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(1 vote)
2013 was the best year for auto makers in the United States since the events of 2007-08. Consumers who had held off on auto purchases because of economic uncertainties finally decided to invest in new vehicles. One of the auto companies with the most impressive year was Ford (NYSE: F), whose retail sales gained 13% on 2013. The Ford F-Series continued its 32 year streak of being the top selling automobile, as Ford had a great year all around. For the year 2013, Ford is projected to earn a net income of around $8B, including a decade best $2.1B in Q1 2013 driven by North American sales.

 

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(3 votes)
Along with most of the stock market in 2013, PNC (NYSE:PNC) had a terrific year. The stock went from $60 with minor bumps along the way to its current price at the time of this writing of $78.77. The bank has grown significantly since the credit crisis with acquisitions of National City in 2008 and more recently RBC's branches in the southeast. Currently, in terms of deposits, the bank is the 6th largest in the United States, placing it on the border of a national and regional bank.

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(4 votes)
In a week shortened by Christmas, a flurry of economic data seemed to support the Fed's decision to begin tapering next month. Consumer spending was up in November by 0.5%. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index was up from 75.2 to 82.5, on retailer discounts and stronger views on the economy.

Orders of durable goods in November were up 3.5%, beating expectations. The core number, excluding aircraft purchases, showed that orders increased by 4.5%. New home sales fell slightly in November to 464,000, but a revision to 474,000 for October showed the fastest pace of sales since 2008. Jobless claims dropped 42,000 to 338,000.

The government of China revealed that 2013 GDP grew at a pace of 7.6%, slightly better than targets of 7.5% as the growth of the economy continues to slow amid the government's agenda for more sustainable growth.

The Dow and S&P finished the week higher, despite pullbacks on Friday. The indices closed at 16,478.41 and 1,841.40 respectively. Twitter (TWTR), dropped over 10% on Friday following a downgrade by Macquarie. The stock has surged since its IPO price of $26, despite posting losses. Shares of Twitter closed Friday at $63.75.

The Nikkei closed at 16,178.21, topping 16,000 for the first time in 6 years. The index continues it meteoric rise following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's aggressive policies to spark the Japanese economy.

The 10yr Treasury Note Yield broke 3% for the first time in over two years. The benchmark rate has risen since the Fed's decision to begin tapering in January earlier this month. The 2yr Note and 30yr Bond finished the week with yields of 0.39% and 3.94% respectively.

WTI Crude for January delivery closed at $100.32, for the first time in two months as inventories dropped unexpectedly due to increased demand. The recent cold weather has sparked rallies in energy commodities. Natural gas has surged since November; natural gas for January delivery finished the week at $4.37. Gold capped the longest rally in four months, as contracts for delivery in February closed the week at 1,214.00. Gold has dropped almost 30% this year amid stronger signs of economic growth. The metal is headed for its first decline since 2000.

The Euro reached its highest level against the dollar in almost two years finished the week at $1.3749, reaching as high as $1.39 during the trading day on Friday. The US dollar advanced against the Yen for the week, finished the week at 105.1700.

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(1 vote)
Strong economic data reversed the course of the markets on Friday. The US economy added 203,000 jobs in November compared to expectations of 185,000. The unemployment rate unexpectedly decreased from 7.2% to 7.0%. The participation rate also crept up from 62.8% to 63.0%. The jobs report further fueled speculation of a taper by the Federal Reserve as early as the upcoming December FOMC meeting. The University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index surged to 82.5 from 75.1, the highest headline number in five months.

 US stocks rebounded on Friday, following a week of declines. The S&P 500 and Dow erased most of the week's declines, closing at 1,805.09 and 16,020.20 respectively. Friday's gains provided more evidence that the market is moving away from its "good news is bad news for stocks", as the market becomes more comfortable with the possibility of tapering. The VIX, a measure of the implied volatility in S&P 500 options, declined to 8.6% snapping an eight day streak of gains.

Following the jobs report, the 10yr Treasury note fell as the yield rose to 2.86% approaching the highs of September. The 2yr note yield finished the week at 0.30%, staying relatively stable due to Ben Bernanke's pledge of keeping short term rates low for the foreseeable future. The 30yr bond finished the week with a yield of 3.89%. The 2yr, 10yr, and 30yr swap rates finished the week at 0.40%, 2.94%, and 3.83% respectively.

The dollar gained against the Yen to ¥102.91 following the strong jobs number. The Euro saw support from the ECB's decision to not implement negative interest rates which the market had initially expected, closing the week at $1.37.

WTI Crude for January delivery finished the week at $97.65, capping off the biggest weekly gain since July. Gold approached $1,200, as the metal for January delivery closed at $1,229.

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(4 votes)
In the mid-1980s, during the Great Moderation, the central bank's main tool of controlling inflation was the short-term interest rate. Conventional monetary policy was to steer short-term rates to help stabilize prices and influence business investment, especially bank lending in the private sector. Moving the rates up would dissuade from borrowing and help curb inflation, while moving them down would loosen credit and encourage growth and employment. Through this method, the standard deviation of inflation was reduced by two-thirds, and a low inflation was sustained for a decade.

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(1 vote)
Again, economic data headlined the week. Following the strong ISM manufacturing results of last week, the non-manufacturing index increased to 55.4 from 54.4 for October. According to a Bloomberg survey, estimates had the index dropping to 54.

 3Q GDP increased by 2.8%, surpassing last quarter's growth of 2.5%. Expectations had GDP lower than last quarter partly because of the government shutdown. However, GDP growth was significantly influenced by inventory gains from businesses. Without inventory gains, 3Q GDP growth would have measured at 2.0%, compared to 2.1% from 2Q. Growth is likely to fall if businesses are unable to reduce their inventories.

The ECB decided to cut its primary interest rate from 0.5% to 0.25% amid concerns of deflation. The most recent Euro-zone inflation report showed a disappointing annualized rate of 0.7%, compared to the ECB target of 2%. The move further promotes ECB President Mario Draghi as a proactive defender of the Euro.

Non-farm payrolls blew past estimates as the US economy added 204,000 jobs compared to expectations of 120,000. Upward revisions were also made to the August and September numbers. Retail and hospitality sector gains were the largest contributors to the number. The unemployment rate rose from 7.2% to 7.3%, primarily attributed to the "temporary layoff" effects of the government shutdown. The participation rate fell further, settling at 62.8% from 63.2%. According to Zero Hedge, if the rate in the decline of the participation rate continues for the next four years, the pool of those not in the labor force will be higher than those in the labor force. Despite this, the week's stronger than expected economic data has again put "taper talk" back in the spotlight.

US equities rose for the week with the Dow closing at a new record of 15,761.78. The S&P 500 finished the week at 1770.61. Given the rally in equities following the stronger than expected economic data, the market seems to have strayed from its "good news is bad news" mentality that was the theme of stocks over the summer. Disney released fiscal 4Q earnings that topped estimates on strong results from their theme parks and consumer products. However, their network business disappointed. The company reported net income for the quarter of $1.39B vs. $1.24B from last year. Shares ended the week slightly down for the week, closing at $68.58. Twitter's highly anticipated IPO smashed expectations, as its share price increased 73% on its first day of trading to $44.90 from its IPO price of $26. The social media company closed the week at $41.65.

Treasury yields shot up on Friday following the release of the employment data on the return of tapering concerns. The 10yr Note yield ended the week at 2.746%, up 0.127% for the week. The 30yr Bond and 2yr Note finished the week with yields of 3.85% and 0.31% respectively.

The US dollar rose against the Yen and Euro, finishing the week at levels of ¥99.07 and $1.3369 respectively. Stronger than expected economic data drove the dollar's appreciation, while the ECB's rate cut pushed the Euro lower.

Crude finished the week flat at $94.60, for December delivery. The December contract of Gold fell to $1,284.50, following the stronger than expected US economic data. Corn, for December delivery, increased to $426.75, following reports that the year's crop will be less than expected.

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(3 votes)
The past week was filled with economic data, as well as earnings reports from big name companies including Facebook (FB) and Apple (AAPL).

 The Case-Shiller Index through August showed an increase of 12.8% , which was the fastest rise since February of 2006. However, the index showed a disappointing 1.3% increase month to month, compared to 1.8% previously. Rising rates from the summer as well as weak job growth took a hit on the housing market.

The FOMC met on Tuesday and Wednesday, in line with market expectations with keeping the $85 billion of bond purchases per month, and keeping the target rate between 0.00% and 0.25%. However, the FOMC surprised many by stating that there was underlying strength in the economy despite the government shutdown of recent weeks. Tapering still remains a possibility in December when many market participants believed that the Federal Reserve would delay well into 2014.

On Friday, the ISM (Institute of Supply Management) said that its factory index rose to 56.4, the best showing since 2011. The data release added to the tone that the FOMC set earlier in the week.

The S&P 500 finished the week higher, closing at 1,761.64. The Dow also closed higher for the week, finishing at 15,615.55. Facebook (FB) released quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates on increased mobile advertisement revenue. Revenue was up 60% from a year ago to $2.2 billion. Shares significantly jumped following the release, but settled lower for the week following details of the release as the same concerns of further revenue growth were raised. Facebook share closed at $49.75. Apple (AAPL) released its earnings for the quarter, showing a decline from a year earlier at $8.26 a share vs. $8.67 last year. Although revenue grew, driven by IPhone sales, margins have tightened. Apple shares closed at $520.03.

The 10yr Note yield finished the week at 2.62%, its highest since the middle of month. Stronger than expected economic data as well as the FOMC's statement of underlying strength in the economy led many to reconsider their stance in a delayed taper. The 2yr Note finished the week at 0.31%.

WTI Crude for December delivery fell to $94.61, its lowest settlement price since June. New supply has poured in from the recent US oil boom, and demand concerns have been raised with the Federal Reserve potentially tapering earlier than expected. Following the tone of the FOMC and better than expected economic data, the dollar gained against the Yen, finishing the week at an exchange rate of $98.67. The Euro slipped against the dollar for the week, finishing at €1.3467.

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(1 vote)
Economic:

10/30 – CPI Report for the month of September. Analysts expect a small change of an increase of 0.1% from August.
10/30 – FOMC Rate Decision. The first since the government shutdown, no expectation for an announcement to taper its bond buying.

Earnings Reports:

10/28 - After Market – Apple Inc. (AAPL)
• Wall St Est- $7.93 EPS

10/29 - Pre Market-Pfizer Inc. (PFE)
• Wall St Est- 0.56 EPS

10/29 – After Market- Yelp! Inc. (YElp)
• Wall St Est- $-0.01 EPS

10/30 – After Market- Facebook Inc. (FB)
• Wall St Est- $0.18 EPS

10/30 - After Market –Starbuck Corp. (SBUX)
• Wall St Est- $0.60 EPS

10/31- Pre Market – Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)
• Wall St Est- $1.78 EPS

10/31 – After Market – First Solar Inc. (FSLR)
• Wall St Est- $1.27 EPS

11/1 - Pre Market – Chevron Corp. (CVX)
• Wall St Est- $2.73 EPS

Treasury Auctions:

10/31 – 3 Month Bill, 6 Month Bill

Markets:

Dow Jones Industrial Average - 15,570.28 (+1.11% for the week)
S&P 500 - 1,759.77 (+0.88%)
VIX S&P 500 – 13.09 (+0.38%)
NASDAQ - 3,943.36 (+0.37%)

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(1 vote)
Economic:

No significant economic reports release this week.

 Ongoing:

• Current debt ceiling discussion within Congress. The projected deadline of the US being able to borrow is October 17th, when it it's the 17 trillion dollar borrowing limit.

Earnings Reports:

10/14-Pre Market –Citigroup Inc. (C)
• Wall St Est- $1.05 EPS

10/14-PreMarket- Johnson & Johnson. (JNJ)
• Wall St Est- 1.32 EPS

10/14 -Pre Market- The Coca-Cola Co. (KO)
• Wall St Est- $0.50 EPS

10/14 - After Market –Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)
• Wall St Est- $0.28 EPS

10/15- Pre Market – Bank of America Corp. (BAC)
• Wall St Est- $0.19 EPS

10/17-Pre Market – Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)
• Wall St Est- $2.85 EPS

10/17-After Market – Google INC. (GOOG)
• Wall St Est- $8.46 EPS

10/18-Pre Market – Morgan Stanley. (MS)
• Wall St Est- $0.44 EPS

Treasury Auctions:

10/17 – 3 Month Bill, 6 Month Bill

Markets:

Dow Jones Industrial Average - 15,237.11 (+1.09% for the week)
S&P 500 - 1,703.20(+0.75%)
NASDAQ - 3,791.86 (-0.42%)

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(1 vote)
Economic:

No significant economic reports release this week.

10/11 – 10/13 – The annual meeting between the IMF and World Bank take place in Washington DC. Discussions will be based on the current US financial situation and how the world can limit their risk from it.

Ongoing:

• Current debt ceiling discussion within Congress. The projected deadline of the US being able to borrow is October 17th, when it it's the 17 trillion dollar borrowing limit.

Earnings Reports:

10/8-After Market –Alcoa Inc. (AA)
• Wall St Est- $0.09 EPS

10/8-After Market- Yum! Brands Inc. (YUM)
• Wall St Est- $0.92 EPS

10/9 -Before Market- Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST)
• Wall St Est- $1.47 EPS

10/10 - After Market – Micron Technology Inc. (MU)
• Wall St Est- $0.24 EPS

10/11 - Pre Market – Wells Fargo & Co.(WFC)
• Wall St Est- $0.97 EPS

10/10-Pre Market – JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)
• Wall St Est- $1.27 EPS

Treasury Auctions:

10/10 – 1Y Bill, 6 Month Bill

Markets:

Dow Jones Industrial Average - 15,072.58 (- 1.67% for the week)
S&P 500 - 1,690.50(-0.48%)
NASDAQ - 3,807.75 (+ 0.54%)

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(1 vote)
The US government opted to shut down as Democrats and Republicans could not come to an agreement regarding the budget – the battle continues ahead of the much more impactful debt ceiling debacle. If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the US Treasury will run out of cash to fund government operations, including a potential default on government debt, which will prove catastrophic for markets. According to some estimates, a one week closure of the government would shave off about 0.1% of GDP, primarily loss from employee salaries. For the most part, markets responded relatively calmly to the government shutdown.

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