We heard from one Federal Reserve President today, whom offered a cautionary statement to markets. The Federal Reserve may have to “press harder on the brakes” at some point over the next few years, increasing the risk of a hard landing for the economy, New York Fed President William Dudley said Thursday. It should be understood that Dudley has already announced that he plans to step down from his post in mid-2018. As such, it makes it easier to asset such a statement, but also begs of investors to pay attention, as there is little to hide for departing Fed members.

It was most obviously another record setting day on Wall Street all three major averages finishing in record territory and with great strength going into the closing bell. The S&P 500 gained 19.33 points to 2,767.56. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index advanced by 58.21 points to 7,211.78. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 205.60 points to 25,574.73. There’s no denying that the markets are surging at a blistering pace.

Do you recall last year when crude prices were below $40 a barrel? Well those days are long gone. Oil prices settled higher Thursday for a fourth session in a row. Prices rose for black gold as recent data showed U.S. crude supplies falling for eight straight weeks. February West Texas Intermediate crude rose 23 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $63.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest finish since Dec. 9th of last year Natural-gas futures rose to a six-week high after a record weekly drop in U.S. supplies of the commodity.

Republicans Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake and Cory Gardner, and Democrats Dick Durbin, Michael Bennet and Robert Menendez — said they have reached an agreement on immigration that, they say, addresses border security, the diversity visa lottery, chain migration/family reunification and the Dream Act. The senators say they are working to build support for that deal in Congress.

Corporate News

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. stated today that it will use savings from the tax bill signed to reward its workers with extra pay, and even offer one-time $1,000 bonuses, but only employees with at least 20 years of service will qualify. The retailer said it will increase the starting wage for hourly associates to $11, effective during the Feb. 17, 2018 pay cycle.

Macy’s Inc. laid off 436 workers after closing three California stores, in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Laguna Hills. The layoffs are part of a continued bricks-and-mortar reorganization that the retailer announced alongside its holiday results. These stores bring the number of closures to 81 of the roughly 100 that were announced in August 2016. The department-store operator has closed 124 of its stores since 2015.

Gartner came out today with their latest data set regarding PC shipments for the most recent quarter ended December 31, 2017. Fourth-quarter shipments rose 0.7% to 70.58 million units, with the largest gains at HP Inc. with a 8.3% rise, and Apple Inc. with a 7.3% rise. For the year, PC shipments declined 0.2% to 259.53 million units. Gartner, however, showed slightly different numbers with PC shipments declining 2% to 71.56 million units for the fourth quarter, and falling 2.8% to 262.54 million units for the year. HP and Apple also led PC shipment growth for the fourth quarter and the year in the Gartner data.

Wells Fargo Co. will report its Q4 2017 results tomorrow before the opening bell. The average analyst estimates call for the company to report $1.05 in earnings on $22.34bn in revenues. Revenue growth is expected to come in at 3.5 percent for the quarter. JP Morgan Chase is also expected to report quarterly results before the bell. The average analyst estimates call for the company to report $1.69 in earnings on revenues of $25.18bn and expressing 3.5% revenue growth. Alongside Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase, PNC Financial and Blackrock will be reporting quarterly results.

If U.S. equities give rise to overseas markets, overnight and through the mornings, U.S. equity Futures could trend higher into earnings announcements…if! Typically, a Thursday market rally persists to some degree in the Friday trading session. We’ll be keeping a watchful eye on the markets. Stay vigilant and active as markets trend higher!


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