Good Evening, Investor:
Friday, August 28, 2015
Stocks moved higher in early trading before a CNBC interview with Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer. Many investors interpreted his comments as favoring a September rate hike, and the markets ticked lower after the interview.
The Dow slipped 11 points, with 17 of its 30 of its components declining; the S&P 500 Index inched up 1; and the Nasdaq added 15. Advancers led decliners by about two to one on both the NYSE and the Nasdaq. Treasury prices weakened. Gold futures rose $11.40 to close at $1,134.00 an ounce. Crude oil had its best week in six years and gained $2.66 to settle at $45.22 a barrel, a nearly 12% increase for the week.
Despite the heavy losses on Monday and Tuesday, all of the major indexes finished higher for the week. The Dow increased 1.09%, the S&P 500 Index was up 0.89%, and the Nasdaq climbed 2.58%.
In other business news
- U.S. consumer spending increased 0.3% in July driven in part by higher automobile sales, according to the Commerce Department. June's figure was revised upward to 0.3%. Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, so while July's data came in slightly below the forecast of 0.4%, it still indicates that the economy has positive momentum.
- The personal consumption expenditure price index, the Federal Reserve's preferred measurement of inflation, rose just 0.1% in July and 0.3% over the past 12 months. Core PCE, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, also rose 0.1% but climbed 1.2% year over year, short of the Fed's 2% inflation target. Low inflation will be a key discussion point at this weekend's Jackson Hole policy summit.
- Consumer confidence in the U.S. slipped to 91.9 in August, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index. Analysts expected a reading of 93.0. Stock market volatility may have contributed to the drop; however, consumers are still optimistic about employment, which may prevent further declines.
"A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." Does turning a chore or learning a new task into a game actually make it fun? As someone who has tried unsuccessfully to apply that philosophy to things around our house (like chores, piano lessons, and homework), I'm a skeptic. I'm no Mary Poppins, and a spoonful of sugar doesn't make the medicine go down. It just makes the kids more hyper.
But I may have to rethink my stance after an article I read yesterday on Mental Floss. I think I may have learned the skills I'm using right now to type Daily Advantage by playing games. You may have learned them the same way, too.
Before Microsoft released Windows 3.0 in 1990, the primary way users interacted with computers was through a command prompt input (that is, typing in commands). The mouse was around, but Microsoft found that many new computer users weren't quite sure what to do with it. So, with Windows 3.0, they introduce Solitaire to teach people how to drag and drop items on their desktop (and at the same time single-handedly destroyed worker productivity).
Solitaire was so successful that when Windows 3.1 was released a couple of years later, Microsoft decided to push our computing limits and teach us how to right- and left-click on the mouse through a game called Minesweeper.
Just how many new tricks could Microsoft teach these old dogs? They had one more game up their sleeve. Later in 1992, Microsoft released Workgroup for Windows 3.1, which was the first network-ready version of Windows. The thought of not automatically being connected with everyone online is ridiculous today but completely foreign over 20 years ago. The game Hearts was developed to get users interested in the networking capabilities of the software.
It's a good thing we didn't know the reasons for the games back then ... "But boss, I'm not goofing off by playing Solitaire. I'm improving my job performance by learning how to drag and drop with my mouse." I believe your boss might have dragged and dropped you out the door.
Which means I probably can't pass off the time I spent on Facebook earlier today by saying, "I'm just practicing these newfangled touch gestures while learning how the, uh, networking capabilities of the apps work … yeah, getting back to work now."
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.
16,643.01, -11.76 or -0.07%
4,828.32, +15.62 or +0.32%
1,988.87, +1.21 or +0.06%
S&P MidCap 400
1,426.23, +6.51 or +0.46%
1,162.91, +9.31 or +0.81%
10-Yr Treasury Notes
45.22, +2.66 or +6.25%
1,134.00, +11.40 or +1.02%