|Dow||+41.94 to 18,025.01|
|S&P 500||+3.12 to 2,083.47|
|Nasdaq||+19.86 to 4,797.30|
|10-YR Yield||-0.01 to 2.18%|
|Gold||-$13.60 to $1,186.90|
|Crude Oil||-$1.30 to $52.86|
Mike Larson, Money and Markets columnist and editor of the Safe Money Report, is out this afternoon. Mark Najarian, the managing editor of Money and Markets, is filling in. Mike’s regular afternoon column will return on Monday …
As the final hours of 2014 tick away, I wanted to present some thoughts about various issues and get your viewpoints. One of the most interesting aspects of publishing the Money and Markets Afternoon Edition is getting reader responses, even when they totally disagree with what we have to say. So here are some random thoughts on New Year’s Eve — feel free to click here to share your thoughts with your fellow readers.
In the past few days, the cable news networks have been offering nonstop coverage of the AirAsia tragedy. It appears as if they are trying to recapture the ratings that came with the mystery of Malaysia Airlines MH370, which still hasn’t been found. Coverage of the recent disaster has continued with the discovery of the debris and some bodies. They definitely should cover the deadly disaster and human tragedy. But was it really necessary to shove cameras in the faces of family members who had gathered at airports to await the fate of their relatives? Were close-ups of the pain necessary? What does that add? People often want to talk about their family members after they have been hit by tragedy — but after they have been able to compose themselves, not when they’re waiting or grieving. I’ve been a journalist all of my adult life, but I’ve never felt the need to add to people’s grief by shoving cameras in their face in times of tragedy. Back off a bit! What do you think? Are journalists too intrusive in situations like this? Click here if you want to respond.
|With prices falling, it certainly is nice saving $10-$30 with every fill-up.|
I’ve been watching the gasoline prices fall at the pumps. Whatever effect the decline of oil prices has on global markets, it certainly is nice saving $10-$30 with every fill-up. It’s not making me drive any more than I normally would, but the extra money — while I wouldn’t call it a windfall — does improve my consumer confidence. How about you? Are you driving more with the lower gasoline prices, saving a little extra money every month, or quickly spending that money on other things? Click here to comment.
Speaking of consumer (and business) confidence, it seems to be continuing to rise. The closely watched U.S. Economic Confidence Index announced by Gallup yesterday moved into positive territory for the first time since the start of the Great Recession in 2007. I won’t bother you with the specific numbers, but here’s a link to the survey if you want to check it out. Other confidence indexes have also been rising recently, and of course equity markets are at record highs. Nevertheless, many comments by Money and Markets readers have indicated that some people don’t believe the numbers, or don’t feel that the good times have reached “real” America. Do you fit into this category? Do you still lack confidence? If so, what would it take to improve your mood? Is that even possible? Would a Dow 20,000 do it? Add in your comments.
We recently had a lot of comments about the U.S. looking to reset its relations with Cuba. No matter what our views are on the moral right or wrong of the policy, it does seem that Americans, the American way of life and tourist dollars will soon force real change on the communist-led island. Travel hasn’t been opened up just yet, but it eventually will. Some people still feel that we should have waited until the rulers of Cuba make real changes or until there is a new set of leaders there. What’s your view? Should we count on American free-market views to overflow the island and force change? Would you consider visiting Cuba, even if it is still under the Castro regime? Should we have waited longer? Add comments by clicking here.
|“I was a journalist for four years in Russia, and I saw very little anti-government movements in that time.”|
News reports out of Russia indicate anti-government protests have broken out in Moscow. I was a journalist for four years in Russia, and I saw very little anti-government movements in that time. And in a country of 140 million people and a city with a population of 12 million, a few thousand people on the streets shouting against the government can’t be called a mass movement. The authorities there are still good at keeping disturbances under control, and there are likely to be arrests and long prison sentences for protest leaders, but with Russia’s recent economic troubles — it will go into recession in 2015 — these events warrant our attention. Any views? It doesn’t seem to be in anyone’s benefit if turmoil in Russia gets out of control, or even for the economy to suffer a major collapse. Click here to add any thoughts.
And the last random thought: A news report today states that more than 4 million people joined or re-enrolled as of Dec. 15 in the initial period for the new season of the Affordable Care Act. Putting the numbers aside, has Obamacare affected you personally or your business? I’d be especially interested to hear if it has affected any of your investments. Have you had a stock pick that really benefited (or suffered) from all of this? Click here.
That’s it. You have the last word for 2014.
Best wishes for the New Year,