US FINANCIAL MARKET
- U.S. stocks fell at the open on Thursday following a mixed set of data, including existing homes sales which fell to their lowest in nearly a year.
- The Federal Reserve on Wednesday embarked on the risky task of winding down the era of easy money, saying the U.S. economy was finally strong enough for it to start scaling down its massive bond-buying stimulus. The central bank modestly trimmed the pace of its monthly asset purchases, by $10 billion to $75 billion. The Fed said monthly purchases of both mortgage and Treasury bonds would be trimmed by $5 billion each.
- Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will sell 41.4 million shares worth about $2.3 billion to pay a tax bill, as part of an offering by the social network of 70 million Class A common shares. Zuckerberg’s sale will reduce his voting power to 56.1 % from 58.8 %.
- Target said data from about 40 million credit and debit cards might have been stolen from shoppers at its stores during the first three weeks of the holiday season, in the second-largest card breach at a U.S. retailer.
- Tesla Motors has started offering its poplar Model S sedans in China, but the U.S. premium electric carmaker has yet to give its brand a Chinese name due to a long-running trademark dispute.
- McDonald’s Japan business plans to close 74 outlets in the country as the fast-food operator cut its full-year profit forecast by more than half in its second-largest market.
- Oracle’s better-than-expected results and quarterly revenue outlook spurred cautious hope on Wednesday that the software maker is on track to revive growth curtailed this year by slow IT spending. It posted fiscal-second-quarter results that exceeded expectations, while its outlook for third-quarter earnings was in line with Wall Street estimates. Revenue rose 2 % to $9.3 billion.
- Lions Gate announces first quarterly dividend.
- Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, the world’s top two television makers, said in separate statements Thursday that they will unveil their own 105-inch curved TVs at the U.S. Consumer Electronics Show in January. Both models will sport ultra-high definition liquid-crystal displays.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 379,000. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 334,000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, increased 13,250 to 343,500.
- U.S. home resales fell sharply in November to their lowest level in nearly a year, hurt by a rise in interest rates since the spring and ongoing price increases that have shut some home buyers out of the market. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on Thursday that sales of previously owned homes dropped 4.3 % last month, the third monthly fall in a row, to an annual rate of 4.90 million units. The median forecast was a 5.03 million unit pace.
EUROPE & WORLD
- European shares rallied on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve sugar-coated its decision to start winding down its crisis-era stimulus with a promise to keep interest rates at record low levels even longer than previously signaled.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Benjamin Franklin began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanac (1732)
- Charles Dickens published “A Christmas Carol.” (1843)
- Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific, ending the Apollo program of manned lunar landings (1972)
- Britain and China signed an accord returning Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997 (1984)
Sources: Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, Bloomberg, CNN Money.
This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S & P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.