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Pence Wealth Management Financial Markets Reports

US FINANCIAL MARKET

  • U.S. stocks fell at the open on Thursday, after the S&P 500 wrapped up its best year since 1997, as investors digested data on manufacturing and the labor market.
  • The richest people on the planet got even richer in 2013, adding $524 billion to their collective net worth. The aggregate net worth of the world’s top billionaires stood at $3.7 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
  • Fiat shares jumped on Thursday after it struck a $4.35 billion deal to gain full control of Chrysler Group.
  • Wal-Mart said that it has recalled donkey meat sold at some outlets in China after tests showed the product contained the DNA of other animals. Wal-Mart will reimburse customers who bought the tainted “Five Spice” donkey meat and is helping local food and industry agencies in eastern Shandong province investigate its Chinese supplier.
    • Wal-Mart, French grocer Carrefour, McDonald’s and KFC-parent Yum Brands among others, have come under fire before in China over food safety issues, a sensitive topic in a country riddled with scares from a fatal tainted milk scandal to recycled “gutter oil” used for cooking.
  • Campbell Soup is recalling about 300 cases of its 24-ounce-sized Prego Traditional Italian sauce, citing a risk of spoilage.
    • Campbell said the affected jars could be identified by having a best by date of June 16, 2015 “and a four-digit, military time code ranging from ‘CT BJ ZV 0330′ through ‘CT BJ ZV 0449″ printed on the lid of the product.
  • Target said on Tuesday that some of the gift cards it sold over the holiday season were not activated properly. The news came less than two weeks after the company revealed that hackers had stolen data from up to 40 million credit and debit cards of shoppers who visited its stores during the first three weeks of the holiday season.
  • Samsung Electronics fell more than 5 % on Thursday to its lowest in over four months after analysts lowered their earnings forecasts due to the strong won currency and weaker margins at its display business.
  • Apple has never worked with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and is unaware of efforts to target its smartphones, the company said in response to reports that the spy agency had developed a system to hack into and monitor iPhones.
  • Hewlett-Packard said it would cut 5,000 more jobs, bringing the total number of layoffs to 34,000, or 11 % of its workforce.
  • Google’s Schmidt said missing the rise of social media was the biggest mistake he made at the world’s largest search-engine operator.
  • Canadian Bombardier said on Tuesday it received a firm order from an undisclosed customer to buy 38 business aircraft in a deal valued at about $2.2 billion.
  • An eccentric Chinese recycling magnate said on Tuesday he was preparing to open negotiations to buy the New York Times.

US ECONOMY & POLITICS

  • Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000. The four-week moving average for new claims rose 8,500 to 357,250.
    • A total 4.46 million people were receiving benefits under all programs in the week ended Dec 14. But with benefits for more than a million long-term unemployed Americans having expired on December 28, that figure is set to fall sharply in the coming weeks.
  • Markit’s U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 55.0 last month, beating November’s 54.7 reading and an initial December estimate of 54.4.
    • The employment sub-index rose to 54.0, its best in nine months, from 52.3 in November. Manufacturing jobs are being created at a rate of about 20,000 per month.
  • The ISM manufacturing index was a touch stronger than expected at 57.0 in December (vs. consensus 56.8), from 57.3 in November. The underlying details remained strong and showed little change on the month.
  • U.S. construction spending rose to its highest level in nearly five years in November as a surge in private construction projects offset a drop in public outlays. Construction spending increased 1 % to an annual rate of $934.4 billion.
  • About 2.1 million people will have medical coverage today through Obamacare after a late surge in enrollment helped regain ground lost to the botched debut of insurance exchanges created by the U.S. health-care overhaul.

EUROPE & WORLD

  • Global manufacturing ended 2013 on a strong note as major exporters like Japan, Germany and Italy posted their fastest growth in years.
    • Markit’s Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 52.7 in December from November’s 51.6, confirming an early estimate and marking its best reading in 31 months.
      • In Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, manufacturing grew at its fastest pace since mid-2011, with its PMI rising to 54.3 from 52.7.
      • But the euro zone’s No. 2 economy, France, is still lagging. Its PMI fell sharply to 47.0 from 48.4, a seven-month low, marking faster contraction as the year drew to a close.
      • In Britain, which in the last several months has been outperforming the euro economies, the manufacturing PMI unexpectedly slipped to 57.3 from 58.1.
    • In Asia, performance was a bit more mixed.
      • The HSBC/Markit PMI for China slipped to a three-month low of 50.5 in December.
  • Spain’s Economy Minister says that job creation in 2014 would be “significant” as a tentative economic recovery kicks in, but a poll showed most Spaniards do not expect any clear improvement until 2015.
    • Spain’s unemployment rate is predicted at 25.9 % in 2014, roughly where it is now.
    • 71 % of Spaniards believe the recovery and the end of the crisis will start in 2015 at the earliest.
  • Chinese property prices rose again in December, according to two private surveys. Prices of new homes in 288 cities in December rose 0.4 % in December. House prices climbed 10 % from a year earlier. House prices have surged in the past year, in part due to a view that property remains one of the best investments.

TODAY in HISTORY

  • Georgia was admitted to the Union as the 4th state (1788)
  • Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre took the first photograph of the Moon (1839)
  • The first spacecraft to fly by the Moon and also to orbit the Sun, Mechta (Luna 1) was launched by the USSR (1959)
  • Rudolph Giuliani is inaugurated as New York City’s mayor (1994)

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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