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U.S. Economy

Top News

Why U.S. Retail Sales Dropped in January – and How You Can Profit

U.S. retail sales – which account for 70% of economic activity – unexpectedly fell 0.4% for the month of January according to the Commerce Department today (Thursday). The decline marks the second straight drop after a 0.1% fall in December.

Auto sales were the major contributor to the miss. Sales of motor vehicles and parts dropped 2.1%, while Americans also spent less on restaurants and clothing. The report also showed soft holiday sales for retailers at the end of last year.

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Top News

Does Weather Move the Markets?

Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald appeared on FOX Business' "Varney & Co." this morning (Tuesday) to answer the question, "Does weather move the markets?"

Georgia will fall victim today to a winter storm the National Weather Service is calling "a historic, catastrophic event." Atlanta will shut down for the next two days, and U.S. President Barack Obama declared an emergency for the state. The storm will ultimately affect more than 100 million people, from Texas to Georgia, New York, and Massachusetts this week.

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The Fed

Janet Yellen Testimony to Congress

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivered the semiannual Monetary Policy Report Tuesday morning before the House of Representatives. This was Yellen's first public address since assuming the role as head of the U.S. central bank after predecessor Ben Bernanke on Feb. 3, 2014.

Yellen, who until last week served as vice chair of the Fed, testified on the health of the U.S. economy, her commitment to the central bank's ongoing stimulus efforts, and regulatory needs for the financial system.

The full text of Yellen's remarks follows.

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Why Bitcoin Prices Are Falling – And What That Means

A fresh crisis may be the beginning of the end for Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, but the harm to the digital currency itself will be temporary.

Fans of the digital currency woke up Friday trying to figure out why Bitcoin prices are falling after more than a month of relative price stability on the Japan-based exchange.

Long plagued by issues in getting fiat currencies from Mt. Gox accounts to user bank accounts, the exchange in recent days started having trouble transferring bitcoins as well.

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Stock Market Today

U.S. Stock Market Today Nails In Another Rally

Stock market today, Feb. 7: Today (Friday), U.S. stocks closed in positive territory for a second consecutive session after the January jobs report revealed a declining unemployment rate.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1.06%, or 165.55 points at 15,794.08 points; the S&P 500 closed up 1.33%%, or 23.6 points at 1,797.02, and the Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 1.68%, or 68.7 points at 4,125.86.

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Hot Stocks

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE: KORS) Stock Up 18% With This Winning Retail Formula

This morning (Tuesday), Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE: KORS) announced a 59% increase in revenue for its fiscal 2014 Q3 report ending Dec. 28, 2013, compared to Q3 2013, marking the 31st consecutive quarter of growth for the global luxury brand.

Kors' quarterly earnings per share (EPS) climbed 73.4% to $1.11 per share, shattering the consensus estimates of $0.86. Wholesale net sales increased 68.2% to $461.4 million and licensing revenue increased 59.0% to $47.4 million.

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Washington

2014 State of the Union Address: Nine Ideas You'll Hear Tonight and Why They Matter

SOTU 2014: U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union address tonight, which means tomorrow most media outlets will graph and "wordcloud" his most used buzzwords like "jobs," "invest," and "innovate."

Instead of waiting until after the SOTU, we put together the nine phrases you're likely to hear tonight – as well as why President Obama needs to address them.

Here's your outline of State of the Union 2014:

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U.S. Economy

Don't Fear China and Japan Owning More U.S. Debt

The U.S. Treasury Department said today (Thursday) that total foreign holdings of U.S. debt rose 1.1% in November to $5.72 trillion, putting foreign holdings 0.1% below the all-time high of $5.76 trillion it reached in March 2013.

In particular, China's holdings reached record levels, increasing 0.9% to $1.32 billion, and so did Japan, which boosted its holdings by 1% to $1.19 trillion. The two countries are the largest and second-largest foreign buyers of Treasury debt, respectively.

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Top News

Dismal December Jobs Report Tells Us What the Government Doesn't Want To

After several consecutive months of job gains near or above 200,000, the streak came to an abrupt halt with the December jobs report – reminding everyone how fragile our economy still is.

Payroll growth last month slowed to the slowest pace since January 2011. Employers added a skimpy 74,000 jobs in December, Friday's Labor Department report revealed.

what that means for stocks...

Top News

Why President Obama's Economic Plans Won't Fix Anything

President Obama's economic plans have some pundits scratching their heads this week.

President Obama pushed for a $6.4 billion expansion plan for unemployment benefits this week. He has also unrolled a plan where impoverished areas, termed "Promise Zones," will receive additional tax incentives, housing assistance, and education grants from the federal government.

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