas.

The cost of rent and housing rose 0.3% in November, for example, and it’s up 3% over the past 12 months. Shelter is the single biggest consumer expense.

Medical costs also increased 0.4% — the biggest gain in 15 months — and they are up 2.5% in the past year.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/consumer-prices-post-biggest-drop-in-six-years-2014-12-17

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U.S. stock futures move higher as Fed meeting, inflation come into focus
MADRID (MarketWatch) — U.S. stock futures were rising on Wednesday, as markets appeared to be banking on a less-hawkish Federal Open Market Committee statement, but Russia and oil prices continue to provide an undercurrent of unease.

Many investors remained wary after the turbulence that swept through global markets on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, The Russian ruble was seesawing amid reports that the central bank was selling its foreign currency reserves, and inventory data for oil due later in the session also looms large.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJH5, +0.34% rose 88 points, or 0.5%, to 17,099, while those for the S&P 500 index SPH5, +0.56%  added 13 points, or 0.7%, to 1,978.40. Those for the Nasdaq-100 index NDH5, +0.78%  gained 28.25 points, or 0.7%, to 4,111.54.

The Fed, inflation: Consumer prices for November will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect core prices, which strip out food and energy, to rise 0.2%, while the headline number is seen down 0.1%. Investors will be watching to see what kind of effect falling oil prices have had on the index.

As for the Federal Reserve, the policy decision is due at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, and a news conference with Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen follows at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. If the Fed plays down rate-hike possibilities next year, markets could push higher, said analysts.

Specifically, investors want to see if the Fed will strip the “considerable time” phrase from its statement, which would hint at a more hawkish stance. Investors also want to see if and how Yellen addresses the Russian crisis and plunging oil prices.

But given currency and oil-market turmoil, it’s unclear how much of a gain investors should expect and volatility should surprise no one, said Kelly. “We had a V-shaped recovery from the October lows. Given current conditions, it might be extreme to expect a similar bounce this time around,” she said.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-markets-stock-futures-higher-with-eyes-on-inflation-fed-2014-12-17?link=MW_latest_news

12/16 U.S. stocks wrap wild trading day sharply lower

Administrator - Tuesday, 16 December 2014 06:03

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After-hours buzz: American Apparel, Darden & more

American Apparel – The retailer jumped in after-hours trading when it fired former CEO Dov Charney for “cause.”

Darden Restaurants – The Olive Garden’s parent climbed in after-hours trading after it reported a 4.9 percent gain in quarterly sales.

General Electric – The conglomerate edged higher after projecting a gain of at least 10 percent from its industrial units in 2015.

SeaWorld Entertainment – The theme-park operator delayed declaring its fourth-quarter dividend until January 2015.

Sprint – Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal reported the Federal Communications Commission is readying to fine the telecommunications company a record $105 million over allegations it billed customers for unwanted text alerts and other services. Its shares edged lower in after-hours trading.

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Google leads tech stocks lower
Google shares close at 14-month low
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Shares of Google Inc. led tech stocks lower Tuesday, closing at a 14-month low following a price target cut at J.P. Morgan Chase that questioned the viability of its fundamentals.

Google’s GOOGL, +0.15%  stock closed down 3.4% to $498.16, its lowest close since October 2013. J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth cut his estimates on Google and lowered his price target to $600, although a broader market selloff pushed tech stocks lower across the board.

Twitter Inc. TWTR, +0.20%  closed down 4.6%, Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.09%  down 1.4%, Yelp Inc. YELP, -6.05%  down 6% and Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.05%  down 3.6%.

Yahoo Inc. YHOO, -1.95%  fell 1.9% to $48.85, while Facebook Inc. FB, -0.11%  closed down 3% to $74.69.

Oracle Corp. ORCL, -1.17%  , which is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday, ended the session down 1.2% to $40.63.

Plunging oil prices and a declining ruble played a part in Tuesday’s stock-market declines. In other tech news, Apple reportedly halted online sales in Russia, citing “extreme” ruble fluctuations.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/google-leads-tech-stocks-lower-2014-12-16

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ScreenHunter_357 Dec. 16 18.08

U.S. stocks wrap wild trading day sharply lower
Russia hikes rates to 17%, stocks collapse
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The U.S. stock market suffered some of its most violent price swings since mid-October on Tuesday, as investors wrestled with volatility in oil and growing turmoil in Russia, exemplified by a spectacular decline of the ruble.

Despite the efforts of Russia’s central bank, which hiked the country’s interest rates to 17% overnight, Russia’s currency, the ruble, fell dramatically against the dollar early in the day.

Analysts pointed to combination of volatility in a number of closely connected assets like the dollar, gold and oil as culprits for Tuesday’s gut-churning trading action.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.65% dropped 111.97 points, or 0.7%, to 17,068.87, with more than two-thirds of its components ending with losses. The Dow had been up as much as 230 points at one point during the day.

The S&P 500 SPX, -0.85%  ended at session lows, trading in a range of nearly 45 points. The benchmark index closed 16.89 points, or 0.9%, lower at 1,972.74. Energy-related stocks, which have been battered over the past several weeks, rose more than 1%, and industrials and telecoms also ended higher.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -1.24% dropped 57.32 points, or 1.2%, to 4,547.83 as technology stocks sold off.

The dollar and oil prices swung with traders betting on different outcomes from the key Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which got underway Tuesday and concludes on Wednesday.

Market watchers also pointed to quadruple witching, when a number of derivative contracts expire and investors most reposition their trading portfolios, as one of the contributors to the day’s choppiness.

“This week is a quadruple-witching event – expiration of various index futures and options. Traders are closing positions, which may have resulted in some short-covering, sending prices higher,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial.

Given the recent turmoil in markets, investors are eager to learn what the FOMC may divulge about the pace of its planned interest-rate hikes, or if the Fed might reveal its position through tweaking the wording of its policy statements.

“There are also those who are betting the Fed will not remove ‘considerable time’, or if it does it will substitute with other dovish language. This action would weaken the dollar and give oil some respite,” Krosby added.

Light, sweet crude oil for January delivery CLF5, -0.73%  recovered from a nearly 4% plunge this morning to settle little-changed at $55.93 a barrel. The commodity hit a fresh low of $53.60, at one point during the day.

Brian Fenske, head of sales trading at ITG, said that he is leery about reading too much into the bounce earlier.

He also pointed out that it’s not healthy for the markets when average investors are talking about oil prices and not company-specific fundamentals, “though in the absence of corporate news, markets are at the mercy of macro headlines” he added.

In economic news, housing data and PMI data came in weaker than expected, but data results were overshadowed by concerns about spillover from weaker markets, namely Russia.

Construction started on new U.S. homes declined 1.6% in November, led down by single-family homes, signaling some market shakiness, according to government data released Tuesday. U.S. December Markit flash PMI fell in December to the weakest level in 11 months.

Stocks in focus: Boeing Co. BA, +1.78%  shares rose after the aerospace company said its board lifted the quarterly dividend by 25%.

The energy sector got a boost after oil’s plunge abated slightly. Dimond Offshore Drilling, Inc DO, +3.15%   and Transocean Ltd RIG, +3.26%  rallied.

Shares of Talisman Energy Inc. TLM, +48.07% TLM, +48.05%  soared after Spain’s Repsol SA REP, -0.44%  said it would buy the Canadian energy company in a deal worth $8.3 billion plus debt.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-futures-rise-shaking-off-russian-turmoil-tumbling-oil-2014-12-16?page=2

12/15 U.S. stocks end volatile session lower

Administrator - Monday, 15 December 2014 08:26

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Nasdaq Scans 12/15:
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After-hours buzz: Coca-Cola, Verifone & more

Coca-Cola- The beverage maker said it expects to gain a “currency headwind” of 7 percent on 2014 results. Shares were flat in extended-hours trading.

Verifone- The payment solutions provider swung to a profit as adjusted earnings per share rose 5 percent from a year ago while revenue increased 13 percent. Shares fell nearly 2 percent after the news broke.

Yahoo- The media giant completed its acquisition of BrightRoll, a move it says will enhance overall earnings. The stock was flat in extended-hours trading.

Express Scripts- The stock edged higher after the company said its board had approved it to buy back as many as 65 million additional shares. The company also backed its previously announced full-year 2014 earnings projections.

WellCare- The healthcare provider named its operating chief, Kenneth A. Burdic, as CEO. The stock was flat in after-hours trading.

Casey’s General – The retail chain said November same-store sales for grocery and other merchandise rose 4.7 percent. Shares were unchanged after the announcement.

Energy XXI – The smallcap oil and gas production company increased the size of its board to nine members, sending shares 2 percent higher.

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ScreenHunter_09 Dec. 15 16.22

U.S. stocks end volatile session lower
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. stocks swung wildly before settling lower on Monday, as an unabated fall in oil prices continued to erode investor confidence. Traders also attributed Monday’s swings to a ‘quadruple witching’ event – the week during which various index futures and options expire, unwinding of large positions by funds as well as uncertainty surrounding crude oil prices. The S&P 500 SPX, -0.63% closed 12.71 points, or 0.6%, lower at 1,989.62. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.58% lost 100 points, or 0.6%, to 17,180.84. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -1.04% ended the day with a loss of 48.44 points, or 1%, at 4,605.16.

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Gold slips 2 percent as dollar firms before Fed meeting

ScreenHunter_10 Dec. 15 16.28

Gold fell more than 2 percent on Monday, after posting its biggest weekly gain in two months, as the dollar firmed before a Federal Reserve meeting that could provide clues on the timing of a possible interest rate rise by the U.S. central bank.
The Fed’s meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday follows data pointing to a strengthening economy, which could sharpen the case for the central bank to take a more hawkish stance.
A sooner-than-expected rise in interest rates could boost the dollar and hurt non-interest-bearing bullion.

Spot gold fell to a session low of $1,191 an ounce earlier and was down 2.4 percent at $1,993 an ounce.

The metal climbed 2.6 percent last week, its largest such increase since October but investors were cashing in recent gains after gold failed to breach key resistance convincingly at $1,235.

U.S. gold for February closed $14.80 lower at $1,207.70 an ounce.  http://www.cnbc.com/id/102267406

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Market downturn reaches line in the sand
CINCINNATI (MarketWatch) — The U.S. markets’ December downturn has reached a technical line in the sand.
Consider that each widely-tracked benchmark closed last week on major support, areas that remain under siege with Monday’s downturn.

MW-DB522_201412_20141215092019_NS

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Home-builder confidence stays near nine-year high
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A gauge of confidence among home builders ticked lower in December but remained close to a nine-year high reached three months ago, a sign that home builders are optimistic about the market for single-family homes, according to data released Monday.

MW-DB543_NAHB12_20141215120029_ZH

A gauge of confidence among home builders declined in December by one point to 57, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo reported. The gauge hit a nine-year high of 59 in September.

Readings above 50 signal that builders are generally more optimistic about sales trends. December marks the sixth consecutive month of above-50 readings — a trend that “is consistent with our assessment that we are in a slow march back to normal,” said David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist.

He added: “As we head into 2015, the housing market should continue to recover at a steady, gradual pace.”

Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the gauge to rise to 59 in December from 58 in November.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-builder-confidence-stays-near-nine-year-high-2014-12-15

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U.S. stocks: Futures higher as oil prices rebound
MADRID (MarketWatch) — U.S. stock futures pointed to a stronger open for Wall Street on Monday, as oil prices rose and as strategists said last week’s big move south for stocks was perhaps overdone.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJH5, +0.61%  jumped 108 points, or 0.7%, to 17,299, while those for the S&P 500 SPH5, +0.70%  rose 14.10 points, or 0.7%, to 2,004.50. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index NDH5, +0.82%  surged 33.75 points, or 0.8%, to 4,220.50.

The collapse in oil prices has been scaring investors out of equities. By Friday’s close, the Dow industrials DJIA, -1.79% recorded its worst week of 2014 and its biggest weekly percentage fall since Nov. 2011 — a drop of 3.78%. The S&P 500 index SPX, -1.62% logged its biggest weekly loss since May 2012 — a slide of 3.5%

But given that U.S. growth figures aren’t dour, and if you believe that lower oil prices will stimulate growth, stocks should not be at these levels, some strategists say. “I’d very much hurry back into equities if I had been one of those selling off last week,” said Copenhagen-based Henrik Drusebjerg, chief strategist at Carnegie Investment Bank. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-futures-higher-as-oil-prices-rebound-2014-12-15?dist=beforebell

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[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]
Gold poised for 4th losing session in a row
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Gold prices on Monday were heading toward their fourth-straight session in the red, as the retreat from their recent bounce gathers momentum.
At last check, gold for February delivery GCG5, -1.06%   was down $2.70 to $1,219.70 an ounce, while March silver SIH5, -1.33% lost 10 cents to $16.96 an ounce.

Despite the recent stretch of weakness, the precious metal climbed 3% last week. Investors reacted to weaker-than-expected economic reports from Japan and China, worries about elections in Greece and a slump in global equities markets by seeking safe haven in gold.

The Fed is the top story on the economic front this week, but its new policy statement and updated economic forecasts don’t hit until 2 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday. Until then, we’ll have the Empire State index, industrial production numbers and NAHB builder sentiment to mull today and housing starts due out on Tuesday.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-poised-for-4th-losing-session-in-a-row-2014-12-15?dist=beforebell

12/14 4 reasons collapsing oil prices are rattling stocks

Administrator - Sunday, 14 December 2014 07:43

VeriFone, Honeywell are stocks to watch Monday: http://huntforthenext10bagger.com/stockearnings

4 reasons collapsing oil prices are rattling stocks
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Falling oil prices are supposed to be good news on balance for the U.S. economy. Nevertheless, crude’s astonishingly rapid decline has served to rattle investors, triggering a strong pullback in stocks this week.

On the New York Mercantile exchange crude oil for January delivery settled at a remarkable $57.81, shedding $5.25, since Monday. Here are some of the reasons investors are unsettled by oil’s drop CLF5, -4.10%   to five-and -half year lows:  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/4-reasons-collapsing-oil-prices-are-rattling-stocks-2014-12-12

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Consumers may soon be shopping like it’s 1899
Haggling makes a comeback
Fixed prices may be dying a slow death — at least online — as more retailers are letting us haggle with them to score a lower price. On Tuesday, Amazon AMZN, -0.01%   unveiled its “Make an Offer” feature, which lets shoppers haggle over the prices of select collectible and fine art items. Shoppers submit an offer to a seller to buy an item for less than its listed price (this is different than eBay EBAY, -1.79%  , where shoppers often bid more than the current price) and sellers will respond to that offer — match it, reject it, negotiate an alternative — within 72 hours. “This feature lets you make an offer to buy an item for less than the current price from participating sellers,” Amazon notes. Currently, more than 150,000 items are available for this program.

Amazon joins other retailers trying out a similar strategy on a limited basis. Sears Outlet SHLD, +0.47%   now lets customers negotiate prices on some items in its online stores. When you select certain items and wait a few seconds, a “Make an Offer” button will pop up asking “how much are you willing to pay for this item?” and lets you name a price. And Netotiate, which launched in March 2013 and powers pricing technology like this for retailers (though the pricing negotiations are done by a computer rather than a human, as is the case with Amazon’s offer), says it has reached hundreds of thousands of consumers via a variety of retailers (it says it must keep the list quiet) in the U.S., Europe and South America.

So what’s with the growing popularity of this model? “Bidding is very advantageous in the marketplace for buyers and sellers,” says Catherine Liston-Heyes, an economist at the University of Ottawa and director of its graduate school of public and international affairs, who has studied differential pricing. For sellers, there is the appeal of selling an item — even if it’s at a lower price — rather than having that item linger on the shelves or lowering the price of the item too much when someone might have paid more. And as Keith Anderson, the vice president of strategy and insight for e-commerce and price intelligence firm Profitero points out, it could allow sellers to create more of a relationship with a potential buyer (since they’re engaging in negotiations with buyers) — at least when compared with the traditional click-and-buy online model.

For buyers, there’s the possibility of getting a seemingly great deal — or at least shaving a few bucks off the asking price of something. Plus, “this replicates part of the excitement of haggling,” says Anderson — which for some consumers is almost a sport.

This price negotiation trend might represent an (at least partial) return to a more traditional method of doing business, whereby sellers and buyers negotiate prices rather than depend on fixed prices so much, says Liston-Heyes. “We are going to see more of this,” she says. That’s thanks to technology enabling this type of price haggling to become far more efficient (in other words, technology makes it less costly for retailers to engage in price negotiations, since they don’t need a bunch of auctioneers or staff to deal with each person walking into their store) and the fact that thanks in part to eBay, consumers are now used to bidding for items, she explains.

But others say: Not so fast. “Most people prefer fixed prices,” says Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. “Few want to deal with the back and forth, or the time lag for a negotiated offer.”  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/consumers-may-soon-be-shopping-like-its-1899-2014-12-09

Accumulation Play GRCV

ScreenHunter_05 Dec. 18 11.49

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