ford auto sales jumping cars

Photo: Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints

Stocks had another strong day, closing at a multi-year high.First the scoreboard:

Dow: 13,471, +80.7, +0.6 per cent
S&P 500: 1,472, +11.1, +0.7 per cent
NASDAQ: 3,121, +15.9, +0.5 per cent

And now the top stories:

  • It was a relatively quiet day for news.
  • On the economic front, weekly initial jobless claims came in at 371k, up from last week’s reading of 367k.  Economists were looking for the number to fall to 365k.  So, the number was a tad disappointing.
  • However, investors and economists weren’t too worried about the report.  “More generally, the claims data can be volatile this time of year because of the difficulty of seasonal adjustment around the holidays,” noted UBS economist Kevin Cummins. “It will be several more weeks before the claims data are free of influence from the holiday seasonal factors. Thus, we attach little weight to possible swings for the next couple of weeks.”
  • If there were a reason to be bullish today, then it was last night Chinese trade report.  Exports surged 14.1 per cent year-over-year in December, which was well ahead of the 5 per cent gain forecasted by economists.  Considering China is the world’s second largest economy, this is good news for everyone. 
  • The drama surrounding Herbalife continues to heat up.  Last month, hedge fund hot shot Bill Ackman announced that he was shorting the stock, accusing the company of being a pyramid scheme.  Shares plummeted back then. Yesterday, Dan Loeb, another high-profile hedge funder, announced that he disagreed with Ackman’s thesis.  Loeb is now long the stock.  This morning, activist investor Carl Icahn reportedly jumped into the fray, taking a long position like Loeb.  Meanwhile, Herbalife fired back today with their defence, effectively explaining why Ackman’s trade will blow up on him.
  • Don’t Miss: Frank Holmes’ Massive Presentation On Why All Kinds Of Commodities Are Going To Surge >
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