August 26, 2013 – August 30th, 2013
We start off the week with Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that Syria used chemical weapons on its opposition movement . This set the tone for most of the week, with the market nervous on fears of military intervention in the Middle East.
Orders for durable goods plunged in July. The Commerce Department reported that orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods dropped 7.3%, the biggest decline since last August, ending three consecutive months of gains.
The Conference Board released its consumer confidence index for August and it increased to 81.5, up from 81. This is close to a 5.5 year high. A reading of 90 signals a healthy economy.
Home prices in Case-Shiller’s 20-city index were up 2.2% month-month and 12.1% year-year.
Pending home sales declined 1.3% in July according to the National Association of Realtors, while weekly mortgage applications fell for the third straight week.
Jobless claims dropped 6,000 to 331,000, about what analysts expected, but the big news was the upward revision of the second quarter GDP from 1.7% to 2.5%. The main reason for the change was an upward revision for net exports.
The Commerce Department reported that personal income and consumer spending were basically flat, both only rising .1% in July. In addition, the Personal Consumption Expenditures Index, or PCE, showed a yearly rate of inflation of only 1.4%.
Now let’s review some individual stocks. Facebook remains strong after a report from eMarketer shows the social media company will capture almost 16% of the mobile internet ad market this year, up from 5% in 2012. In addition Facebook’s international monthly active users jumped from 248 million at the end of 2009 to 863 million at the end of 2012.
Zale Corporation (NYSE: ZLCZ) had a 22% surge in its share price last Wednesday, as well as hitting a 52-week high on news that its fiscal fourth quarter loss was lower than expected. This was also Zales’ first substantial full-year profit in six years.
Catalyst Pharmaceuticals Partners Inc. (NASDAQ: CPRX) shot up 50% when they revealed that the FDA has given Breakthrough Therapy designation to their Firdapse product. This designation allows the FDA to expedite the development and review of drugs that show substantial improvement in treatment of serious or life threatening conditions. morning
With crude futures hitting two-year highs due to jitters over Syria, investors think extra profits might be in store for oil companies. ExxonMobil Corporation (NYSE: XON) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) both had solid gains, but later gave some back