Cheri Hackett, co-owner of BotanaCare, carries bags of the company's sample packs of various strains of marijuana prepared for the store opening tomorrow in Northglenn, Colorado December 31, 2013. Proprietors of the first marijuana retailers licensed to sell pot for recreational use in Colorado, including BotanaCare, were busy rolling joints and stocking shelves with their leafy merchandise on Tuesday, ahead of a New Year's Day grand opening that marks a new chapter in America's drug culture.
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- Stocks in Asia were mostly higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.1%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.29%. Korea's Kospi dropped -2%. European stocks were lower across the board, and Turkey's BIST 30 index continued to plummet thanks to the ongoing corruption crisis there; it was down more than -2%. U.S. futures were up.
- The first Global PMI Day of 2014 continues to roll along nicely, as purchasing mangers around the world have released mostly positive surveys of manufacturing activity. So far out of 17 countries reporting, just two have turned in readings below 50, meaning they're contracting. South Korea's PMI figure hit a seven-month high, and Indonesia and Vietnam's PMI surveys saw their largest gains since April 2011. Even PMI for Greece, one of the two countries that printed below 50, climbed to its highest level in more than four years.
- The most disconcerting PMI survey came out of France, which was the other country to come in below 50, hitting a seven-month low of 47.0, with sharp drops in new orders, output, and employment. Markit's Jack Kennedy commented, "Anecdotal evidence suggested that lingering uncertainties continue to hold back the spending and investment that are necessary to support a recovery in the sector."
- Turkey's PMI fell sharply, to 53.5 from 55.0 in November. We already mentioned how Turkish stocks were plummeting today. The Turkish Lira is also getting hammered, with the dollar spiking to new highs against the sovereign. Turkey's Deputy PM recently told CNBC-e that the country is facing a "mini coup" from factions linked to a Pennsylvania-based cleric who has been accused of attempting to create a "state within a state," though there is disagreement about the nature of his followers, and the situation seems to be more about a power struggle.
- Jefferies' David Zervos has a pretty good track record on investing calls — most of which also happen to rhyme. Last year, for instance Zervos told clients to go long "Spoos and Blues," or long stocks and the Euro. Today, he basically says go long risk all risk assets, in the form of riding the tech stocks surge, because there's very little to suggest the economy would turn south. In a new note, he writes: "It’s time to go fully risk on and dump the hedge!! And what better way to play for a Fed induced liquidity blow-off bubble top than with one of the original bubble babies of the past – QQQ’s. We are still a long way from the peaks of 13 years ago!! It’s finally time for “Spoos and Q’s.”
- Wells Fargo downgraded Apple to "market perform" from "outperform" while keeping its valuation range at $536 to $581. Analyst Maynard Um cited pressure on gross margins and limited market opportunity, as well as a shift in power to wireless providers. Shares were down close to 1% pre-market.
- We get four big economic data points today. Weekly jobless claims fell to 339,000 from a revised 341,000, though the data likely suffered from seasonal noise.
- Then at 9 a.m. we get the US PMI, which is expected to decrease slightly to 54.5 from 54.7.
- At 10 a.m., we'll get both the Institute of Supply Management's latest manufacturing survey, which is expected to climb slightly to 57.3 from 57.0; and construction spending data, which is expected to have climbed 1% in November.
- The first legal pot sales took place in Colorado and went off without a hitch. "It's kind of a relief, frankly," a Denver city councilman told the Denver Post. "This could have gone a lot of different ways. So far, so good." BI's Haley Hudson was on hand to cover the day live.
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