Despite a slightly difficult day for stocks on this final trading day of the month, February ends up being a good one for the stock market. After January’s mess, the bulls were pleased to see stocks react positively despite a mixed earnings season, uneven economic data and continued global concerns, especially the Greece debt situation. The bears had the momentum and the news flow in their favor as we entered the month, but the bulls enter March holding the high ground.
As for today, by the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 82 points to finish the day at 18,132. The S&P 500 was down 6 points to close at 2104. Gold was up $1 to trade at $1211 per ounce, while oil was up $1.10 to trade at $49.27 per barrel WTI.
On the economic front, 4th quarter GDP was adjusted lower on today’s reading, but not quite as much as had been feared. The economy is still growing, but the pace of growth has slowed. This gets us right back to the quandary that the Fed finds itself in. They desperately want to begin to nudge rates higher and get away from the 0% “crisis” Fed Funds rate that we have had for quite some time now. The employment picture has gotten better, but will that trend continue? Economic data is mixed at best, and the Fed is aching to see inflation pick up. So, as we enter March, stocks sit near all-time highs, rates still sit near all-time lows, and the economy is in a state of flux. Let’s see what March has in store for us. Hopefully some warmer weather at the very least.
Have a great weekend everyone.