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US stocks erase year's losses after Europe unveils stimulus

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market is closing with a big gain after Europe's central bank offered an aggressive plan to revive that region's weak economy.

  • icon Updated: January 22

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Tuesday 01/13/2015
Stocks end up-and-down day with small losses
Updated: January 13, 2015 - 4:30 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market is ending a see-saw day with small losses, as energy shares slip lower with the price of oil.

Oil prices drop again, gas prices remain steady
Posted: January 13, 2015

The relentless drop in oil prices continued Tuesday morning after the energy minister for the United Arab Emirates said Tuesday there are no plans for OPEC to curb production to shore up falling crude prices. The price of oil has slumped 57 percent since June last year as traders have bet that the supply glut will persist.

Friday 01/09/2015
US stocks slide following weak wage growth, oil price slump
Posted: January 09, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are ending lower after investors were discouraged by weak U.S. wage growth and another drop in the price of oil.

Friday 01/02/2015
A muddled finish for stocks on first trading day
Updated: January 02, 2015 - 4:17 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are starting off the New Year with mixed results.

An unexpected slowdown in manufacturing last month deflated an early increase in U.S. stock indexes Friday.

Oil prices fell and the euro weakened against the dollar.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,833. The Dow was up as much as 128 earlier, but spent most of the day in the red. Last year the Dow gained 7.5 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 was little changed at 2,058 Friday. The Nasdaq fell nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,726.

Oil dropped 58 cents to $52.69 a barrel.

The euro slipped to its lowest against the dollar in 4-1/2 years.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.11 percent.

Wednesday 12/31/2014
Stocks are mixed on last trading day of 2014
Posted: December 31, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were flat on the final trading day of 2014 on Wednesday, keeping the market on pace for its sixth consecutive year of gains.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,996 as of 12:10 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was unchanged at 2,080 and the Nasdaq composite rose 11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,797.

OIL LAGS, AGAIN: Energy stocks were the biggest decliners as the price of oil fell. Benchmark U.S. crude dropped $1.17 to $52.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil has plunged since June amid abundant supplies and weak global demand.

Oil drillers fell the most. Diamond Offshore, Anadarko Petroleum and Denbury Resources were all down 2 percent. The energy component of the S&P 500 is down 10 percent this year.

ASIA JUMPS: Chinese stocks surged after a weak manufacturing report reinforced hopes for new government stimulus measures as growth in the world's No. 2 economy slows. Manufacturing in China contracted in December, according to an HSBC survey, the latest sign of a slowdown there.

NEW YEAR OUTLOOK: "Heading into 2015, many of the challenges the market has faced this year will be recurring," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia. Analysts say investors will be preoccupied by the slowdown in China, the economic malaise in Europe and Japan, and the possible timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve's first interest rate hike since the financial crisis. "The beginning part of the year will be dominated by Europe and then we'll switch to the U.S. toward the middle of the year," said Shamu.

DOUBLE DIGITS: The S&P 500 is on pace to close up 12.6 percent for 2014, or 14.9 percent when dividends are included. That's roughly double what strategists expected for the market at the beginning of the year. Most strategists believe the stock market will also rise in 2015, but they expect the gains to be more modest, between 4 percent and 6 percent.

QUIET END: Trading is expected to be light Wednesday since it is New Year's Eve and most fund managers have closed their books for the year. U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for New Year's Day and will reopen Friday.

AROUND THE GLOBE: The U.S. stock market had a great year, but around the world, stocks were mixed.

Europe had a difficult year. While Germany's DAX rose 2.7 percent in 2014, France's CAC-40 lost 0.5 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 fell 2.7 percent. Greece had a terrible year, falling 29 percent.

In Asia, China's Shanghai Composite jumped 53 percent while Hong Kong's Heng Seng rose only 1.3 percent. Japan's Nikkei was up 7.1 percent for 2014.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Prices for U.S. government bonds rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 2.17 percent. The euro declined to $1.2103 from $1.2162 late Tuesday. The dollar rose to 119.82 yen from 119.47 yen.

Tuesday 12/30/2014
Market update: Global markets fall as New Year holiday nears
Updated: December 30, 2014 - 4:33 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Lingering concerns about the political future of Greece pushed U.S. and global stock markets modestly lower on Tuesday.

Trading was slow as most investors have closed their books for 2014. It was the eighth-slowest day of the year on the New York Stock Exchange.

As been the case several times this year, investors turned their eyes to Europe.

Greek stocks stabilized after a volatile day Monday, when the country's government was forced to call elections that could create more economic turmoil. Investors worry that the elections might be won by the left-wing opposition Syriza party, which opposes the austerity measures associated with Greece's international financial rescue deal. The Athens stock market plunged as much as 11 percent on Monday before recovering some of those losses to close down 4 percent that day.

"An election puts all sorts of doubt on the future of the bailout agreement," said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG Markets. "Potentially markets had already priced this in, but I would still remain cautious around Greece."

U.S. stocks opened lower and stayed down throughout the day. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 55.16 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,983.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 10.22 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,080.35 and the Nasdaq composite fell 29.47 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,777.44.

European markets also fell. France's CAC 40 lost 1.7 percent, Germany's DAX declined 1.2 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 1.3 percent. Greece's stock market fell 0.4 percent.

At this point, most investors are done trading for the year. The market is also expected to be quiet Wednesday ahead of New Year's Day holiday, however oftentimes the last trading day of the year does see a modest burst of trading as some investors shift their portfolios around for tax purposes.

With one more trading day in 2014, the S&P 500 is up 12.6 percent for the year, or 15.4 percent including dividends. That gain is almost double what stock market strategists expected at the beginning of the year.

"There were some negative surprises along the way, including the Ebola scare and increasing social tensions around the globe," Gary Thayer, chief macro strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors, wrote in a note to investors. "However, U.S. markets were able to weather these problems as (the U.S. economy) improved."

In other markets, the dollar fell against the euro and yen. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 2.19 percent from 2.20 percent Monday.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 51 cents to settle at $54.12 a barrel in New York. On Monday, the contract plunged $1.12 to settle at $53.61. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, edged up two cents to close at $57.90 a barrel in London.

In other energy commodities, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.454 a gallon, heating oil rose two cents to $1.869 a gallon and natural gas fell 10.5 cents to close at $3.094 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $18.50 to $1,200.40 an ounce, silver rose 50 cents to $16.28 an ounce and copper rose three cents to $2.85 a pound.


Youkyung Lee contributed to this story from Seoul, South Korea.

Monday 12/29/2014
US stocks edge higher in quiet, pre-holiday trade
Updated: December 29, 2014 - 4:18 pm

U.S. stocks are closing mostly higher in quiet trading ahead of the New Year's holiday later this week.

Friday 12/26/2014
Investors expect higher stocks in 2015, but also turbulence
Posted: December 26, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Can the U.S. hold everyone else above water? That is the question investors are asking as Wall Street heads into 2015.

In 2014, US economy began shaky, finished strong
Posted: December 26, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy flexed its old muscles in 2014.

Slight gains for stocks in quiet post-holiday day
Updated: December 26, 2014 - 4:18 pm

U.S. stocks are posting modest gains after a quiet, post-holiday day of trading.

Tuesday 12/23/2014
Dow closes above 18,000 as market reaches new highs
Updated: December 23, 2014 - 4:25 pm

The Dow Jones industrial average is breaking through another milestone, closing above 18,000 points for the first time following more encouraging news on the U.S. economy.

Financial shocker of the year: Oil at $60
Posted: December 23, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — For the first half of 2014 the oil market looked just as it had the year before — and the 2 years before that. Oil was over $100 and drivers in the U.S. were paying around $3.50 for gasoline.

Friday 12/19/2014
US stocks edge higher after a big two-day rally, crude oil surges
Updated: December 19, 2014 - 4:13 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are edging higher as the market comes off a massive two-day rally.

Wednesday 12/17/2014
Hospitals cutting payrolls to cope with hard times
Posted: December 17, 2014

A recent series of job cuts shows that tough financial times remain for the state’s hospitals – and may get worse next year, experts say.

Ebola, celebrity deaths tops for 2014 web searches in GA
Posted: December 17, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) — The Ebola virus and celebrities who died this year dominated search trends in Georgia.

That's according to a report from Google released Tuesday. The search engine reports that "Ebola" was fifth trending search term. It also appeared in lists for news and event searches and top ten definitions in 2014.

Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Maya Angelou also made appearances on the top 10 trending search list.

Georgia is home to the Centers for Disease Control, which continues to play a role in fighting the virus in some west African countries and to Emory University. The first two Americans to be flown home for treatment came to the Emory campus in Atlanta.

Tuesday 12/16/2014
Answers to addiction: Program uses questions to help find a solution
Posted: December 16, 2014

Tony Sanchez has been drug-free and alcohol-free for more than a decade.

An early rally fizzles, leaving US indexes lower
Updated: December 16, 2014 - 4:21 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are ending slightly lower after an early rally fizzled.

AAA: 98.6 million Americans travelling this holiday season
Posted: December 16, 2014

TAMPA, Fla.  – The year-end holiday season should see the highest travel volume on record (AAA travel data dates back to 2001). AAA projects 98.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, an increase of four percent from the 94.8 million people who traveled last year. The year-end holiday period is defined as Tuesday, December 23 to Sunday, January 4.

Monday 12/15/2014
Why oil is down by half, what it means for you
Posted: December 15, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil has fallen by nearly half in just six months, a surprising and steep plunge that has consumers cheering, producers howling and economists wringing their hands over whether this is a good or bad thing.

The price of a barrel of oil is just under $56, down from a summer high of $107, and lower than at any time since the U.S. was still in recession in the spring of 2009.

So what's going on? A global imbalance of supply and demand that is rippling across the world economy, for better and worse.


Years of high oil prices, interrupted briefly by the recession, inspired drillers around the world to scour the earth's crust for more oil.

They found it.

Since 2008 oil companies in the U.S., for example, have increased production by 70 percent, or 3.5 million barrels of oil per day. To put that in perspective, that increase alone is more than the production of any OPEC member other than Saudi Arabia.

As U.S. production was ramping up, turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa reduced supplies from Libya, Iran and elsewhere. A balance was struck: Increasing supplies from outside of OPEC and from Iraq's recovering oil industry helped meet rising demand around the world as other OPEC supplies waivered.

But now those OPEC supplies look more certain despite continuing turmoil, and those non-OPEC supplies have swamped the market. OPEC estimated last week that the world would need 28.9 million barrels of its oil per day next year, the lowest in more than a decade. At the same time, OPEC countries plan to produce 30 million barrels of oil per day next year. That supply surplus is sending global prices lower.


Global demand is still expected to grow next year, but by far less than many thought earlier this year. The economies of China, Japan and Western Europe — the top oil consumers after the United States — all appear to be weakening. Oil demand falls when economic growth stalls.

The U.S. is still the world's largest consumer, but more fuel-efficient cars and changing demographics mean demand for oil and gasoline is not increasing. The Energy Department predicts a slight decrease in gasoline demand next year even though the price is expected to be sharply lower and the economy is expected to grow.


For drivers, shippers, airlines and other consumers of fuel, there's nothing not to like about the drop in oil prices.

The national average gasoline price has fallen for 81 straight days to $2.55 a gallon, its lowest level since October of 2009, according to AAA. It's $1.15 a gallon cheaper than its high for the year, saving U.S. households $100 a month as they shop for holiday presents. "Any time gas prices go down that is a good thing," said Randy Daniels, 30, who was shopping recently at the Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta. "An extra 20 or 30 bucks in my pocket goes far."

Diesel and jet fuel prices have also plunged, helping boost the profits and share prices of airlines and shippers. Heating oil is the cheapest it has been in four years, reducing home heating prices just in time for winter for many in the chilly Northeast.


Falling fuel prices act like a tax cut and help boost consumer spending, which in turn accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy. But economists are growing concerned that there are other, more troublesome forces at play.

The depth of oil's plunge could be a signal that the global economy is struggling even more than economists think. A weak global economy could hurt the U.S. economy by reducing exports, employment and spending, which together could outweigh the economic benefits of cheaper fuel.


For oil companies, oil-producing states, and oil-exporting countries, the oil price collapse is painful.

Oil companies generally keep producing oil from wells they've already drilled, but lower prices sharply reduce revenue and force them to cut back spending on new exploration projects. BP announced last week it would try to trim $1 billion in spending next year in a move that analysts say could result in thousands of job cuts.

States that rely on taxes from energy production such as Alaska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas will see lower revenues and some have already had to trim budgets.

Major oil exporters such as Iran, Iraq, Russia and Venezuela rely heavily on revenues from state-owned oil companies to run their governments and are struggling under major budget shortfalls. For example, Bank of America estimates that every $1 drop in the global price of oil costs Venezuela $770 million in annual revenue. Current prices are now $46 below last year's average, putting the country on pace for a $36 billion reduction in revenue.


AP Business Writer Mae Anderson contributed to this story from Atlanta. Jonathan Fahey can be reached at http://twitter.com/JonathanFahey .

Friday 12/12/2014
Dow drops more than 300 as oil continues to plunge
Posted: December 12, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average is closing more than 300 points lower, its worst loss in two months.

Traders were discouraged Friday by another slump in the price of oil and more signs of weakness in China.

The Dow dropped 315 points, or 1.8 percent, to 17,280. The Dow had its first losing week since October.

The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 33 points, or 1.6 percent, to 2,002. The Nasdaq slid 54 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4,653.

Oil prices sank again after the International Energy Agency said global demand will grow less than previously forecast next year.

Crude tumbled $2.14, or 3.6 percent, to $57.81 a barrel. It's down 47 percent since June.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.09 percent.

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