Good Evening, Investor:
Friday, May 17, 2013
The price of gold lost ground for the seventh consecutive session, and the major stock indexes rebounded off Thursday's retreat and closed at record highs. The Dow gained 121 points, the Nasdaq rose by 33, and the S&P 500 advanced 17. Twenty-three of the Dow's 30 components gained ground, led by JPMorgan Chase (JPM), which rose 2.6%. Volume was light, and advancing issues outnumbered decliners by about five to two. The prices of Treasuries weakened, and the price of gold futures lost 1.60% to $1,364.70 an ounce. The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 0.90% to $96.02 a barrel.
The three major indexes gained ground for the fourth consecutive week. This week the Dow gained 1.5%, the S&P 500 rose by 1.9%, and the Nasdaq advanced by 1.8%.
In Other Business News
- Consumer morale has risen in May to its highest level in six years. The University of Michigan reported today that its Consumer Sentiment Index increased from 76 at the end of April to 83 so far in May, thanks in part to a big improvement in how upper-income families view their financial positions.
- The Index of Leading Economic Indicators, which attempts to forecast the strength of the economy three to six months in advance, improved by 0.6% in April after falling in March. A spokesman for The Conference Board, which keeps the index, said: "In general, the LEI points to a continuing economic expansion with some upside potential."
- Unemployment declined in 40 states and in the District of Columbia in April, according to the Labor Department. Nevada had the highest unemployment rate with 9.6% and North Dakota had the lowest rate at 3.3%.
- In a dramatic IPO, Tableau Software, a maker of programs that convert data into visual presentations for companies, went public with shares that were priced at $31 and opened at $47 a share. The stock (DATA) gained 63% and closed at $50.75 in the session.
One of the many outward signs that I'm a dinosaur is that I still wear a watch. In fact I probably have about two dozen watches, many of which are no longer working, the victims of hard use in the garden, the workshop, and the trout stream. None of my watches ever stopped a bullet like in the movies, but I just can't bring myself to throw even the most mundanebut loyalcompanion away.
No matter, help is just around the corner. Watchmakers are turning the old-fashioned, mechanical watch into a status symbol with outlandish new designs. Breitling, for example, has a watch called "Emergency II" that contains two 7-inch antennas. If I ever get lost on a trout stream with this not-so-little beauty, I can pull out the antennas and they'll relay my location via satellite to my dog, who will run to my rescue with a little barrel of whiskey on her collar. Jaermann & Stubi sells golfing watches that compare handicaps and record performances. Some of these watches are made with metal melted down from golf clubs of the sport's big stars. A company called Rainbow Watch GmbH has a timepiece called "Rainbow Inspiration One" that changes the color on its face every three minutes. And a tiny firm called MB&F makes a watch called "Horological Machine No. 3" that replaces the usual hands and dial face with revolving barrels and ball bearings that display the minutes and hours. Says the founder of MB&F: "Mechanical watches have no practical reason at all to exist anymore. The only reason is because they are works of art. You need guts to wear what we make." You also need money: The company makes only 20 watches a year, and the selling price is $91,000 per watch.
Potential headlines for this story:
1. "From time keeper to status keeper."
2. "So that's what they mean by 'time is money.'"
3. "Watch your wallet."
Have a great weekend. And if you're hungry for a little good news about the economy and America's future, listen to Tom Pence discuss "Tapping into North America's energy renaissance" as my guest for On the Trading DeskSM.
This e-mail is accompanied by current prospectuses for Wells Fargo Advantage Funds® at www.wellsfargoadvantagefunds.com.
The opinions stated are those of the author and are not intended to be used as investment advice. The views are subject to change at any time in response to changing circumstances in the market and are not intended to predict or guarantee the future performance of any individual security, market sector or the markets generally, or any mutual fund.
15,354.40, +121.18 or +0.80%
3,498.97, +33.72 or +0.97%
1,667.47, +17.00 or +1.03%
S&P MidCap 400
1,211.54, +11.81 or +0.98%
996.28, +10.94 or +1.11%
10-Yr Treasury Notes
96.02, +0.86 or +0.90%
1,364.70, -22.20 or -1.60%