Yes, it was a very difficult month for stocks, but today’s rally takes away a little bit of the sting. First we had news out of Japan overnight that they are pivoting to a negative interest rate policy. Don’t be startled, interest rates are negative in other countries too, but it’s just another global central bank trying anything they can to stimulate growth (Japan’s only been at this for about 30 years, so we’ll cut them a little slack).
Stocks looked to have a positive bias at the opening, despite a dismal GDP number, which did come in less than 1% for the 4th quarter. Indeed, stocks did open higher and subsequently got a boost at 9:00 by a much better than expected Chicago PMI (purchasing managers index). As the day wore on, stocks were able to add to gains and trim a chunk of January’s losses.
For the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 396 points to close at 16,466. The S&P 500 was up 46 points to finish the day at 1940. Gold was up $2 to trade at $1118 per ounce, while oil was up $.42 to trade at $33.64 per barrel WTI.
As I mentioned, January was a difficult month for stocks, but it could have been worse (instead of down 9% or 10% for the month the S&P finished down “only” 5%). Oil stemmed the tide of its freefall this week, and stocks gathered themselves and finished on the positive note. After the first 3 weeks of the month, this week was a welcome relief. We’ll gather ourselves, lick our wounds, and be back at it on Monday.
Have a great weekend everyone.