Stocks had a good day today.
First the scoreboard:
And now the top stories:
- The latest reading of the Empire State Manufacturing Survey was a big disappointment. The headline number unexpectedly fell to -8.1 from -5.22 a month ago. Economists were looking for an improvement to -1.0. Most major regional manufacturing indicies as well as the ISM manufacturing index are pointing to contraction thanks to a combination of Hurricane Sandy and uncertainty related to the fiscal cliff.
- On the fiscal cliff, talks continue to go nowhere. However, it appears that President Obama may have blinked on entitlements (e.g. Social Security).
- Washington is also finding itself wrestling with gun control laws again in the wake of Friday's tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. California Senator Dianne Feinstein said she intended to introduce an assault weapons ban bill on the first day of the new Congress in January. Last night, President Obama committed to using "whatever power [his] office holds" to prevent these shootings from happening again.
- Gunmakers Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger both got slammed today. Barring any major reforms, guns continue to be an amazing growth investment opportunity, according to a new presentation from S&W.
- Shares of Apple got tossed around today. Last night, Citi downgraded the stock and slashed its price target by $100 warning about bearish signals coming from Apple's Asian iPhone 5 supply chain. Morgan Stanley, on the other hand, came out saying that iPhone 5 demand is strong. Regardless of the demand, the stock could tumble to $425 because the share price has lost momentum, says trader Mark Dow.
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