Eagle Eye Opener: U.S. Markets Notches Highs Amid Cyprus Uncertainty; Asian Markets Roar Like Tigers

Eagle Eye Opener

U.S. Markets Notch New Highs as World Awaits Re-Opening of Bank of Pandora (Reuters)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) hit another all-time high yesterday, closing at 14,559.65. The S&P 500, nearly missed a record high itself, ending the day at 1,563.75 — just 1.38 points shy of its previous peak. This rally has been powered by a one-two punch of good news. First, single-family home prices rose at the fastest pace in six years; while durable goods orders far exceeded analyst expectations. Ordinarily, this kind of news could be expected to propel the market upward for days, at least. Unfortunately, the ongoing Cyprus soap opera reaches its next critical phase on Thursday — when the country’s banks re-open. You can bet your bottom euro that events on that tiny island nation Thursday will impact world markets… the question is, “how?”

Asian Markets Echo U.S. Enthusiasm (YahooFinance)

Taking their cue from the Dow’s record close, and the S&P 500’s near record, Asian markets posted significant gains as well. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose .18 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained .46 percent, while the Shanghai CSI 300 ended up slightly. Europe’s bourses experienced mixed results, as investor concern about Cyprus outweighed the positive news from the United States, Germany’s DAX showed a slight gain of .11 percent, the STOXX 50 Index lost .31 percent and England’s FTSE 100 had one of the best days among European markets, gaining .33 percent. For a real indication of the world’s reaction to the Cyprus mess, check back here on Thursday, when Cypriot banks re-open.

Exclusive  Mazda Goes to Bat for the Internal Combustion Team

The Crystal Clear Signal That It’s Time for “Risk-On” (Bloomberg)

For the past five years, the $4.5 billion Matthews Asia Dividend Fund has outperformed 14 rivals, including funds from Fidelity Investments and Franklin Resources, by riding Asian companies with earnings less susceptible to macro-economic events. Despite the fact that the fund rose 60.7 percent during those five years, fund manager Jesper Madsen is turning away from potentially overbought income plays toward dividend-paying stocks with more risk. Madsen explained the shift this way, “… successful investing may be just about finding good companies, but also about buying future dividend payments at attractive prices.” It remains to be seen how the investing community reacts to this significant shift by the Matthews Asia Dividend Fund.

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Thanks to forecast-beating durable goods orders in February and the biggest increase in home prices since 2006, U.S. stocks rose today, putting the S&P 500 back up near its all-time high.

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