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The stock market today reopened after having its first two-day weather-related shutdown since 1888. While most of New York is still in clean up and recovery mode following Hurricane Sandy, investors are back in action in what is expected to be a busy remainder to the week.
Here are the latest headlines:
- Traders try to play catch up– The NYSE's two-day closure resulted in delayed earnings and economic reports, and unluckily came at the end of the month. Investors and especially traders will be trying to make up for the lost time, leading to higher volume due to unfulfilled trades from Monday and Tuesday. Besides the volume, volatility could be high as traders close out their books for the month. Also, for some mutual funds today is the end of their fiscal year, meaning more losses could be taken to offset capital gains. "The two-day delay is really the perfect storm in terms of when it occurred. To happen in the heart of earnings season and just a week before an election is rather unfortunate," Ryan Detrick, senior technical analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research told Yahoo! Finance. "Had this happened during the boring summer months it wouldn't have mattered as much, but with so much happening currently, the odds of some huge volatility on big volume is very good. Throw in the fact this is the end of the month and the end of the year for some hedge funds, volume today could be in line with what we normally see on expiration Friday once a month as firms close their books on the year."
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- Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) and General Motors Co (NYSE: GM) surge– Ford was one of the few companies to release earnings yesterday (Tuesday) and investors are cheering its efforts. Ford posted record quarterly earnings in its North American unit and its adjusted earnings of 40 cents per share blew past forecasts for 30 cents a share. Following the peak of the financial crisis, Ford has now reported 14 consecutive quarterly profits. GM reported earnings today that also crushed forecasts. Its adjusted earnings per share for the third quarter was 93 cents, over 50% higher than the 60-cent projection. "This should be the global example of what restructurings look like: Cut 30% and bring your union contracts in line with today's realities," Peter Nesvold, an analyst with Jefferies & Co., told Bloomberg News in a telephone interview, referring to North America. "It shows you how profitable these businesses can be." GM stock is up over 8% and Ford stock is up almost 6.5% as of noon.
There remains a major concern for Ford and GM, and that's Europe. Each company reported a loss in their European units and Ford announced it will close three factories and cut 6,200 workers by mid-decade in the struggling region where conditions continue to deteriorate.
- Eurozone unemployment reaches record-high- Halloween just got a little scarier for Europeans as Eurostat reported today that unemployment in September reached a record-high 11.6% for the 17 nations that use the euro currency. The number has steadily risen from last September's level of 10.3%. Spain and Greece, no surprise here, have the highest unemployment, with 25.8% and 25.1%, respectively. The U.S. unemployment report is still scheduled to be released Friday and some analysts are speculating it could be the first month with a negative jobs number since September 2010. If that happens the markets might begin to slide and as Jim Rogers has said could really accelerate after the election.
[Investors: Are you tempted to do some hurricane investing? Before you do, check out this analysis from our Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald.]
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