1) The Federal Reserve launched its highly-anticipated fourth round of quantitative easing in December. The latest money-printing program came only three months after the central bank’s unlimited QE3 was announced. Now, recent Federal Open Market Committee minutes show that policymakers are dividend about expanding the Fed’s balance sheet to unprecedented levels. The S&P 500 dropped from 1,465 to 1,459 just a few minutes after the minutes went public… (Read more.)
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2) Reports released on Thursday show that private sector employment grew more than expected in December, but so did initial unemployment claims. Payroll numbers are due out tomorrow… (Read more.)
3) The 113th Congress was sworn in today. On the tail of the fiscal cliff tax deal, the new Congress is left to deal with the two remaining elephants in the room: the debt ceiling and the sequester. The first was hit on December 31, and Congress has no more than two months to act before the sequester kicks in. Like the fiscal cliff, these issues and the progress Washington makes toward a solution will probably remain in the foreground until their resolution… (Read more.)
At the close: DJIA: -0.19% to 13387, S&P: -0.24% to 1459, Nasdaq: -0.38% to 3101.