A key American fuel gauge is on the fritz, and no one seems sure how to fix it — is cheap gas helping the economy or isn't it?
The correlation between oil prices and the stock market has reached a level only rarely ever seen — if oil tanks, it takes stocks right down with it. It's the tightest correlation in 26 years, according to the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, economists are puzzled that the "lower for longer" gas prices have not contributed more to consumer spending.
Wal-Mart is closing stores, and Amazon reported holiday sales that, while good, were not as good as expected, and share of the country's leading online retailer cratered. Meanwhile, the consumer sentiment report released Friday came in slightly below expectations and declined from the previous reading.
For investors who buy the bull argument that cheap gas will be a tailwind for the U.S. market, the lack of a clear winner in the "cheap gas" debate provides little comfort. In laying out a bull case this week for the economy amid the market volatility and worst month for the stocks since 2009, Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, cited the cheap gas boost to the American consumer.