The stock market closed at fresh record highs today.
First, the scoreboard:
Dow: 15,876.2, +54.5, +0.3%
S&P 500: 1,790.6, +8.6, +0.4%
NASDAQ: 3,972.7, +7.1, +0.1%
And now the top stories:
- Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen testified before the Senate Banking Committee today. For the most part, she didn’t say anything we didn’t already know in terms of her views on monetary policy.
- From Yellen’s hearing: “I consider it imperative that we do what we can to promote a very strong recovery. We’re doing that by continuing our asset purchase program, which we put in place with the goal of assuring a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market. We are taking into account the costs and the efficacy as we go along. At this point, I think the benefits exceed the costs.”
- We learned that the U.S. trade deficit widened to $41.8 billion in September, which was wider than the $39.0 billion expected by economists. The move was large enough that economists began slashing their estimates for Q3 GDP growth.
- Initial jobless claims fell to 339,000, which was actually a bit higher than analysts’ expected. Here’s Barclays’ Cooper Howes: “The separations side of the labor market has improved steadily over the past year; through the first 10 months of 2013, initial claims have averaged 344k, well below the 374k average during 2012. This is consistent with our view that the separations side of the labor market has improved substantially since the recession, and we think that a significant change to the trend in job growth would be more likely to come from the hiring side.”
- According to the NY Fed’s Quarterly Report On Household Debt And Credit, total household debt climbed 1.1% quarter-over-quarter to $11.28 trillion in Q3. This quarter, we observed an increase of household balances across essentially all types of debt,” said NY Fed economist Donghoon Lee. “With non-housing debt consistently increasing and the factors pushing down mortgage balances waning, it appears that households have crossed a turning point in the deleveraging cycle.”
- According to new data from the World Gold Council, demand for gold fell 21% year-over-year in Q3 2013. This was largely due to liquidations of ETF positions and lower demand from India.
- Shares of Cisco got destroyed after the company announced weak quarterly revenue and guidance. “Overall, Asia-Pacific, Japan and China was down 10%,” said CEO John Chambers on the earnings conference call. “China continued to decline as we and our peers worked through the challenging political dynamics in that country.” The challenges Chambers was referring to appeared to be tied to the revelations of recent leaks related to spying by the National Security Agency.