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Stocks Take a Break

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Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

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The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) took another breather today after soaring nearly 30% in 2013.

Internet security stocks came into focus today after FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE) announced the $1 billion acquisition of Mandiant. FireEye itself rose a shocking 39%, and other names in the sector, like KEYW Holding (NASDAQ:KEYW), ProofPoint (NASDAQ:PFPT), and Barracuda Networks (NYSE:CUDA) rose as well.

December 2013 auto sales were reported today, and the numbers were generally disappointing.

Ford's (NYSE:F) sales rose 1.7%, which was well below analysts' expectations for a 4.3% gain. General Motors (NYSE:GM) saw a 6.3% year-over-year decline, while Wall Street was forecasting a 1.5% gain. Chrysler and Toyota (NYSE:TM) also failed to impress. One possible reason for the December 2013 shortfall was the industry's strong performance during the Black Friday holiday weekend, which pulled sales from December into November 2013.

In other auto-related news, CNBC reported that activist investor Carl Icahn has purchased a large stake in car rental company Hertz (NYSE:HTZ).

Asian stocks were weak after China's December 2013 services PMI came in at 54.6, a decline from November 2013's 56.0 reading.

Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) was up 1.1% today in what looks like a relief rally following its 28% decline in 2013. Gold may have been pushed down artificially in December 2013 due to tax-loss selling, and now investors may be looking for an inflation hedge should US economic growth accelerate. Supporting the idea of a wash-out in gold is a data point from research firm ETF Securities, which said that assets in exchange-traded gold products fell 48% in 2013 to $76 billion.

Looking at US stock sectors, there was outperformance in economically sensitive sectors like financials and industrials, while technology stocks were dragged down by a slump in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Energy names were also weak, as oil and natural gas prices dipped.

In fixed income, the 10-year US Treasury Yield dipped back below 3.0%, sending bond prices higher.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

At 10:00 a.m. EST Monday, November 2013 factory orders and December 2013 ISM Services will be released. Wall Street's consensus forecasts stand at +1.7% and 54.5, respectively. There are no big names reporting earnings.

Investors will likely be looking toward the back half of the week, which will include the kickoff of earnings season with Alcoa (NYSE:AA) on Thursday, and the big December 2013 NFP report on Friday.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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