ECONOMIC CALENDAR:Tuesday: JOLTS, Treasury Budget Wednesday: Retail Sales, Import and Export Prices, Business Inventories, EIA Petroleum Status Report, Beige Book Thursday: Jobless Claims, PPI-FD, Empire State Mfg. Survey, Philadelphia Fed Survey Friday: Consumer Price Index, Industrial Production, Consumer Sentiment, Treasury International Capital
Quote of the week:
“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” – Baruch Spinoza
- Automakers end 2014 with gains. Falling oil prices contributed to solid sales numbers for U.S. automakers, helping each company close out December with better results than December 2013. Trucks seem to be back in vogue as consumers take advantage of lower gas prices to buy less fuel-efficient vehicles.
- U.S. trade imbalance falls to 11-month low. The bill for U.S. imports fell in November as lower oil prices reduced transportation costs. The report caused economists to revise their estimates of fourth-quarter GDP growth to as much as 3.5%.
- Federal Reserve FOMC minutes highlight differences in opinion. The official minutes of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting in December showed that though the Fed doesn’t plan to raise interest rates until at least mid-April 2015, some committee members feel the central bank shouldn’t commit itself to any particular timeline.
- Retailers shutting stores due to demographic and competitive pressure. Retailers like RadioShack, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, and Wet Seal are laying off workers and closing stores. The companies cite increased competition from online retailers, demographic shifts away from suburbs, and changing consumer preferences as reasons for the closures.