Small Rise in Stocks after State of the Union (Bloomberg)
In the aftermath of President Obama’s address last night, investors considered what the speech might mean for the future of the economy. Today, stock market results were a mixed bag, though they leaned positive: for every three stocks that fell, four rose. While the Dow fell 0.3%, the S&P 500 rose 0.1% to its highest point since late 2007. “It’s the classic battle between fear and greed,” said Wayne Lin, fund manager at Baltimore-based Legg Mason Inc. “The fear is that equities have extended beyond what the fundamentals are. People are taking a wait-and-see attitude to see if the economic data is supporting a fundamentally cyclical recovery.”
More Quitting Points to Economic Recovery (CNBC)
December 2012 was host to the fewest layoffs since Government data collection began in 2000, and the month also had more people quit their jobs than any month since June 2008. These signs point to job growth, a key component of a healthy economy. “These points go against the popular notion that the economy ground to a halt while DC negotiated the Fiscal Cliff late last year, and supports the hope domestic labor markets can continue to improve in 2013,” wrote Beth Reed of ConvergEx Group.
United States and EU to Start Free Trade Discussion (Reuters)
The possessors of the world’s two largest economies, the United States and the European Union, plan to begin discussing a vast Transatlantic free trade pact by June, signaling impatience with the lack of a new global agreement to cut tariffs and ease commerce. EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: “These negotiations will set a standard, not only for our future bilateral trade and investment, including regulatory issues, but also for the development of global trade rules.”