Fire Works on the First Trading Day – January 3rd

The fire works of the New Year have moved to the equity markets today as we start the first trading day of the year higher. The S & P 500 closed 2011 with its smallest loss in history down 0.003%.

Sears has released a detailed list of store closings as part of their restructuring. The only Sears store in Oregon that will be closed will be in Roseburg. Three stores in Washington and three in California round out the western US closings.

Economic news on this first trading day is positive with both the December ISM manufacturing index and November construction spending rising more than expected.

The S & P 500 is up 26 and the NASDAQ is up 58.

West Texas Crude is surging on a weaker dollar up almost $4 at $102.50 a barrel.

Gold is in rally mode moving higher by $29 to $1595 a Troy ounce.

After hitting a 30-year low in 2009, US auto sales will post their second year of gains in 2011. Low interest rates and pent up car demand are helping the industry move forward.

While the cost of natural gas has been falling other costs have not. Northwest Natural gas is seeking a 6% rate increase to cover increasing pipeline safety, customer service and employee benefit costs. The increase will be about $5 per month for the average customer.

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Financial Focus • January 3, 2012


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