The last three months have been quite a ride where the international stock market is concerned. Interestingly, the first week of October ended on an optimistic note with stocks trending upwards. This increasing confidence by investors was no doubt caused by strong belief that European banks will be recapitalized.
Stock Market Activities – First Week of October
Most tech stocks showed an increase in the past week with the exception of Apple. The 0.023 percent decline saw Apple’s share closing at $377.37 after losing 88 cents in response to the death of founder, Steve Jobs. Gains of between 1.74 percent and 4.99 percent were recorded by top tech companies during the period. These included Google – 1.98 percent; Microsoft – 1.74 percent; Oracle – 1.90 percent and Nvidia Corporation – 3.97 percent and Hewlett-Packard (HP) – 4.99 percent.
The three main indicators, Dow Jones, Nasdaq and S&P all showed gains as follows:
1. Dow Jones Industrial Averages moved to 11,123.33 after gaining 183.38 points
2. Nasdaq moved to 2,506.82 points after gaining 46.31 points, and
3. Standard & Poor (S&P) moved up to 1,164.97 after a gain of 20.94
Job Reports for US Companies for October 1-7, 2011
All eyes continue to be on figures dealing with the unemployment rates. The number of new job created is a strong indicator of economic activity and potential growth. Projections for new jobs in September were 75, 000 but initial reports at the end of the month showed a decent increase in non-farm payroll workers of 103,000. Included in this number, however, are 45,000 telecommunication workers from Verizon who were on strike for two weeks. Despite this addition of jobs by US-based companies, the number of unemployed making claims increased by 6000 between the last week of September and the first week of October. The new jobless claim figure now stands at 401,000 which is still slightly below the projected figures of 410,000. The unemployment rate for the past three months remains at 9.1 percent.
European Debt Crisis Containment
The debt crisis in Europe is causing more than simple ripples in the stock and commodities markets. The European Central Bank is depending on two main strategies to keep the region from buckling under the current debt crisis. One is keeping interest rates at the current level despite the fact that this move may cause a slowdown in economic activity. On Thursday the European Central bank also opened an emergency loan facility for banks to help tide them over during the existing crisis. These loans will run from 12 to 13 months and will be unlimited to help banks avoid the issue of limited liquidity.
In an effort to bolster the UK economy, the Bank of England has already put a substantial US$423 billion (£275 billion) into the economy. Japan is also planning to pump lots of money into their economy if the European debt crisis explodes and starts derailing the global economy.
Commodities Market Responds Positively to European Banking News
With hopes high after the European Commission asked European banks to recapitalize and the expectation that they will do so, the commodities market is showing growth. One commodity in which this growth is evident is coffee beans. Reports online indicate that consumers may have to pay more for that caffeine buzz as prices start to show a positive upward trend after a period of negative growth. Oil prices have also responded positively to the US job report and the news out of Europe. West Texas Intermediate or light sweet crude is showing an increase for November from $80.65 to $82.82 based on information from the New York Mercantile Exchange.
When the market opens next week no one knows what will happen, but all eyes will once again be on activities in Europe. A worsening debt crisis there will negatively impact the financial sector in the USA and across the globe.
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