George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

January 29, 2015

Like the highways in Boston, the stock market just doesn’t seem to have any traction. Several times lately, the markets have opened with decent gains -- only to drift lower as the session progressed. Yesterday was another example. After an initial rally following the boffo Q4 report from Apple, the markets did a U-turn and the Dow industrials finished the session with a loss of 196 points. The index is now down 3.5 percent with just two trading sessions left in January. It is often said, "As goes January, so goes the year." The markets were down in the first month of 2014 and still posted gains for the entire year, proving old adages are not always accurate.

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Like the highways in Boston, the stock market just doesn’t seem to have any traction. Several times lately, the markets have opened with decent gains -- only to drift lower as the session progressed. Yesterday was another example.

There was nothing in the Fed report yesterday to help or hurt the stock market. As expected, the Yellen gang said it would remain "patient" before raising short-term interest rates. To be sure, the statement issued by the Fed after the two-day meeting said the economy is growing at a "solid pace." The takeaway from the statement for some analysts is that the first rate hike could likely show up in September. Some are now saying the action could happen in 2016.

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The Fed has to be pleased with this morning's report showing the number of applications for unemployment benefits fell by 43,000 in the past week to 265,000, the lowest level since April 2000. The Department of Labor said there were no unusual circumstances impacting the big decline, but some analysts are saying the fact the government offices were closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Day may have had some effect. The Fed will also be watching tomorrow's report on wages and benefits in Q4 2014. Don't expect any big increase in salaries.

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Shares of Qualcomm are down 10 percent this morning after the company reported strong Q4 results but warned of "product challenges" throughout 2015. The company has denied reports that its new Snapdragon processor was overheating in tests. A few weeks ago, Samsung said it would not use the Qualcomm chip in the newest version of its popular Galaxy S smartphone.

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Imagine being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. You announce your retirement and the stock price goes up. That's the case this morning with Don Thompson, who is leaving McDonald’s, which has struggled lately with weak U.S. sales and international problems. In a news release, Thompson said he is sad to leave his "McFamily."

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Looking for a good sign about the economy? Consider this: Americans will spend $14.31 billion to celebrate the Super Bowl. The National Retail Federation says that is 65 percent higher than it was as recently as 2007 when fans dropped $8.71 billion for the big game parties. Folks will consume more than 1.25 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday.

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A night to remember. About 400 people gathered at the Hahn Center at USD last night to celebrate the retirement of Mark Riedy as director of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate. Mark has been at the helm since its founding 22 years ago and has turned the program into one of the nation's most respected venues combining industry leaders with MBA students. Many of the people who helped Mark pull the program together, including the elite Woodruff scholars, shared their experiences working and learning from Mark. There were many highlights last night but one of the best was the presentation by Mark's son, John, which was incredibly funny and yet very tender as he talked about his dad. I was honored to be the master of ceremonies for the dinner and look forward to many, many rounds of golf with Mark in the coming years.

More George Chamberlin Columns

Stocks rebound amid corporate earnings as energy reverses

The stock market rebounded on Thursday, recovering a big part of the losses in the two previous trading sessions as earnings boosted consumer and materials shares.

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

Like the highways in Boston, the stock market just doesn’t seem to have any traction. Several times lately, the markets have opened with decent gains -- only to drift lower as the session progressed. Yesterday was another example.

Stocks decline as energy slump, Fed overshadow Apple rally

Growing concerns about fourth-quarter corporate earnings drove stock prices lower again Wednesday.

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

Bad news, good news. Yesterday the stock market reacted to some terrible Q4 earnings reports, especially from Microsoft. The stock declined by nearly 10 percent and wiped out $34.7 billion in market value. The Dow industrials fell more than 400 points in early trading but bounced back a bit to finish down 291 points.

Weekly Updates

George Chamberlin on the Markets

Jan. 26, 2015 -- Executive Editor George Chamberlin recaps last week's financial events and looks at the week's upcoming announcements.

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Video Interviews

Voit Real Estate's Eric Northbrook on commercial real estate

Jan. 13, 2015 -- George Chamberlin speaks with Eric Northbrook, managing director at Voit Real Estate Services, discuss the commercial real estate market and how the industrial segment is the strongest.

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