Stocks in the US started the Trading Session in the Black
Stocks in the US started the trading session in the black buoyed by the Nikkei which closed up 1.1% and notch up a second consecutive gain above 16,000. The Nikkei was buoyed by a weak yen which is trading above 104 and poised to test the 106.70 monthly highs.
UPS and FedEx where caught off guard by a large surge in online purchases. A last-minute wave of online shopping and bad weather left major retailers such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) , Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) unable to fulfill guarantees to deliver packages in time for Christmas.
U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in the past in five months in December as the outlook on the economy and job prospects improved. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s overall index of consumer sentiment jumped to 82.5 for December, up from the 75.1 posted in November.
Retailers are expected to roll out huge discounts following this weaker than expected holiday shopping season. The season was shorter than last years by 4 shopping days, which provided a slight backlog in inventory. Macy’s (NYSE:M) will be offering a buy one get one free on a number of items including men’s suits and dress shirts. Sears will be offering 40% off on appliances for customers who use their Sear’s credit cards and spend more than $500 dollars. K-Mart will be offering 0.50 gasoline discounts to customers who purchase P&G products.
The National Retail Federation still expects 2013 holiday sales to increase 3.9% year over year which weekly in store sales from December 16, through December 22nd declined 3.5% according to according to ShopperTrak.
On Thursday, the Department of Labor released better than expected jobless claims which continue to buoy equity bourses. Jobless claims declined by 42,000 to 338,000 in the week ended December 21, 2013. The median forecast called for a drop to 345,000. The jobless claims report showed the four-week moving average, rose to 348,000 last week from 343,750.
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