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By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
Topic - Chris Versace
With 2012 behind us and the "fiscal cliff" narrowly averted for now, investors can get back to investing, and that means keeping up on the latest new thing and disruptive technologies.
Last week, all the major market indexes eked out positive gains, despite the late-week reversal as "fiscal cliff" discussions took a turn for the worse.
The second half of December tends to generate a fair amount of reflection on the events of the previous 12 months. That is true for investors as well and often gives rise to a number of questions about the market. Did the economy grow as fast as was expected? Did job growth measure up to economists' forecasts? Will those industries that have been a drag on the economy in 2011, such as housing, start to turn the corner? Did the politicians in Washington come together and tackle the big issues that the country and the economy face? And so on.
Well, folks, unless you've been living under a rock since Cyber Monday, you know that the politicians in Washington have not gotten very far in terms of solving the "fiscal cliff" before the end of 2012. When you read this, we'll have 10 business days left before we ring in the New Year. The crux of the dispute seems to be raising revenue – code for "higher taxes" – versus cutting spending.
Last week closed out the month of November for the stock market and a quick glance at all the major market indices – the Dow Jones industrial average, the Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq composite index – showed modest movement in the month. That's not surprising as we traded the presidential election earlier in the month for the spotlight on the "fiscal cliff." The first few days of December have brought little change on the fiscal cliff with both sides – Democrat and Republican, White House and the House, President Obama and conservatives – digging in their heels.
With Thanksgiving behind us, investor and consumer attention is firmly focused on two things: the "fiscal cliff" in Washington and the strength of 2012 holiday shopping.
It's a short week for the stock market this week as we honor one of my favorite holidays — Thanksgiving. I can't think of anyone who doesn't have something to be grateful for and this holiday is a great way to remember and reflect on the blessings each of us has in our lives.
With the presidential election behind us, the primary driver behind the drop in the stock market has been the uncertainty associated with the looming "fiscal cliff."
It's over. The 2012 presidential election that is. After months of campaigning, divisive ads, robocalls and, of course, debates, we now know that Barack Obama will be president for the next four years.
Normally when we enter a new month, investors both look back as well as forward to gauge what has occurred over the prior 30 days. Looking back, they take stock of the moves in the major stock market indices and any key announcements or events.
The stock and bond markets have been choppy and treading water since mid-September. The summer run-up, weak third-quarter earnings reaction to the Federal Reserve's decision to stand pat, the presidential election – not to mention a looming "fiscal cliff" – have investors wondering which way the markets will turn next.
As I predicted last week, this week was frenetic in terms of companies reporting their quarterly earnings, economic data for both the United States and abroad and, of course, the second presidential debate. While there were some positives, the overall picture continues to be mixed, with the manufacturing economy slowing and concerns rising over the technology economy following weak results from Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices and Google Inc., to name a few. The domestic housing market continued to improve in September, but will the stronger-than-expected housing market continue?
In last week's edition of "The Corner of Wall & Main," I previewed the September employment report by discussing several other indicators of job creation for the month.
At the place where the economy and the stock market intersect, there were three noteworthy events this past week.
Early this week, investors saw a modest jump in consumer confidence in September, according to the index compiled by the Conference Board. That brought good news, so-so news and even some bad news.
At the time of publication, Mr. Versace had no positions in any companies mentioned in this column; however, positions can change.
At the time of publication, Mr. Versace had no positions in companies mentioned, however, positions can change.