A New Record High for Stocks

Oct 18, 2013 8:24am

Morning Money Memo…

The week on Wall Street opened with worries about a possible train wreck and warnings that the stock market could be in for a beating. It hasn’t turned out that way. The S&P 500 opens for business this morning at a new record high. The big stock index rose 12 points Thursday.  Stock averages have recovered from their recent lows reached during the government shutdown. The surprise strength is another reminder of just how difficult it is to forecast where the market will go next. There’s a lesson here for mutual fund investors saving for retirement. “Most actively managed funds do not beat their benchmark in a given year,” says Sheyna Steiner, an investment analyst with bankrate.com. Index funds are a cheaper alternative. Funds that try to beat the market often come with expensive fees. “You’re really just paying the extra for the chance to outperform,” says Steiner.

The problems for Obamacare’s website, healthcare.gov, just got worse. Insurance companies say the federal health care marketplace is spitting out incorrect data. The Wall Street Journal reports that “emerging errors include duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data fields and suspect eligibility determinations.” Executives at more than a dozen health plans were interviewed. Technology experts have told USA Today that the federal exchange was built using 10-year-old technology and needs a total overhaul. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress say the administration must fix the problems.

JC Penney is hoping to get back in the game for the crucial holiday selling period by opening its doors on Thanksgiving. Most stores will open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, the same time as rival Macy’s. JC Penney also is bringing back its tradition of giving away nearly 2 million holiday snow globes starting at 4 a.m.

Chinese computer maker Lenovo could make a bid for Blackberry. The struggling smartphone maker said this summer it was exploring options that could include a sale. Blackberry recently abandoned plans to focus on the consumer market and is focusing on business systems.

One it was the most celebrated hedge fund. Now SAC Capital Advisors is reported to be on the verge of a plea-deal with federal prosecutors. The agreement would slap SAC with a fine of about $1 billon and force it to get out of the business of managing money for outside investors. The criminal settlement could be the largest case ever for insider trading.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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