Stocks went nowhere on Monday, eking out tiny gains as the market gets ready for a busy week that is highlighted by Wednesday's monetary policy announcement from the Fed and Friday's Q4 GDP report.
First, the scoreboard:
Dow: 17,578.7, +6.1, (+0.03%)
S&P 500: 2,057.1, +5.3, (+0.3%)
Nasdaq: 4,771.8, +13.9, (+0.3%)
And now, the top stories on Monday:
1. Things are getting ugly in Texas. The latest manufacturing report from the Dallas Federal Reserve missed expectations, coming in at -4.4 against expectations for a reading of 3.0. But the big news in this report was the downbeat commentary a number of business executives had regarding how the crash in oil prices could impact their business. One executive told the Dallas Fed that, "multiple oil-related customers have sent out letters to all suppliers saying they expect 25% price reductions," while another executive said that, "If low oil prices continue, we would expect a significant drop-off in our business."
2. West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices were volatile on Monday, falling about 3% after Sunday night's market open but rising back above $46 a barrel after OPEC secretary-general Abdulla al-Badri said that the lows are probably in for oil prices. WTI forfeited these gains, however, and near the close of stock trading WTI was back near $45 a barrel.
3. The Russian ruble got slammed on Monday, falling as much as 7% to near a new record-low against the US dollar as the currency was pressured initially following increased violence in Ukraine over the weekend and midday news that S&P cut its rating on Russia's debt to "junk." In its statement, S&P said it expects conditions in Russia's financial system will deteriorate given a weaker ruble, international sanctions, and a recession in 2015.
4. The Congressional Budget Office released its latest 10-year outlook on Monday, which showed that for the sixth straight year, the US deficit is expected to shrink, though this trend that is expected to reverse by 2018. The report also included the CBO's outlook for inflation, GDP growth, unemployment, and the 10-year yield. In short, unemployment will fall a bit more, but not much, GDP growth will be less than expected, the 10-year yield will rise, and inflation probably isn't going over 2%.
5. On Tuesday after the market close, Apple, the world's biggest company, is set to report quarterly earnings. Business Insider's Jay Yarow has the full preview, but here are the big numbers you need to know: earnings per share is expected to come in at $2.60, revenue is expected to total $67.5 billion, and the company is expected to have sold 65 million iPhones during the fourth quarter.
6. Rumors over the last several days have suggested that IBM could be getting set lay off as many as 100,000 employees. The company, however, refuted this claim, saying that the number was "ridiculous" and that its $600 million restructuring charge indicates the company will be laying off "several thousand" people instead.
7. There was a lot of talk on Monday of the blizzard that is bearing down on the East Coast, with New York City expected to get up to 3 feet of snow in some spots. But as of the market close on Monday, the New York Stock Exchange is expected to be open as usual on Tuesday, though the Treasury Department did postpone a two-year and five-year note auction scheduled for later this week.