Morning Money Memo…
No matter what happens today this has been a year to celebrate for Wall Street investors. The S&P 500 index – a benchmark for many stock market mutual funds – is up 29.1 percent for 2013, the most since 1997. The Dow has risen by 26 percent. “Who would have thought when we came into the year in January that we would be looking at up almost 30 percent,” says Susan Schmidt managing director and head of the US Value Equity Management group at Mesirow Financial in Chicago. “The Fed is achieving exactly what it wants by getting people to go back into riskier assets.” Tokyo’s Nikkei stock index rose more than half a percent overnight, ending 2013 with a stunning 57 percent gain. That’s the biggest rise for the Japanese market in over 40 years.
A little sticker shock for motorists at the gas pump. Prices have been moving higher in recent days. . The nationwide average rose 6 cents a gallon last week, says the U.S. Energy Department. “This trend is temporary,” says analyst Patrick DeHaan at gasbuddy.com. “January and February do see some of the weakest demand for the year for gasoline, and that will limit how high gasoline prices move in those months.” Most experts are forecasting stable or slightly lower gas prices in the first half of 2014.
New legal questions today for Apple. A Washington lawyer monitoring Apple’s compliance with antitrust laws after a judge found it conspired with publishers to raise e-book prices says the company is obstructing his work. Attorney Michael Bromwich said in a document filed in Manhattan federal court that he’s been largely cut off from top executives at Apple, which argued earlier this month that his investigation was interfering with its business operations.
Will Boeing start shifting airline manufacturing out of the Seattle area? That concern is putting pressure on union machinists to accept a contract offer from the company. It would move workers away from traditional pension plans and save Boeing money. Thousands of jobs are potentially at stake. Local political leaders say Boeing executive Ray Conner told them that an accepted contract will ensure that work on new 777X airplane would stay in the Puget Sound region. Local union leaders are recommending a no vote on the contract because they feel it has too many concessions
New subscribers to Netflix will pay a dollar less for streaming content than the rest of us. The new deal costs just $6.99 per month — compared to the $7.99 plan for users viewing on multiple screens and in High Definition. Today will be the last day for movie lovers to stream a large number of titles on Netflix. Movies like “Titanic” and “Roman Holiday” will be purged from the site on January 1st.
Happy New Year from the money memo to all readers!
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com