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Economy

Wall Street notches best day in 10 years in holiday rebound

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Wall Street notches best day in 10 years in holiday rebound

Stocks rocketed on Wednesday in Wall Street’s best day in 10 years, snapping a stomach-churning, four-day losing streak and giving some post-Christmas cheer to a market that has been battered this December.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up more than 1,000 points — its biggest single-day point gain ever — rising nearly 5 percent as investors returned from a one-day Christmas break. The broader S&P 500 index also gained 5 percent, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq rose 5.8 percent.

But even with the rally, the market remains on track for its worst December since 1931, during the depths of the Depression, and could finish 2018 with its steepest losses in a decade.

“The real question is: Do we have follow-through for the rest of this week?” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist for CFRA.

Technology companies, health care stocks and banks drove much of the broad rally. Retailers also were big gainers, after a holiday shopping season marked by robust spending. Amazon had its biggest gain in more than a year.

Energy stocks also rebounded as the price of U.S. crude oil posted its biggest one-day increase in more than two years.

But what really might have pushed stocks over the top was a signal from Washington that President Donald Trump would not try to oust the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Trader Michael Milano works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Trader Michael Milano works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

In recent days, Trump’s tweet attacks on the Fed and chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates stoked fears about the central bank’s independence, unnerving the market.

The partial government shutdown that began over the weekend also weighed on the market, as did personnel turmoil inside the Trump administration, trade tensions with China, the slowing global economy and worries that corporate profits are going to slip sooner or later.

The Dow lost 1,883 points over the prior four trading sessions and is still down 2,660 for December.

Wednesday’s gains pulled the S&P 500 back from the brink of what Wall Street calls a bear market — a 20 percent tumble from an index’s peak. Another day of heavy losses would have marked the end of the longest bull market for stocks in modern history — a run of nearly 10 years.

The S&P is now down 15.8 percent since its all-time high on Sept. 20.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 116.60 points Wednesday, or 5 percent, to 2,467.70. The Dow soared 1,086.25 points, or 5 percent, to 22,878.45. The Nasdaq gained 361.44 points, or 5.8 percent, to 6,554.36. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 62.89 points, or 5 percent, at 1,329.81.

Trading volume was lighter than usual following the holiday. Markets in Europe, Australia and Hong Kong were closed.

Among tech stocks, Adobe rose 8.7 percent. Credit card company Visa climbed 7 percent, and Mastercard was up 6.7 percent. Among big retailers, Amazon rose 9.4 percent, Kohl’s 10.3 percent and Nordstrom 5.8 percent.

Most economists expect growth to slow in 2019, though not by enough to cause a full-blown recession. Unemployment is at 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969. Inflation is tame. Pay has picked up. Consumers boosted their spending this holiday season.

Specialist Mario Picone works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Specialist Mario Picone works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The market apparently got a lift Wednesday when Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the Fed chairman is in no danger of being fired.

The president could help restore some stability to the market if he “gives his thumbs a vacation,” Stovall said. “Tweet things that are more constructive in terms of working out an agreement with Democrats and with China. And then just remain silent as it relates to the Fed.”

___

AP Economics Writer Josh Boak contributed to this story from Washington.

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Economy

The 1751 machine that made everything

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The 1751 machine that made everything

A short video on how technological innovation born of economic liberty has changed the world.

History is more than dates, places and battles. In many instances it’s technological advances that change the world for the betterment of all mankind. In this case it’s the story of French inventor Jacques de Vaucanson and his creation in France of the first all metal slide rest lathe, the forerunner to all modern machine tools in 1751.

Lathes had been around for centuries, but lacked the precision with hand held cutting tools. The slide rest of the Vaucanson metal lathe that provided the control to produce metal part of exacting dimensions. The lathe is said to be able to produce every other machine and machine tool. This advancement changed everything.

The producer of the video references a profound chart of World Population GCP and per Capita GCP 1 –2008 AD from data of the late Angus Maddison, similar to this produced by the  Visual Capitalist, we credit them for the chart and commentary:
Image Credit: Visual Capitalist

 

For thousands of years, economic progress was largely linear and linked to population growth. Without machines or technological innovations, one person could only produce so much with their time and resources.

More recently, innovations in technology and energy allowed the “hockey stick” effect to come into play.

The video was produced by Machine Thinking last year.

While some may quibble about which particular machine produced this miracle The larger point is that the machines of the industrial age profoundly changed what people could produce.

As the video noted the average person in 1600 was no better off economically than someone thousands of years earlier. This is what is called the Malthusian trap and for seven thousand years, it was inescapable no matter what we did.

Machine tools such as this changed all of that, one person could produce what had taken many. This surplus could outpace births, allowing the economy to grow at an incredible pace as seen in the chart. All from the genius of the mind undergirded by the Economic liberty of the free-enterprise system. This is why this is vastly superior to the societal slavery of socialism.

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Economy

Colion Noir: Exposing the under the table business of homelessness in San Francisco

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Colion Noir Exposing the under the table business of homelessness in San Francisco

Anyone who has walked the streets of San Francisco in the last few years was likely shocked. Unless they came from Seattle or a similar city in which homelessness and drug abuse are rampant on the downtown streets, it was likely a wake up call to anyone seeing how big the problems have become.

For a city with such extreme wealth and both historically and thanks to the Silicon Valley boom, it can be perplexing to witness how little is done to help those who need it so desperately. As we noted before, for some reason San Francisco is so “woke” yet so blind at the same time.

This video by Colion Noir exposes the ugly truth about San Francisco, that no matter how much money is pumped in by tax payers, the hyper-leftist radical progressive government that runs the city is incapable of solving these problems. It’s noteworthy that some of the people Noir talked to called for less government, including one gentleman who believed anarchy was the only thing that can solve the problem completely.

Yes, the city that is known for imposing the largest amounts and most obtuse overreaches of government is the city that seems to be imploding despite an overabundance of tax dollars flowing in. If there is any better testament to the failures that would befall the entire country if socialism is ever implemented more than it already is today, I’m unaware of what city that could be.

San Francisco is a disaster, yet they continue to depend on progressive leadership to somehow fix what they’ve continuously broken for decades.

Not only is the cover up intentional, as Colion Noir concluded, but the system that keeps homelessness and drug abuse prevalent on the streets is intentional. Dealing with poverty for San Francisco’s bourgeoisie is a political industry.

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Economy

Washington has America standing on the precipice of a fiscal abyss

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Washington has America standing on the precipice of a fiscal abyss

Yesterday was Tax Day, an annual reminder that our tax-and-spend government continues to get taxier and spendier.

Fox News is reporting that Donald Trump will be holding campaign events across the country this week to do some damage control in the wake of his unpopular tax cuts, but the destruction being caused by Washington’s spending addiction should be the real headline for Tax Day 2019.

Although, to be fair, many faux conservative media sources have their hands full right now pushing McConnell’s “vote Republican because #notSocialist” 2020 campaign rhetoric, so we shouldn’t be surprised if they’re too busy to be bothered with something as petty as the inevitable bankruptcy of America.

In a report issued last week by the Government Accountability Office titled “The Nation’s Fiscal Health: Action is Needed to Address the Federal Government’s Fiscal Future,” we were provided with an update on the nation’s fiscal health at the end of FY 2018 and what lies ahead if fiscal policy isn’t changed.

Some of the findings included in the report are:

  • The federal government’s current fiscal path is unsustainable
  • The federal deficit increased to $779 billion — and will reach $1 trillion in the next few years for the first time since 2012
  • Publicly held debt was 78% of GDP at the end of FY 2018 and will surpass its historical high of 106% within 13 to 20 years — sooner than projected last year
  • Other agencies join GAO in saying that the longer action is delayed, the greater and more drastic the changes will have to be

Graphic shows 4 projections of debt increasing

Alexis de Tocqueville, the French legal and political scholar, politician, and historian who is most known as the author of the book Democracy in America (pub 1835 – 1840), has been attributed for this quote: “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

Whether these are the words of de Tocqueville or not is irrelevant. The reality is they are 100% true as we are witnessing in Washington today.

With Republicans and Democrats always in election-season mode, policies are decided based on how they affect political parties instead of America’s needs. This has given birth to finding new and better ways for them to buy votes, and it’s why we’re seeing Democrats promoting socialist ideas like Medicare for all, paid family leave, and the Green New Deal heading into 2020.

However, despite claims to the contrary, Trump and the GOP are actively pursuing the same socialist programs as they join the Democrats in a scramble to find ways to buy votes.

After decades of taxing and spending, growing the federal government, and pursuing a socialist Utopia, America finds herself on the precipice of a financial abyss with little reason to hope the unibrow party in Washington will save her. In fact, they’re likely to push her over the edge … if it means they can get a vote out of it.

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook.

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