STOCKS FALL: Here's What You Need To Know

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It couldn’t have been a quieter day.

First, the scoreboard:

Dow: 12,977.5, -2.7, -0.0%
S&P 500: 1,368.3, -5.7, -0.4%
NASDAQ: 2,976.1, -12.7, -0.4%

And now, the top stories:

  • We have yet to see a major sell-off in stocks.  Since the beginning of the year, we have seen no declines of 1 per cent or worse.  In fact, the biggest one day decline in the S&P 500 was just 0.69 per cent.  The last time we saw a trend like this was 1995 when stocks surged 34 per cent for the year. Yesterday, stock market guru Laszlo Birninyi wrote that these similar patterns were good reason to expect the S&P 500 to surge to 1,700 sometime this year.
  • Reports of an explosion in Saudi Arabia, which caused oil to spike yesterday, were denied.  Oil prices fell today, but they are still above $106 per barrel.
  • However, high oil prices may be bullish for stocks.  UBS’s Jonathan Golub argues as much.  Elevated oil prices was one of four reasons that caused Golub to raise his S&P 500 EPS estimate and boost his year-end price target to 1,475 from 1,325.
  • The number of housing contracts that are getting cancelled because people can’t get a mortgage is rising.  This could be problematic for those calling for a housing market bottom.  12 States Where Homeowners Are Sinking Deeper Into Negative Equity >
  • One of the ongoing controversies related to the declining unemployment rate has been the fact that the civilian labour force participation rate has been falling.  Many naysayers have argued that this has been occurring because many of the unemployed have just given up on the idea of getting back to work.  Barclays’ economics team led by Dean Maki published some interesting research shedding light on this claim.  According to their research, the majority of the jobless who “no longer want a job” actually fall into the 55+ age bracket.  As such, it seems that most people are actually leaving the workforce because they’re retiring, not because they are of prime working age and giving up. US Auto Industry Hiring Has Been On A Tear >
  • There was definitely an optimistic slant to today’s economics research report.  High Frequency Economics’ Ian Shepherdson managed to put a positive spin on yesterday’s disappointing personal income & spending, construction, and ISM manufacturing data.  Also, Deutsche Bank published a report arguing that improving municipal finances could translate to more jobs in the public sector, which could provide a big upside surprise to upcoming jobs data. TREASURY: Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The US Economy In 13 Slides >
  • There was some very bizarre news related to Wynn Resorts today.  First, the shares were halted pending news.  Then news broke via a Wynn 8-K filing that the company won approval to build on Macau’s Cotai strip.  Shares surged 6 per cent on the news.  Minutes later, Wynn shares were halted yet again pending more news.  An amended 8-K was filed saying that the previous 8-K was “filed by mistake.”  This had everyone scratching their heads.  Nevertheless, shares closed much higher for the day.
  • The IPO of Yelp, the online review site, was priced at $15 per share.  However, shares opened this morning at $22, surging as high as $26. Hey, People Buying YELP At $25 A Share, What On Earth Are You Thinking?
  • Don’t Miss: Whitney Tilson’s Latest Huge Bullish Presentation On Berkshire Hathaway  >

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