Japan's current account deficit widened to a record in December
2013 at -638.6 billion yen, which should put further pressure on
the Japanese yen. Asian equities rallied for the fourth straight
day, but emerging markets continued to be under pressure. The MSCI
Emerging Markets Index declined by 1.33% in today's trading.
Markets remained largely on hold ahead of tomorrow morning's
Humphrey-Hawkins testimony from new Fed chairperson Janet Yellen.
(INDEXSP:.INX) traded in a small seven-point range for the session
and volume was light on the NYSE at only 84% of the 10-day average.
Defensive health-care and utilities stocks were the leaders today;
the industrial and energy sectors were the laggards. Treasury
Secretary Jack Lew reported to Congress that he had undertaken
extraordinary measures to prevent the US government from
defaulting, though this did not appear to be a concern for
investors today. Congress is currently attempting to pass a bill
that would extend the US's borrowing authority until June 2015.
Renowned activist investor Carl Icahn announced today that he would
) about his proposal to drastically increase the company's stock
buyback plan and increase its dividend, which caused the stock
price to surge. Apple rose 1.86% in today's trading.
Natural gas futures continued their erratic trading again today,
dropping 4.26% at the close of floor trading. Following an
inordinate amount of snowfall in the Northeast, weather forecasters
are calling for milder conditions in the near future, which is
negative for the price of natural gas.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
The main highlight for tomorrow's trading will be the testimony by
Janet Yellen at 10:00 a.m. Typically, Fed members do not reveal any
new direction on monetary policy at these testimonies, but rather
tend to stay much more general. However, investors will be keeping
a close eye on the chairperson's prepared remarks to see if there
is any information to be gleaned about future policy direction.
The December JOLTS job openings survey and wholesale inventories
report are scheduled to be released tomorrow morning. The
inventories report should affect the fourth-quarter GDP report if
there is any deviation from the expected growth. Economists
estimate that inventories grew 0.5% month-over-month in December
The only global economic reports scheduled for tomorrow are
December 2013 Australian home loans and NAB business confidence
Eighteen major US companies are scheduled to report earnings
tomorrow. Notable reports include those from