It was a good week for the markets this week. The DOW went up 11.3% for the week- the biggest one-week gain since October 1987 (also the time of the last market crash) and it was generally very positive globally too.
It's actually kind of strange seeing as there wasn't exactly any positive news coming out this week. The GDP data came out and we are officially in a recession with an annual GDP decline of 0.3% in the third quarter. It is expected to continue until at least the first quarter of next year. The consumer confidence index is at an all time low, since they started tracking it in 1967. It fell from 61.4 to 38 in a month- the third steepest drop. Companies continue to report declining earnings. The only highlight is that as a result there are some amazing sales out there. Saks is already taking EXTRA 40% off already reduced items- I got something at 70% off today! If only I had the capital to fully utilize the opportunity. Maybe the market is just so used to all this stuff by now that it has already been factored in and now everyone is just looking for a bargain.
One piece of good news was the Fed cutting its rate again this month by another 0.5% to 1%. Experts were not expecting it to help much, but since the market reacted very positively, I guess they were wrong. The rates are expected to hold from now- or so I hope. They've got to save something in case of an even rainier day- or month! Another factor contributing to the positive market may be because some of the government actions are finally taking effect. The commercial paper lending program started this week, and I heard it's doing quite well. There are signs that the credit market is finally thawing. JP Morgan also announced that they are halting home foreclosures for 90 days and modifying loan terms to help those living in the home and show a "willingness" to pay, which is very nice of them.
Then there is the upcoming elections next week. Historically, regardless of who wins, there will be a rally in the market as investors are more "sure" of the future. From the looks of it, Obama seems like he is half way into White House. Personally I'm not very up to date with the intricacies of politics, so I don't know what the winning of either will mean for the economy. But for those of you who are not sure to which camp you belong to, I did stumble upon an interesting quiz on ABC, where they sum up each candidate's views on certain issues. I am surprisingly more of a Republican than I thought- I got 6 to 7 for Obama. Close call! I guess you have to be a little Republican to be a capitalist.
Employment data will also be coming out next week, where more unemployment is expected. And in the coming weeks, we can also be expecting news of a $600 billion bailout for troubled home loans (which sounds a bit repetitive of what JP Morgan is already doing) and another stimulus package worth $300 billion (tax cuts!). The government is seriously on a serial spending spree!