Let's talk about the Fed. Here is what concerns me.
Number One: Unemployment claims backed up in December. Additionally, 1.3 million members of the long-term unemployed lost their benefits on January 1.
Number Two: It’s a rout out there in the emerging markets currencies. If this mass abandonment continues, a contagion would be the appropriate term to use. Bloomberg labeled it the worst currency sell-off in five years.
According to the FT,
“The Turkish lira plunged to a record low on Thursday, prompting the country’s central bank to intervene…
The Argentine peso suffered its worst one day fall since 2002 as that country’s central bank scaled back its efforts to shore up the currency before announcing on Friday it would ease capital controls on dollar purchases.”
The South African rand shed 1% to R11.0935 versus the buck, a fresh five-year low.
The Russian central bank is believed to have intervened to support the rouble.
The Aussie is down 1.1% to U$0.8669, a three and a half year trough. The unit was further pressured by reports that Heather Ridout, a Reserve Bank of Australia board member, said a rate of U$0.80 would be a “fair deal” for the economy.
In contrast, the Japanese yen has been gaining in recent sessions. Traders are believed to be unwinding risk-positive carry trades that require the US dollar/yen cross to be stable or move higher. The Japanese unit is currently firmer against the greenback by 0.7% to Y102.54, its strongest in five weeks.”
The Indonesian rupiah set a fresh multi-year low at 12,205 to the USD.
The Brazilian real fell from 2.35 to 2.42 to the USD this week. It is dangerously close to its August peak depreciation at 2.45.
In the midst of it all, the major Mainland Chinese stock market index (the Shanghai Composite Index or SCI) put in a bottom at 2,000 and went higher. All the bad fundamental news has been priced in apparently.
That would count as the good news, along with a 10-year U.S. Treasury rate back down to 2.72%.
My RTI Post: Did the Fed Blow it in May?
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