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Pence Wealth Management Financial Markets Reports

US FINANCIAL MARKET

  • U.S. stocks opened lower on Tuesday, putting the S&P 500 on track for a third consecutive decline, on concerns the Federal Reserve may begin to trim its stimulus earlier than some had anticipated.
  • After a disappointing to start to the holiday shopping season, U.S. online sales are expected to hit $2 billion on “Cyber Monday,” the highest since the data firm ComScore began tracking such information. IBM said Cyber Monday sales surged 21 %, sending online shopping toward a single-day record as Amazon.com and EBay siphoned consumers from brick-and-mortar stores.
    • Shopping on tablets and smartphones increased twice as fast in the third quarter, according to ComScore. Mobile devices drove more than 17 % of online purchases on Cyber Monday, IBM said.
    • Buying patterns on mobile devices since Thanksgiving have shown that tablets are more popular for purchases, while mobile phones are preferred for browsing.
    • Tablets accounted for 12 % of purchases, compared with 5.5 % from smartphones, IBM said.
    • Consumers also dished out more cash when buying on tablets, spending an average of $126.30 per order, compared with $106.49 for smartphones, the company said.
    • The U.S. Postal Service expects to ship 420 million packages during the 2013 holiday season, an increase of about 12 % from last year. UPS said it expected to pick up 32 million packages on Cyber Monday, an increase of 10 %.
  • Apple has acquired social media search and analytics startup Topsy, an unusual purchase for a hardware-focused company that has made few forays into social networking. UBS upgraded the iPhone maker to a “buy” rating. The Wall Street Journal said Apple paid over $200 million.
  • Tesla said Monday that Germany’s vehicle regulatory agency will pursue “no further measures” after concluding a review of recent Tesla Model S fires in the United States and Mexico.
  • Google already runs much of the digital lives of consumers through email, Internet searches and YouTube videos. Now it wants the corporations, too. The search giant has for years been evasive about its plans for a so-called public cloud of computers and data storage that is rented to individuals and businesses. That battle, which is expected to last years and cost the competitors billions of dollars annually in material and talent, already includes Microsoft, IBM and Amazon.
  • Yum Brands said November sales at established KFC restaurants in China, its top market, failed to grow despite a successful half-priced chicken promotion, and it forecast a return to earnings per share growth in 2014.
  • Sales of Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4) reached 2.1 million units worldwide. The PS4 system became available on November 15 in the United States and Canada and on November 29 in Europe, Australasia and Latin America and is now available in 32 countries globally.
  • Chrysler’s U.S. vehicle sales in November jumped 16 % from a year before, beating analysts’ expectations. Chrysler sold 142,275 vehicles. The introduction of the redesigned Cherokee at Chrysler helped push Jeep brand sales to a record 45,415, up 30 %.
  • Hyundai said that its U.S. sales climbed 5 % to 56,005 vehicles in November from a year earlier.
  • The Fed said it approved new capital plans [to buy back shares and pay dividends] by Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.
  • U.S. antitrust regulators (FTC) have approved Microsoft’s deal to buy Nokia’s mobile phone business.
  • Bill Gross said that easy-money policies worldwide have put global economies increasingly at risk. Gross, whose $248 billion Pimco Total Return Fund is the world’s largest bond fund, said investors should anticipate stable policy rates until at least 2016 and focus on short-duration assets.

US ECONOMY & POLITICS

  • U.S. small businesses boosted borrowing in October to its highest level in over six years. The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index, which measures the volume of financing to small companies, rose to 120.4 in October. In September, the index registered a reading of 109.9.
  • Not long ago, before the financial crisis and the global recession it triggered, economists referred to Americans as the consumers of last resort. It may not work that way anymore, according to Bloomberg. The consumption that benefited foreign manufacturers (spillover effect) a decade ago is a less important component of U.S. growth today, according to Bank of America.
    • The U.S. has provided the thrust for worldwide growth in every recovery during the past 40 years.  In 1999, for example, the U.S. accounted for 48 % of the global economy’s expansion after Asia’s financial crisis.
    • The U.S. doesn’t foster as much global growth since it has a smaller piece of the world economy. Americans accounted for 22 % of worldwide GDP in 2013, down from 31 % in 2000, according to IMF data. China’s portion tripled during the same period, to 12 % of global activity.
  • The average age of consumer durable goods — long-lasting items such as furniture, appliances and computers — is the highest since 1962, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis dating to 1925. Among things Americans are keeping for the longest time: jewelry and wristwatches and home and garden tools like lawnmowers.
  • Replacement purchases, overdue after the worst recession since the Great Depression, would boost the consumer spending that accounts for 70 % of the economy. Household debt as a share of income was 92.2 % last quarter, a decade low and down from its peak of 114 % in 2009. The debt-service ratio, which measures how much income is devoted to paying off obligations, has also steadied after dropping last year to a record low.

EUROPE & WORLD

  • U.K. construction expanded at the fastest pace in more than six years last month, driven by a surge in housebuilding.
  • Japan will craft an economic stimulus package this week worth about $53 billion to bolster the economy ahead of an increase in the national sales tax in April, people familiar with the process said on Tuesday.
  • China’s top leaders pledged to quicken reforms in 2014 while keeping policy stability and consistency at a meeting of the decision-making Politburo on Tuesday.
  • German sporting goods maker Adidas said it expects sales of soccer and running gear to help it achieve its 2015 sales and profit targets.

TODAY in HISTORY

  • Illinois became the 21st state in the United States (1818)
  • Oberlin College in Ohio became the first coed institution of higher learning in the U.S. (1833)

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. 

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