Market Volatility Returns
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 353.87 points on Thursday, the biggest decline since November 1, 2011. According to the Wall Street Journal, two issues impacted the market. The first was worries about the health of China’s economy and financial sector and the second was the beginning of the end of the Fed’s bond buying stimulus. Gains in many assets had been fueled by exceptionally low interest rates and expectations that the Fed would keep pumping money into the economy. This caused investors to pull out of these assets. Earlier today, rates in China’s money markets fell sharply on rumors that big banks were ordered to loosen up cash. Interbank funding in China has been stressed with Chinese banks unwilling to lend to one another. This may lessen volatility in other markets. The Associated Press reports that stock futures were up prior to the opening of the market.
Russia and China agree on 25 year oil deal
Russia’s Rosneft has signed a deal to supply China with $270 billion worth of oil over the next 25 years, according to the Financial Times. The contract is likely to be followed by an agreement by Novatek, Russia’s largest independent gas producer, with China’s Sinopec to take a stake in its $20 billion liquefied natural gas project. The deal represents a shift in Russia from relying upon Europe for distribution of its oil to firming up its relationship with China.
Quadruple witching strikes markets today
Quadruple or triple witching occurs when options and futures contracts expire on the third Friday of the month. Four types of contracts expire in the US markets today, according to CNBC. Experts fear that investors may believe the Bull Run is over and may be selling their positions today. The VIX Index, which measures volatility in the market has been at its highest levels since November, when it was impacted by the election.
Instagram adds video
On Thursday, Facebook’s popular Instagram added a video feature. Instagram now lets users record and share short videos on their mobile devices, much like Twitter’s competitive application known as Vine. The Associated Press reports that Vine has 13 million users, just one-tenth of the user base of Instagram. Videos on Instagram can be up to 15 seconds, unlike Vine videos that are 6 seconds.
Singapore disrupted by haze
Singapore has been covered by a deep level of haze with the Pollutant Standard Index, a measure of air quality, surging to 401, a level deemed as “hazardous”. According to CNBC, the haze is an annual phenomenon in Singapore caused by Indonesian crop burning. This year it has come earlier than usual and is much worse than normal. The government’s handling of the smog, which could persist for days or even weeks, frustrates residents. The number of outbound flights has increased by 22 percent this week.
Americans Watching More TV, Not Working
A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, called the American Time Use Survey, showed that the average American aged 15 or older spent 3 hours, 32 minutes per day doing work-related activities. That is down from 2011 when the time spent on work jumped to 3 hours and 34 minutes. According to the Wall Street Journal, the survey, which has been conducted since 2003, covers both employed and unemployed individuals. Many factors impact the hours worked including unemployment and the number of retirees. The labor force participation rate has fallen from 64 percent in December 2011 to 63.6 percent at the end of 2012. Americans watch TV for 2 hours and 50 minutes per day, a second straight increase from 2 hours and 44 minutes in 2010.
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.