STOCKS FALL AGAIN: Here's What You Need To Know

Stocks finished lower on Monday to continue what has been a rough start to the year for the stock market, which has now seen losses on 5 of 7 trading days this year.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 17,642.5, -94.8, (-0.5%)
  • S&P 500: 2,028.8, -16, (-0.8%)
  • Nasdaq: 4,665.4, -38.7, (-0.8%)

And now, the top stories on Monday:

1. Oil crashed. Again. There were a flurry of negative headlines for the commodity, which broke to fresh lows on Monday as it continues to search for a bottom. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell below $US46 for the first time since the spring of 2009 while Brent crude, the international benchmark, also fell to around $US48.50 a barrel. Among the headlines pressuring oil were comments from Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who told Maria Bartiromo that oil will never reach $US100 a barrel again. “The price of oil above $US100 is artificial,” Alwaleed told Bartiromo. “It’s not correct.”

2. Goldman Sachs analyst Jeff Currie was also out with a big note on oil over the weekend, and among other things, Currie cut his six-month price target on West Texas Intermediate crude to $US39 a barrel from $US75, while also sharply cutting his Brent crude forecasts. Currie noted, however, that prices need to go lower, and stay lower, to really start a string of debt defaults that some investors have expressed growing concern over.

3. On Monday afternoon, Alcoa is set to report quarterly earnings, unofficially kicking off fourth quarter earnings season. Analysts at FactSet are looking for earnings to grow 1.1% from last year, but earnings in the energy space are expected to be significantly pressured, with year-on-year declines of 19.1% expected from S&P 500 members in the energy sector.

4. HSBC’s Steven Major was one of the few folks on Wall Street who correctly saw yields falling in 2014, and with consensus expectations calling for Treasury yields to rise again, Major sees yields plunging. Major sees the 10-year Treasury yield falling to 1.5% in 2015, though he does see this backing up to 2.5% by year-end. On Monday, the 10-year yield was sitting at around 1.91%.

5. Goldman Sachs slashed its outlook for the Russian ruble, saying that in the next three months the value of the ruble could fall to 70 against the US dollar, down from around 63 on Monday. Goldman also expects the ruble to be trading at around 60 against the dollar in 12 months’ time, down from its previous forecast for 49.6.

6. In single stock news, Tiffany shares were big losers on Monday, falling more than 14% after the luxury retailer said net sales fell 1% during the holiday quarter and cut its outlook for the full-year.

7. The stock market has had a rough start to the year, but according to Jim Paulsen at Wells Capital, when looking at the median price-to-earnings ratio for S&P 500 stocks — as opposed to the average number, which is more commonly cited — the market is as expensive as its ever been.

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