STOCKS INCH HIGHER: Here's What You Need To Know

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Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It’s been three straight days with little action in the markets.  However, there were two pieces of worrying economic data.First the scoreboard:

Dow: 13,207, +42.7, +0.3%
S&P 500: 1,405, +3.0, +0.2%
NASDAQ: 3,020, +2.2, +0.0%

And now the top stories:

  • China’s trade report shook the Asian and European markets. Export growth decelerated to just 1.0 per cent year-over-year, which was well below economists estimate of 8.0 per cent.  Import growth slowed to 6.3 per cent, which was also below expectations for 7.0 per cent.  This further stoked fears of a hard economic landing in China.  This is worrisome as China is the second largest economy in the world.
  • Lately bad economic data has meant more central bank stimulus would come, which in turn meant stocks would also go higher.  However, Morgan Stanley’s Helen Qiao argued that immediate stimulus was unlikely due to rising prices of vegetable and grains.
  • The USDA issued a major national crop forecast this morning.  And it was ugly.  Corn yields are estimated to have plunged to 123.4 bushels per acre this year, the lowest level since 1995.  Analysts were looking for around 127.3 bushels per acre.
  • Corn prices briefly spiked to $8.437 per bushel, an all-time high.  But the corn contracts eventually settled at an even $8.00.  Kevin Van Trump of Farm Direction told us that algorithmic traders likely got the jump on the news.  But he said floor traders brought the price back down as overseas supply is expected to make up for at least some of the shortfall.
  • Don’t Miss: Morgan Stanley’s Brilliant Presentation On The Fiscal Cliff, And What Happens If We Fly Off Of It >

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