‘Play in May’ Attitude Pushing ‘Global Markets to Five-Year Highs (Reuters)
Beginning with last week’s positive U.S. jobs report, the world’s markets appear set to hug-it-out of the current economic malaise, with European shares reaching for five-year highs. Japanese stocks even advanced based on the news, despite the government’s best efforts to tank the yen. Next up, the European Central Bank jumped aboard the love train, saying it would cut rates again to stimulate growth and continue the feel-good market in May. Back to the United States, the S&P 500 scooped up all of the good will in its arms and ran to another new high. Certainly, the world’s bourses are doing their best to keep the momentum alive, but with “sell in May and go away” advice lingering for three additional weeks, what happens to investors over the long hot summer?
Government Multi-tasks Its Way to ‘Fairness’ (CNNMoney)
With the Senate’s recent approval of the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” it is killing two, maybe three birds, with one stone. First, the Fairness Act will allow 45 states, plus the District, to require online retailers to charge sales tax. That’s expected to add some $12 billion in additional funds for states. It also is expected to drive consumers back to existing brick-and-mortar businesses and remove an incentive to use cheaper, tax-free online retailers. The Fairness Act also will help reinvigorate local and state-owned investments. Of course, groups like Americans for Tax Reform only see this move as another way government is reaching into our pockets. How do you see it?
Gold $1,600 Was the Breaking Point for Many Investors (Bloomberg)
As gold prices continued to fall through the $1,600 level in April, many heavy hitters in the market took the removal of this support as the time to bail on gold for a while. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) reduced its gold holdings from a former 6-7 percent in its portfolios to today’s 1-2 percent levels, according to Gary Dugan, RBS’ chief investment officer for Asia and the Middle East. English Private Banking giant Coutts & Co. also scaled back, not expecting the barbarous relic to return to $1,600 unless an international crisis develops, the dollar drops more or war breaks out. This year, gold is 13 percent lower already — after a dozen straight years of appreciation. It’s anyone’s guess whether global events will push investors back to gold in 2013, or if the fall continues.