Thursday Afternoon Cheat Sheet: 3 Stories That Moved Markets
After a brief moment of optimism early in the morning, the markets struck out for negative territory and remained there for the rest of the day. News out of Europe wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either as tension continued to brew over the status of major global currencies. The euro fell 0.89 percent against the dollar and 0.87 percent against the yen.
At the close: DJIA: -0.30%, S&P 500: -0.18%, NASDAQ: -0.11%.
1) The European Central Bank decided to keep the main interest rate at 0.75 percent, in line with most expectations but failing to ease tensions that have grown surrounding the European economy recently. Not only have bad omens emerged surrounding the relationship between major currencies, but ECB president Mario Draghi, who has been credited with saving the euro zone, has found himself involved in a derivatives scandal at Siena’s Mote dei Paschi bank.
The scandal involves Draghi’s failure to discover a 1-billion-euro trading loss at the Bank of Italy while he was in charge between 2006 and 2011. In a question and answer session on Thursday, Draghi denied claims that he had been lax in his oversight, brushing off the resurfacing of the scandal as a bit of political positioning ahead of elections in the Italy… (Read more.)
2) There’s no hiding the fact that the news media industry has been struggling for years. The transition to web-based newspapers, and beyond that to mobile browsing, has led to a sharp decline in the amount of advertising dollars flowing into to news outlets. At one point drawing as much as 80 percent of revenues from advertisement, the news media industry has had to diversify and find new ways of monetizing content or face going out of business.
The industry has faced consolidation and tremendous change, and after years of contraction there finally seems to be some light. At least one news company has successfully turned around the old revenue model, and is now earning more money from circulation than from advertisements. And that company is The New York Times… (Read more.)
3) The official U-3 unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in January, revitalizing concerns that the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, which is now linked to the unemployment rate, will run too long. The Fed has indicated that it will continue to purchase assets at a rate of $85 billion per month until the unemployment rate hits 6.5 percent, but recent reports suggest that the U.S. won’t hit that rate until at least 2014.
The unemployment rate has remained at either 7.8 or 7.9 percent for the past five months, and following an unexpected fourth-quarter economic contraction, there is some fear that job growth could follow… (Read more.)
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