[Chart courtesy of MarketWatch.com]
1. Moving The Markets
Stocks ended slightly higher on Monday as investors awaited more clues from the Federal Reserve on whether the central bank will soon begin to wind down its economic stimulus. Perhaps the largest bit of news today was in the food industry where Sysco Corp announced it will buy US Foods Inc for about $3.5 billion from its private equity owners. This deal will combine the top two U.S. food distributors and create a company commanding at least a quarter of the $235 billion North American market.
The Nikkei is up nearly 51 pct year-to-date and is thus headed for its best yearly gain since 1972. The decrease in the Yen largely spurred the Nikkei’s climb today. Declines in the yen tend to boost sentiment towards Japanese equities because investors expect the weaker currency will inflate overseas earnings for exporters.
Markets looked better in Europe today as European shares edged up from the previous session with Chinese export data encouraging investors to anticipate stronger global growth. China’s exports handily beat forecasts in November and an unexpected drop in consumer inflation eased fears of any imminent policy tightening, helping to sustain a rally in global shares which had been fuelled by estimate-beating jobs data from the United States on Friday.
In ETFs, the top moving funds were the (AGA) PowerShares DB Agriculture Double Short, the (UGAZ) VelocityShares 3x Long Natural Gas ETN and (once again) the (NUGT) Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares.
Our ETFs in the Spotlight edged up as well with two of them making new highs for the year: