The stock market today is off to a strong start with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up more than 150 points around noon.
Right out of the gate, the Dow advanced 107.78, or 0.70%, to 15,410.88, the Standard & Poor's spiked 14.82, or 0.90%, to 1,664.42, and the Nasdaq jumped 40.47, or 1.17%, to 3,499.61.
Boosting the stock market today were accommodative comments from international central banks that the printing presses won't be turned off anytime soon.
The Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank both reaffirmed that their easy money policies will remain intact as long as necessary. The news sent European and Asian markets all up more than 1%, with the momentum spilling over to the United States.
One Sure Winner as We Fight Deflation
[Editor's Note: We are constantly surveying the investment world for ideas, hidden stories and unique perspectives to share with you. One of our favorite spots to look is The Aden Forecast, which has been written by Mary Anne and Pam Aden for decades. This recent article they crafted for you is testament to why we value their insight and analysis.]
For the past six months or so, we've talked a lot about the velocity of money and its effects. Increasingly, it's become the most important factor in understanding the markets and the uncharted waters we're currently navigating.
For years we've been delicately sailing between the Scylla and Charybdis of our day, between inflation and deflation. And the sharp drop in gold was yet another slide towards deflation's shores.
Meanwhile, the world's central bankers have been at the helm, doing all they can to keep deflationary pressures at bay and steer hard toward inflation.
But despite their unprecedented global efforts, including massive money stimulus and near zero interest rates, the rocky shores of deflation loom larger and larger. Here's why...
California Just Gave Us a Glimpse of How Obamacare Will Fail
Turns out no one knows how Obamacare will work - not even the big-name insurers.
And now, we're starting to see the effects of uncertainty.
Today (Thursday), the Los Angeles Times reported that United Health, Aetna, and Cigna have opted out of the California insurance exchange.
UnitedHealth has adopted a wait-and-see policy: "We are simply taking the time to carefully evaluate and better understand how the exchanges will work to ensure we are best prepared to participate meaningfully in their development," explains a spokesman to the LA Times.
Cigna resolved to participate in exchanges in only half of the 10 states where it sells individual health policies, and California didn't make the cut.
Aetna referred LA Times' questions to Covered California, the state agency in charge of implementing Obamacare.
That means millions of Californians who will have to choose health insurance from exchanges or face a penalty will not be able to pick plans from those three big insurers - signaling limited options ahead thanks to Obamacare.
UnitedHealth, Aetna, and Cigna's response to the California exchange is just the beginning.
These three companies are but the first dominoes to fall to Obamacare's less-than-clear implementation.
U.S. GDP: America is About to Look Richer – But Don't Be Fooled
America's about to become more wealthy - on paper, at least.
That's because the way the country's gross domestic product, or U.S. GDP, is measured will change significantly come July 31, enough to boost the closely watched economic barometer by 3%, or $400 billion.
That translates to the equivalent of about $1,500 more worth of goods and services per person in the United States.
The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis claims the changes will allow for more consistent comparisons with data for the economies of other nations.
What the revised U.S. GDP, which will apply retroactively to 1929, will really do is make the country look healthier than it actually is.
What it speaks to in my mind is the oldest of all games: It's administrative whitewash, Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald said. If reality doesn't fit your statistics, you adjust your statistics and say, 'Let's make everybody feel good about what we're doing by readjusting the calculations.'
Stock Market Today Reacts to Merger Monday on Wall Street
It was a muted start for U.S. equities when the stock market today (Monday) opened. But by mid-day, the bulls were back and benchmarks marched higher.
Just before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13.41, or 0.09%, to 15,354.40. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 2.54, or 0.15%, to 1,670.01. The Nasdaq was higher by 6.42, or 0.18%, to 3,505.39
Year-to-date, the Dow is up 17.17%, the S&P up 16.92% and the Nasdaq 15.88%. Moreover, the number of stocks in the S&P hitting 52-week highs rose to 37.2%, according to Bespoke Investment Group, proof the rally is indeed broad based.
How the Sequester is Killing Healthcare Jobs
Sequester-driven budget cuts to Medicare are threatening to spur massive job cuts in the healthcare industry.
And the pain doesn't stop there - the sequester cuts are already making healthcare harder to obtain for some Medicare patients.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. The longer Congress allows sequestration to continue, the deeper the cuts will go and the more widespread their impact.
When President Barack Obama and Congress failed to reach agreement on $1.2 trillion in cuts to federal spending before March 30 -- as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 -- the sequester kicked in.
Medicare providers faced mandatory 2% across-the-board reductions in their reimbursements.
After the cuts went into effect on April 1, hospitals, doctors, insurers, prescription drug plans, and other healthcare providers immediately felt the impact.
In short, the sequester is delivering precisely the kind of broad, damaging and indiscriminate cuts that politicians warned would happen.
And as each day passes, the drastic consequences grow worse.
It's Enough to Make Your Blood Boil
Here are two items that will upset you...
First, back in February, Attorney General Eric Holder christened the unofficial official doctrine of "Too Big to Jail."
He told Congress, "The size of some of these institutions [TBTF banks] becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if we do prosecute - if we do bring a criminal charge - it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."
Of course, it was only the christening of another neat little name.
Healthcare Costs: Same Procedure is $7,000 Here and $100,000 There
When it comes to healthcare costs, Americans have been left in the dark.
Unlike when booking a hotel or buying a new flat-screen TV, Americans haven't had easy access to cost-comparison measures when deciding where to have their medical procedures done.
Turns out, if we had, some of us could have saved tens of thousands of dollars...
Obamacare Facts: Check Out How High Your Premium Rate Will Soar
Here's something from our list of Obamacare facts we've been examining: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was supposed to make healthcare cheaper for all Americans, even free for some.
Facing constant criticism for his landmark healthcare bill, U.S. President Barack Obama continues to preach that new healthcare will indeed lower costs. Just two weeks ago he went so far as to claim that "for the 85% to 90% of Americans who already have health insurance, they're already experiencing most of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act even if they don't know it."
Unfortunately, it's looking increasingly unlikely that's the case.
Symptoms Don't Lie
A good doctor will not simply make a diagnosis based on measurements. The symptoms and complaints expressed by the patient are at least as important in making a determination as the data provided by diagnostic tools.
When the data says one thing and the symptoms continuously say another, it makes sense to question the reliability of the instruments.
This would be particularly true if the instruments are furnished by a party with a stake in a favorable diagnosis, say an insurance company on the hook for treatment costs.