Thursday, January 31, 2013
U.S. stocks finished off a strong January with losses Thursday as the S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the NASDAQ was fractionally lower. This was still the largest January gain since 1997 and largest monthly gain since October 2011 at 5.1%. The NASDAQ finished off a 4.1% month.
In economic data:
- The Commerce Department said American incomes rose 2.6% last month, the biggest increase since December 2004. However you may recall a lot of income was drawn forward by the fiscal cliff as a lot of special dividends and other such one time payouts were brought into 2012 to avoid any increases in taxes in 2013. So expect a pay back for this in 2013.
- The Labor Department said the number of people applying for jobless benefits jumped by 38,000 last week to 368,000, marking the biggest increase since the week after Superstorm Sandy.
Oil fell 0.5% to $97.49, gold dropped 1.15% to $1660.60, and silver sunk 2.6% to $31.35.
Germany's DAX index declined 0.45% but advanced 2.1% in January. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index dropped 0.7% but finished January up 6.4%, its best month since October 2011. France's CAC-40 fell 0.9% but gained 2.5% on the month.
- German unemployment rose above three million people in January, taking the number of unemployed to the highest level since March 2011. However, the jobless rate declined to 6.8% from 6.9% the previous month, below forecasts.
- Germany posted a sharp drop in retail sales in December, falling 1.7% on the month and 4.7% on the year.
- German consumer price inflation slowed to 1.7% in January.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.2% on the day, and climbed 7.2% on the month, to the highest level since October 2008. China's Shanghai index added 0.1% to finish at its highest point in eight months.
- Japan's industrial output rose 2.5% on-month in December, below expectations for a 4.0% rise.