And We're Off!
Are you getting used to writing 2012 on your checks yet? The first nine days of the new year have sure flown by! After all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we hope you’re settling back into a normal routine, and that your first week of 2012 has been a good one.
We’re happy to report that it was a good week both for stocks and positive U.S. economic news. Stocks kicked off the year on a high note as the Dow Jones industrial average added 1.2%, the S&P 500 gained 1.6%, and the Nasdaq led with a 2.7% rise. As far as the economy is concerned, employment figures and purchasing manager surveys released last week suggest the U.S. experienced healthy growth in December.
Despite positive news, the tone on Wall Street has remained cautious and trading volumes have been low. Many investors, it seems, are still torn between rising hopes for the U.S. economy, and the ever-evolving European debt saga. And there is still considerable debate over whether stronger jobs and manufacturing numbers should be attributed to a seasonal holiday binge, or something more permanent. Ultimately, only time will tell.
The week ahead promises to be a busy one as the unofficial start of corporate earnings season kicks off. We’ll wait to see what corporate leaders have to share, but overall, it is expected to be a strong season. The companies in the S&P 500 are forecast to be up 7.5% in the final three months of 2011, versus the same period one year ago, and sales are predicted to have risen 8.6% for the quarter, according to research from S&P Capital IQ. While the European debt situation will probably weigh most heavily in the headlines, it will have to share the spotlight with corporate earnings.
With one week down and 51 to go, we’re off to the races, as the old saying goes. Whatever this year brings, we look forward to running alongside you every step of the way!
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The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
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 http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/08/markets/stocks_lookahead/index.htm, http://www.marketwatch.com/story/latest-data-fails-to-shake-caution-on-us-economy-2012-01-08