Good Evening, Investor:
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Stocks extended gains, after minutes published from the Fed's September policy meeting revealed the central bank delayed a rate hike due to concerns over low inflation.
The Dow added 138 points, with 24 its 30 components advancing, the S&P 500 Index gained 17, and the Nasdaq increased by 19. Advancers led decliners by about three to one on the NYSE, and by nine to five on the Nasdaq. The prices of Treasuries weakened. Gold futures fell $4.40 to close at $1,144.30 an ounce. The price of crude oil rose by $1.62, settling at $49.43 a barrel.
In earnings news
- Domino's Pizza Inc.'s shares (DPZ) fell 4.99%, after its third-quarter results missed estimates. Net income rose 6.2% to $37.8 million from a year earlier, on revenue of $484.7 million, up 8.5%. The pizza chain's U.S. same-store sales increased 11.5%. International same-store sales grew 7.7%, not factoring in exchange rate effects.
In other business news
- The Federal Reserve did not raise interest rates last month, due to concerns over when inflation would increase to the central bank's 2% target. Minutes from the Fed's September policy meeting showed the central bank was fairly confident in domestic economic conditions and labor market gains. However, the Fed is keeping an eye on global volatility and any potential spillover effects from China's economic slowdown.
- First-time U.S. jobless claims dropped 13,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 263,000, edging close to a 42-year low. According to the Labor Department, the four-week moving average of new claims fell 3,000 to 267,500. The number of Americans who continue receiving unemployment aid after one week rose 9,000 to 2.2 million.
- German exports declined 5.2% in August, the most since the global financial crisis in 2009, according to the Federal Statistics Office. Imports fell 3.1%, the biggest one-month drop since 2012. Germany's trade surplus contracted from 25 billion euros to 15.3 billion euros.
- Global food prices rose in September, after the prior month's steep fall, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The agency's food price index edged up one point to 156.3, from August's almost six-year low. The results suggest food prices may be reaching a bottom, after an 18-month stretch of mostly declines.
This week, Amazon gave business customers a new way to transfer large volumes of data into cloud storage. And to my surprise, it's not an algorithm, compression code, or any kind of service you'd access online. Rather, it's a rugged piece of hardware that resembles a large plastic suitcase. You put your data into the case, and then you send it to Amazon through the mail.
According to Fortune, the new product, known as Amazon Snowball, can store 50 terabytes of dataor the digital equivalent of 6,400 DVDs. Business users can upload their data into Snowball and ship it off to Amazon, where workers will plug the device into its data center and transfer the files into the cloud.
Among its many features, Snowball can detect when someone's trying to break into it and encrypts the data you've uploaded, to help ensure privacy. Plus, Snowball is waterproof, so if you want to throw actual snowballs at the device before dropping it in the mailbox, you're in luck.
You may be wondering: Why is Amazon doing this? Isn't the whole point of storing data in the cloud based on the convenience of pressing a simple "upload" button and kicking back, while your digital records beam to a football fieldsized server farm? Adding a bulky suitcase and snail mail into the mix kind of seems like a throwback to a bygone era.
Amazon created Snowball because many businesses still have trouble transferring huge amounts of data into the cloud. Based on the sheer volume of data to transmit, typical internet connection speeds make for a very slow experience. Until now, businesses that used Amazon's cloud have been required to boost their connection speed through a network upgrade. Not so convenient, after all.
What about the data privacy factor? Does placing your data in a clunky suitcase keep it safer than transferring it online? It's tough to say. First, we'd need to see what Amazon's Snowball does when it detects someone is trying to break in. Does it have James Bond-like gadgetry to ward off thieves? Perhaps it morphs into the form of an Amazon Fire phone, so burglars will just lose interest, put it down, and walk away.
Regardless, my favorite feature is the electronic ink mailing label embedded into Snowball's exteriorwhich automatically populates with the destination address you need. Now, if Amazon could just apply that same technology to its retail customer transactions, we'd never again have to print out labels to return unwanted products. And that's the kind of high-tech future I'd like to live in.
John D. Natale
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.
17,050.75, +138.46, or +0.82%
4,810.79, +19.64 or +0.41%
2,013.43, +17.60 or +0.88%
S&P MidCap 400
1,440.09, +15.56 or +1.09%
1,163.24, +10.64 or +0.92%
10-Yr Treasury Notes
49.43, +1.62 or +3.39%
1,144.30, -4.40 or -0.38%