Following a wild week on Wall Street, the US stock market looks poised to extend its latter-week recovery following the opening bell on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures indices all pointing north as of the time of writing.
Dow Seeks to Extend Recovery
Dow futures had risen 111 points to 23,264, or 0.48 percent at the time of writing, followed closely behind by S&P 500 futures with implied gains of 0.43 percent. Nasdaq futures were up about 0.22 percent.
Those movements would prolong a recovery begun earlier in the week when the Dow rose 1,086 points in its largest-ever single-day rally. On Thursday, futures portended a sell-off, but the market assembled an impressive charge to close the day firmly in positive territory.
However, lost in all this renewed optimism is the fact that stocks are still on track for their worst December since the Great Depression, with the Dow down 9.4 percent for the month and the S&P 500 faring even worse following its 9.8 percent haircut.
And while some analysts are crossing their fingers for a first-quarter bounce, others remain bearish on the economy’s fundamentals, noting that trading volume is depressed due to the holiday season.
“The U.S. economic data is not great and there is no reason to believe it will improve,” said Jan Dehn, head of research at Ashmore Group, in remarks cited in the Wall Street Journal. “I expect U.S. stocks to have a tough time in 2019 and this sudden bounce on low volume is a great opportunity to offload in case you missed it earlier [.]”
The Death of an American Icon
Meanwhile, reports indicate that iconic American retailer Sears may be down to its final 24 hours.
The 125-year-old firm, whose once-ubiquitous catalog made it the “Amazon of the 1930s,” is expected to liquidate unless Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert — through his hedge fund, ESL Investments — can secure financing to submit a $4.6 billion offer to purchase the company outright. Even then, Lampert and ESL would need to successfully bid against liquidators in a Jan. 14 auction if they hope to keep Sears’ remaining business operations intact.
For investors, the downfall of Sears and other 20th-century titans like General Electric is a stark reminder that no company or asset, no matter how entrenched, is immune to market forces and technological disruption. Indeed, that entrenchment can tempt firms to rest on their laurels rather than continue the sort of innovation that made them household names in the first place.
Bitcoin, Crypto Market Resume Slide Heading into 2019
This reality should provide solace to crypto believers, some of whom may have been tempted to question whether bitcoin has a future following this year’s 80 percent peak-to-trough decline and the crypto market’s subsequent inability to mount a sustained recovery amid waning retail interest.
Unfortunately, bitcoin’s pre-Christmas rally has already begun to fizzle out ahead of today’s bitcoin futures expiration on CME, and Mark Dow — who shorted the flagship cryptocurrency all the way down from its all-time high — is warning that BTC/USD is approaching a level that should send even the most ardent believers heading for the hills.
However, veteran crypto investors have seen this movie before. So while 2018 wasn’t exactly the banner year that many bulls predicted it would be, hodlers with a longer time horizon have much to be optimistic about, both in terms of technological development and mainstream cryptocurrency adoption on Wall Street.
Featured Image from Shutterstock. Price Charts from TradingView.