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Pence Wealth Management Financial Markets Reports

US FINANCIAL MARKET

  • U.S. stocks slightly fell at the open on Wednesday as investors took profits from the S&P 500’s biggest daily gain in three weeks, and following a better-than-expected private sector jobs report.
  • Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that topped analysts’ estimates on rising sales of engineered soybean seeds and Roundup herbicide. Revenue rose 6.9 % to $3.14 billion, topping the $3.07 billion average of 15 estimates.
  • Microsoft is closer to naming a new chief executive (CEO).
  • Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer unveiled a handful of new products, including a competitor to Google’s predictive search technology for smartphones. Yahoo’s services attracted more than 400 million monthly mobile users for the first time last fall.
  • Diageo and celebrity rapper turned business mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs have jointly bought luxury U.S. tequila brand DeLeon. About 85 % of the world’s tequila is drunk in its home nation of Mexico and the United States. U.S. imports of tequila increased by nearly 72 % to 12.3 million cases in the 10 years to 2012.
  • Facebook is buying India-based Little Eye Labs, a startup that builds performance analysis and monitoring tools for mobile Android apps, to help boost its technology as it focuses on growing revenue from its mobile business. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but media reports suggest the price was less than $15 million.
  • Apple will open its 10th store in China’s mainland this week. Apple opened its first Chinese store in Beijing’s Sanlitun district in 2008.
  • Hedge funds trailed the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) for the fifth straight year as U.S. markets rallied to record levels. Hedge funds returned an average of 7.4 % in 2013.
    • Multistrategy hedge funds increased 6.8 % last year.
    • Macro managers fell 2.2 % in 2013.
    • Long-short equity funds, which bet on rising and falling stocks, rose 11 % last year.

US ECONOMY & POLITICS

  • The ADP said that U.S. private employers added 238,000 jobs in December, more than expected and the best read in 13 months.
    • Companies employing 500 or more workers added 71,000 jobs. Medium-sized businesses, with 50 to 499 employees, took on 59,000 workers and small companies expanded payrolls by 108,000.
      • Construction increased headcount by 48,000 in December, the biggest gain since February 2006.
      • Factories added 19,000 jobs.
      • Goods producers in 2013 added 286,000 workers, with almost 75 % of the gains coming from the construction industry, ADP said.
      • Employment in trade, transportation and utilities increased 47,000.
      • Professional and business services employment rose by 53,000 last month.
      • Payrolls at service providers climbed by 170,000 jobs in December.
  • The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA)’s mortgage application index, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 2.6 % in the week ended Jan. 3.
    • The rate on fixed 30-year mortgages averaged 4.72 % last week.
    • The MBA’s seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications rose 4.6 %.
    • The gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, dipped 0.5 %.
    • The survey covers over 75 % of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.
  • Congressional negotiators are working to settle final sticking points over military and health-care spending in a plan to finance the U.S. government and avoid a second shutdown in four months. Current government funding runs out in a week, on Jan. 15.
  • Brutally cold weather this week laid bare critical weaknesses in the Northeastern U.S. natural gas system, leaving some states paying vast sums for supplies as arctic weather enveloped the region.

EUROPE & WORLD

  • Euro zone unemployment holds at record high of 12.1 %.
    • Retail sales rebounded 1.4 % in November after a 0.4 % decline in October, the fastest monthly increase since November 2001.
  • German factory orders rose more than economists forecast in November, adding to signs that a recovery in Europe’s largest economy is gathering pace. Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, gained 2.1 % from October.
  • Volkswagen’s Skoda Auto, the Czech Republic’s biggest exporter, is on target to sell 1 million cars globally for the first time in 2014.
  • Volkswagen’s Bentley sold 10,120 cars in 2013, 19 % more than the previous year and the fourth-straight year of double-digit volume growth.

TODAY in HISTORY

  • The Battle of New Orleans, the last battle in the War of 1812, was fought (1812)
  • The AT&T Bell System telephone monopoly agreed to divest itself of 22 Bell System companies and split itself into seven “Baby Bells.” (1982)

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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