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Stocks Close Month on a Sour Note

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Stocks Close Month on a Sour Note

Stocks started the trading session on Friday on the defensive as volatility continued to generate negative sentiment in the equity markets. Stocks moved lower for all three major averages despite well better than expected earnings released by Google after the bell on Thursday. Friday’s US economic data did little to boost investment sentiment with consumer spending printing at a weaker than expected reading. The Nasdaq recovered nearly all of its losses and printed in the black mid-day before traders put pressure on stocks into the close pushing all three major averages into the red. For the most all three major average finished lower which was the first time this occurred since 2010.

On Friday the Commerce Department reported that consumer spending increased 0.4 percent after rising by a revised 0.6 percent in November. Economists polled had forecast consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rising 0.2 percent in December.

Consumer spending recorded its strongest gain in three years in the fourth quarter, helping to lift GDP to 3.2 percent annually. Unfortunately, personal income was unchanged in December after rising 0.2 percent in November, possibly reflecting the impact of the end of jobless benefits for about 1.3 million long-term unemployed last month.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) published its Q4 earnings report and the results are mostly in line with Wall Street expectations, though it missed on earnings per share due to larger than expected losses at Motorola, which doubled from the year-ago-quarter. Over the last three months, the company reported revenue of $16.86 billion and $3.37 billion in net income.

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