This could be the Dow’s best year since 1996. Twitter (TWTR) is on a record tear. And some Delta (DAL) customers get a holiday bonus.
Here are this morning's business headlines.
The Dow has had six consecutive days of new record high closes. Its 25% gain in 2013 would make it the biggest year since 1996. Better-than-expected jobless claims reported yesterday gave stocks a boost and sent treasury prices lower. The latest signs of slow, but steady improvement in the economy pushing the yield on the 10-Year Treasury Note (^TNX) briefly above for the first time since September and raising expectations that higher interest rates will follow.
President Obama continues to work while on Christmas vacation. He's signed seven bills into law, including the bipartisan budget deal and a defense bill. The budget deal - which averts another government shutdown battle for now - reduces the sequester cuts to the Pentagon and other domestic programs by about a third - or $63 billion over two years. Congress, though, still has work to do when it comes back from vacation. The Obama administration warned the nation's debt limit will be reached in February if it is not raised.
Amazon (AMZN) and UPS (UPS) are trying to make-up for packages that didn't reach their destinations by Christmas. Both companies are offering refunds on their shipping charges. Amazon is also offering $20 gift cards. A late upsurge in online shopping combined with bad weather in early December may have contributed to the delays. FedEx (FDX) and other online retailers experienced delays as well, but in the third week of December alone, more than a million people signed up for Amazon Prime. Because UPS has a agreement to ship orders that use its free shipping feature, the surge in Amazon orders hit UPS hard as well.
Now, here’s a look at four hot stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today.
First up, WPCS International (WPCS) whose stock jumped 20% in after-hours trading yesterday. The surge came after the tech company announced its BTX Trader unit would be releasing a software platform to trade Bitcoins. The digital currency last traded above $800 according to Bitcoin exchange, Mt.Gox. For the year, WPCS is down nearly 50%.
Next, General Motors (GM). The U.S. automaker and its Chinese partner, SAIC, will recall close to 1.5 million cars in China, according to a Chinese watchdog. The Buicks and Chevys are being recalled to fix defective fuel-pump brackets, which could leak fuel in extreme situations. The recall will begin on December 30th. China is a key market for GM with 30% of its car sales came from this market last year. GM is up close to 43% year-to-date.
Now, aircraft maker Textron (TXT), whose stock rose more than 2% in after-hours trading yesterday after it agreed to buy U.S. plane maker Beechcraft Corp for $1.4 billion. Textron, which makes Cessna planes and Bell helicopters, will be adding Hawker business jets to its arsenal through this merger. Textron hopes this deal will help turn things around after missing top line expectations for five consecutive quarters. Textron stock is up more than 42% for the year.
Finally, Lockheed Martin (LMT). The company hit a 52-week high yesterday after reports that the Obama Administration recently sent a batch of Lockheed's Hellfire missiles to Iraq to help the country combat an increase in terrorist attacks. For the year, Lockheed Martin is up about 60%.
Stocks are on a record run, but investors are slow to get back into mutual funds, according to Lipper. We want to hear from you in our poll today: Are you fully invested in stock funds again?