Thursday, December 24, 2015

Stock Markets: Happy Christmas

(Drivebycuriosity) - Christmas is the season for reflection but also for giving gifts. "The best aspect of Christmas is the aspect usually decried by the mystics: the fact that Christmas has been commercialized. The gift-buying . . . stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decorations put up by department stores and other institutions—the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors—provide the city with a spectacular display, which only “commercial greed” could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle". From the Ayn Rand Lexicon (aynrand)

Here in New York we enjoy a tropical gift - thanks to the unusual course of the Jet stream. A heat wave catapulted the column of mercury to 70 F (21 C) - a record.  But, his year´s greatest gifts came from the commodity sector. Oil, natural gas and many materials got significantly cheaper. US Drivers spend on average 10% less than a year ago (and about minus 40% compared to 2013), natural gas is around 20% cheaper and the price of heating oil dropped about 40%.

This year´s job market has been friendly too. The weekly jobless claims shrunk close to record low (the chart is a gift by bespoke) and monthy average job creations of around 200,000 and climbing wages a refilling the empty pokets of the consumer. "U.S. personal income in November rose for an eighth straight month on solid wage gains, which should support consumer spending and bolster economic growth next year", reports Reuters (reuters).

The stock market took a breather this year - in spite of the solidly growing economy. The S&P 500, the gauge for the US stock market,  has been swinging around the zero-line all the year so far. This year´s stock market course is almost identical to the year 2011 (chart above bespoke). I suppose in 2016 the stock market will resume the rally fueled by rising company profits (thanks to the technological progress), cheap commodities and a recovering Chinese economy (driveby).

Happy Christmas to all!

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