In The News:
The NFP report released Friday showed the economy only add 74,000 jobs in the month of December. We will break the numbers down in our Monday edition.
On Thursday, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) announced its plans to sell, or exit over time, its business of issuing prepaid cards for corporate payrolls and government tax refunds and benefits. The cards have become a headache of risks in operations and regulation. Last month, JPMorgan warned 465,000 holders of the cards that their personal data may have been accessed by computer hackers who attacked its network in July. The company also issued incorrect replacement cards to some 4,000 people receiving payments from the state of Connecticut, causing the state treasurer to blast the bank for its “obvious lack of attention to detail.”
In addition to the operational nightmares that the cards have caused recently, government regulators have been focusing on companies, such as JPMorgan Chase, to determine whether corporate payroll programs that use the cards have sufficient safeguards against burdening employees with fees. This may have been the company’s deciding factor in getting out of the business, as they have shelled out over $15 billion in fines to government regulators in the last year.
I’m In A Slump…
Shares of Sears Holdings Corp. tumbled 13% in after-hours trading on Thursday after the company reported a 7.4% decline in quarter-to-date holiday season comparable sales. Sears U.S. sales tumbled 9.2% and Kmart sales dropped 5.7%. The company forecast an adjusted loss in the quarter ending Feb. 1 to be $2.01 to $2.98 a share. For the year, the company is projected to have an adjusted loss of $7.64 to $8.61 a share.
Sears is just one of several low end discounters that have had a rough holiday season as consumers still feel economic pressure in their daily lives. As earning season begins watch for lower quarterly earnings from low end discounters like Kmart, Sears, and Family Dollar.
In The Markets:
Asia ended the week mixed. The Shanghai Composite (China) closing in the red on news China exports tumbled in December. Another sign the world’s second biggest economy is on the starting to crumble. The Hang Seng (Hong Kong) and the Nikkei (Japan) closed higher as investors remained cautiously optimistic about Friday’s jobs report out of the US.
European markets finished lower on Thursday following the ECB’s (European Central Bank) decided to keep rates low while the region’s recovery finds its footing.
US markets closed mixed on Thursday as all eyes were focused on what potential surprises Friday’s jobs reports might tells us. DJIA:-17.98 16444.76 Nasdaq: -9.42 4156.19 S&P: +0.64 1838.13
In Dinner or Drink:
Friday Frozen Mudslide
1 1/2 oz. Absolut® vodka
1 1/2 oz. Bailey’s® Irish cream
1 1/2 oz. Kahlua® coffee liqueur
8 ice cubes
1 1/2 oz. cream
1 scoop Haagen-Dazs® vanilla ice cream
2 scoops Haagen-Dazs® chocolate ice cream
Begin by crushing the 8 ice cubes in a blender. When ice is finely crushed, add the remaining ingredients and blend for 45 seconds on blender’s highest setting. Pour into glass and serve immediately.
Have a wonderful weekend, Ya’ll!
“If you don’t have daily objectives, you qualify as a dreamer.”
- Zig Ziglar