201302.24
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A Closer Look: World Markets

In mid-November, the S&P 500 ((IVV)) had just finished breaking its 200-day moving average on its way to a multi-year low at the 1343 level. Since then, the index has been on a tear, gaining over 13% in a little over 3 months. It finds itself at a critical stage though, battling to stay above…

201302.24
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Sequester The Fed

“If Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness. It will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research. It won’t consider whether we’re cutting some bloated program that has outlived its usefulness or a vital service that Americans depend on every single day.” President Obama on…

201302.22
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Europe’s Debtor Prison, Part 2

“According to ABI the value of total loans issued, 1.467 billion euros, represented a 2.5% drop on the December value and was largely the result of the continuing recession in Italy. “Meanwhile, for the current year ABI researchers said their forecasts of a 0.6% contraction in the economy would likely be revised for the worse…

201302.20
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Europe’s Debtor Prison

Last November, the Spanish government withdrew €4 billion from the state’s Social Security reserve fund to pay pension obligations. That followed a €3 billion withdrawal just two months before, in September 2012, to cover “unspecified” needs at the Spanish treasury. It was also disclosed that the Social Security fund had allocated over 90%, about €65…

201302.18
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A Closer Look: Market Style

The Standard & Poor’s 500 is a stock market index based on the common stock prices of the biggest 500 publicly traded American companies. The S&P 500 ((IVV)) successfully bounced off the 50-day moving average at the end of 2012 on it way to making new multi-year highs throughout January and into February.  However, while…

201302.17
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Goldilocks Or The Big Bad Bear?

Once upon a time in a commentary long, long ago I said that we’d know the US economy was on the right track when we saw three conditions simultaneously: rising stocks, a rising dollar and a falling gold price. Those three conditions – sustained – would indicate that the market is anticipating better growth and…

201302.14
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Retail Sales Show the Splitting Economy

Year over year retail sales in January were the best in a few months, but on an adjusted basis were rather lackluster. Again, I don’t find the pursuit of month-to-month precision illuminating and it has clearly caused disconnects between adjusted and unadjusted data (I know, a recurring theme). The adjustment factor (the divisor) for January…

201302.10
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A Closer Look: Market Cap

The S&P 500 Cap-Weighted Index ((IVV)) has had an scotching start to the year. The index bounced off the 50-day moving average in emphatic fashion, blowing through the 1400 level en route to the 1520 in a little over a month. The index is up 6.57% for all of 2013. The S&P 500 Equal-Weighted index…

201302.10
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State Of The Union

The President will deliver the State of the Union address Tuesday night. He will probably offer a laundry list of programs that he’d like to spend more money on and the Republicans will respond with a laundry list of reasons why the President’s list is a bad idea. The President will say that he intends…