On Monday U.S. markets closed early in anticipation of Christmas. However, trading was extremely volatile on reports that President Trump is considering how to remove Fed Chair Jerome Powell along with news that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin called leaders of the six largest U.S. banks over the weekend to reassure them. In addition, the Federal Government shut down over the past weekend as Congress couldn’t agree on funding. The Dow Industrials closed down 653 points, the S&P 500 fell 2.7% and the Nasdaq Composite slid 2.2%.
On Tuesday, markets were closed for Christmas and on Wednesday the Case-Shiller home price index for October rose .4% on top of the prior month’s .7% gain. Markets rocketed up with the Dow Industrials logging its largest one-day point gain in history, closing up 1086 points. The S&P 500 rose almost 5% and the Nasdaq Composite surged over 5.8%. Retailers did particularly well as data released showed they were having their best holiday season in six years. Energy stocks also spiked as U.S. crude shot up more than 9% to $46.59 a barrel.
On Thursday jobless claims for the week ending December 22nd declined 1,000 to 216,000 and consumer confidence for December fell 8.3 points to 128.1, lower than expectations. Trade issues with China continued to simmer with a report stating the U.S. government is considering banning U.S. companies from using telecom equipment made by Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE. Markets were very volatile with the Dow Industrials falling 611 points at its lowest point during the day. However, by the close, markets rallied and the Dow Industrials finished up 260 points.
On Friday the pending home sales index for November declined .7% and markets once again opened with high volatility. Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced Wednesday morning a record-breaking holiday season, with more items ordered worldwide than ever before. Customers purchased millions more Amazon Devices this holiday season compared to last year – the best-selling devices included the new Echo Dot, and the Fire TV Stick 4K with the new Alexa Voice Remote. Amazon shares opened higher Wednesday, and reached over $1470 before the market close.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company (NYSE: LMT), and Boeing (NYSE: BA) on Wednesday provided the first look at the SB>1 DEFIANT helicopter that the companies have developed for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role technology demonstrator program. The SB>1 is designed to fly at twice the speed and range of today’s conventional helicopters and offers advanced agility and maneuverability.
PQ Group Holdings Inc. (NYSE: PQG) announced Thursday, that by December 31, 2018, it intends to repay an additional $55 million of its term loan facility, reducing total debt outstanding during 2018 by approximately $135 million. Shares of PQ Group rose to over $15 post announcement.
Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has announced this week via Twitter, ambitious plans regarding the expansion of the supercharger network in Europe. “Supercharger coverage will extend to 100% of Europe next year. From Ireland to Kiev, from Norway to Turkey,” Musk said. Thinking long term, Musk also said that Tesla may install superchargers in Africa in 2020.