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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lindsay Lohan Contracts Chikungunya (Newser Happy Hour 6-pack)

Newser Alert
The day's six most popular stories, in time to unwind.


Lindsay Lohan Contracts Chikungunya

Lindsay Lohan Contracts Chikungunya

(Newser) - Not all is well in paradise. Lindsay Lohan has, according to her Twitter and Instagram accounts, contracted the Chikungunya virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and can cause joint pain, swelling, fever, and rash, reports USA Today . On Monday, Lohan, 28, posted her latest update: "Being sick is no... More  »

 
'My Death Needs to Mean Something': Trans Teen

'My Death Needs to Mean Something': Trans Teen

(Newser) - Ohio transgender teen Leelah Alcorn scheduled two posts to go live on Tumblr the day of her death. Then the 17-year-old, who was born Josh Alcorn, walked 4 miles early Sunday morning to Interstate 71 near her middle-class King Mills neighborhood an hour southwest of Columbus. She was struck by... More  »

 
Mom's Fatal Shooting by Toddler Was 'Perfect Storm'

Mom's Fatal Shooting by Toddler Was 'Perfect Storm'

(Newser) - Terry Rutledge, father-in-law of the 29-year-old Idaho woman accidentally shot to death by her 2-year-old son in Walmart yesterday, is angry—at anyone railing against gun rights. "They are painting Veronica as irresponsible, and that is not the case," he tells the Washington Post . She "was a... More  »

 
Mom, 2 Kids Survive Crazy Wreck With Oil Tanker

Mom, 2 Kids Survive Crazy Wreck With Oil Tanker

(Newser) - A family of three is lucky to be alive after being pinned under a large fuel tanker and dragged 200 yards before both vehicles finally came to a stop. Heather Slack was driving her two children home from a holiday trip in Utah—perhaps too quickly for the icy conditions,... More  »

 
Sonar Spots AirAsia Wreckage on Seafloor

Sonar Spots AirAsia Wreckage on Seafloor

(Newser) - A day after debris was first spotted, Indonesian searchers have confirmed that sonar equipment has detected wreckage from AirAsia Flight QZ8501 at the bottom of the sea—though whether the plane is in one piece or broken up remains to be seen, reports CNN . The wreckage was found between 60... More  »

 
Origin of Ebola Outbreak: Tiny Guinea Bat?

Origin of Ebola Outbreak: Tiny Guinea Bat?

(Newser) - The current Ebola epidemic—which now totals upward of 20,000 cases and more than 7,700 deaths—has already been traced to the tiny village of Meliandou in southern Guinea, where the person thought to be patient zero, 2-year-old Emile Ouamouno, died with Ebola-like symptoms in late 2013. Fruit... More  »

 

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S&P CLOSES 2014 UP 11%: Here's What You Need To Know

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December 31, 2014

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For the third straight year, the S&P 500 posted double-digit gains. With Wednesday's close, the S&P 500 finished the year with 53 record highs and an 11% gain (excluding dividends). On Wednesday, the major stock indexes declined in an ugly close that saw the averages fall to session lows in the final half hour of trading for the year.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 17,823.1, -160, (-0.9%)
  • S&P 500: 2,058.9, -21.5, (-1%)
  • Nasdaq: 4,736, -41.4, (-0.9%)

And now, the top stories on Wednesday:

1. Due to Thursday's New Year's Day holiday, the weekly report on initial jobless claims — usually scheduled for Thursday mornings — came out Wednesday and showed that claims rose to 298,000 from last week's 281,000 revised level. Following the report, economists at BNP Paribas said that the four-week moving average, which rose slightly to 290,750, shows that claims remains lower and are consistent with an improving labor market.

2. The December report on manufacturing in the Midwest from ISM Chicago showed that activity expanded at the slowest pace in five months. The latest Chicago PMI report came in at 58.3 — any reading over 50 indicates expansion — which missed expectations for a reading of 60.0 and was down from November's 60.8. Following the report, Philip Uglow of MNI Indicators said, "It was a disappointing end to to the year with the pulse rate of our business panel slowing noticeably in December. The trend, however, remains solid and consistent with continued growth in the US economy." 

3. In the housing market, pending home sales rose 0.8% in November, rebounding from October's 1.1% decline and beating expectations for a 0.4% increase. Year-on-year, pending home sales rose 4.1%, up from October's 3.6% increase. Following the report, Lawrence Yun at the National Association of Realtors said, "The consistent economic growth and steady hiring we've seen the second half of this year is giving buyers enough assurance to consider purchasing a home before year's end." 

4. The Russian ruble was volatile again on Wednesday, as the currency weakened to as low as 62 against the dollar. This year, the ruble has been the second-worst performer this year, beating only the Ukrainian hryvnia. 

5. Reports on Wednesday said that Saudi Arabia's 91-year-old King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was hospitalized. Some analysts see this development as having the potential for Saudi Arabia to change its oil policy, which so far has seen the Middle Eastern nation keep oil production unchanged amid the crash in prices seen this year. 

6. The best performing stock market in 2014 was the Shanghai Composite. In 2014, the Shanghai Composite rose more than 50%, and earlier on Wednesday Bloomberg economist Tom Orlik sent out a series of charts summing up the year in China

Don't Miss: The 12 Craziest Market Stories Of 2014 »

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This Chart Shows How Much Money You Should Spend On A Home

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Business Insider Select
 
December 31, 2014
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See Also
Billionaire Investor Yuri Milner Believes Xiaomi Will Become A $100 Billion Company
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From the mightiest beasts in the jungle to the tiniest microorganisms...
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