US Markets By the Numbers


  Monday, 3 Feb 2014 | 11:27 AM ET

S&P has worst start to February since 1933

February is historically a rocky month for stocks, but it's bound to perform even worse when January is negative.

Since 1971, when January was negative, the S&P 500 extended its losses into February 72 percent of the time, falling on average 2.4 percent. That ratio stands at 65 percent for the Dow and 57 percent for the Nasdaq.

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  Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 | 4:55 PM ET

Stocks only canter in typical Years of the Horse

As China welcomes the Year of the Horse, investors may want to note that historically it hasn't been the friendliest for stocks.

China's Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins Friday, marking the start of the year 4712.

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  Friday, 31 Jan 2014 | 2:17 PM ET

Stocks down 3% in January! If history repeats ...

U.S. stocks are on pace to close a volatile January in the red, after posting the best yearly gain in 16 years.

With less than two hours until the end of trading Friday, the S&P 500 was trading around 1790, down just over 3 percent for the month. It is on track for its first January loss since 2009, and the largest monthly decrease in eight months.

Similarly, the Dow is off by almost 5 percent this year, while the Nasdaq has fallen 1.5 percent.

As January goes, so goes the year?

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  Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 | 11:15 AM ET

Short sellers are back, and they like these stocks

Posted By: Giovanny Moreano
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday
Getty Images
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday

After a temporary drop in the last six weeks of 2013, short interest is back on the rise.

The NYSE reported on Monday that short interest rose to 13.8 billion shares in the first half of January from 13.41 billion on December 30, a 2.98 percent increase – the biggest such bi-weekly increase since mid-June of last year.

Likewise, Nasdaq also showed a modest increase of 0.5 percent in short interest during the same period. As of mid-January, short interest rose to about 7.62 billion shares, compared with 7.58 billion shares as of December 31.

(Read more: Betting against Apple? Not so fast: Ex-CEO Sculley)

Short interest measures the total number of shares of a security that has been sold short, expressed as a percent of total tradable shares.

Investors track short-interest levels to gain a sense of where a stock might be headed, along with some insight into whether any positive news might force short traders to cover their positions, pushing stocks higher.

Cliffs Natural Resources, U.S. Steel, Lennar and D.R. Horton, for example, have some of the highest ratios in the S&P 500 index, with more than 18 percent of their float sold short.

Here is a look at the most heavily shorted stocks:

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  Thursday, 26 Dec 2013 | 11:25 AM ET

Here's what tends to happen after a strong year

Posted By: Giovanny Moreano
Getty Images

If history is an indication, the stock market could extend its rally into 2014.

U.S. stocks are up for a sixth-straight session, with the Dow gaining 3.4 percent, or its strongest six-day win streak since March 2012. So far this year, the S&P 500 is up 29 percent, on pace for its best yearly performance since 1997, while the Dow is up 25 percent, or its biggest annual gain in a decade.

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  Thursday, 26 Dec 2013 | 11:18 AM ET

Dow on track for best year since 1996

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is on track to end the year with its biggest percentage gain since 1996 and is almost certain to have its best year in a decade.

If it closes on Dec. 31 above 16,422.11, the Dow will beat its 25.32 percent surge in 2003.

That would make it the best year since 1996, when the Dow gained 26.01 percent.

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  Friday, 13 Dec 2013 | 1:10 PM ET

After massive rally, will shorts finally win?

NYSE New York Stock Exchange traders markets
Getty Images

As the S&P 500 continues to trade near record highs, short interest appears to be on the rise, again.

NYSE Euronext reports short interest rose more than 1.53 percent in November to 27.84 billion shares, its largest amount in five months.

Just in the last two weeks of November, more than 43 percent of S&P 500 stocks saw an average 10 percent increase in short interest.

This year has not been kind to short sellers, which have seen the S&P jump 24 percent, or its largest gain in a decade.

But some investors believe the tide may change. Hedge fund manager Bill Fleckenstein recently told CNBC he was restarting his short fund, while hedge fund titan Jim Chanos said he's finding many more opportunities on the short side.

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  Friday, 6 Dec 2013 | 9:33 AM ET

Here's where the most jobs are being added

Getty Images

The latest employment figures show the economy added 203,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate dropped 30 basis points to 7 percent, the lowest level in five years.

Economists expected the jobs numbers to increase by 180,000 and unemployment to dip by 10 basis points.

With a downtick in the unemployment rate, the labor force participation rate, a measure of both people who are working and those who are actively looking increased by 20 basis points to 63 percent, it's highest level in more than a year. The 30-year average stands at around 65.8 percent.

At the same time, the employment-population ratio, which measures the percentage of adults over 16 who have a job also increased by 30 basis points to 58.63, the biggest such increase since September 2012.

The Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates low until the unemployment rate drops to 6.5 percent or lower, as long as inflation remains near the 2 percent target.

The current downward trajectory of the unemployment rate may now provide a catalyst for the Fed to put the brakes on its historic expansion of monetary policy by tapering its massive bond-buying program initiated more than five years ago.

Below is a look at where the most jobs are being added. Education and health services had the largest increase, adding 40,000 jobs last month.

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  Monday, 2 Dec 2013 | 4:36 PM ET

Insiders favor selling as market hits new highs

Adam Gault | OJO images | Getty Images

A strong sell bias continues among company insiders across the market, as stocks breach trough historic levels.

The S&P 500 is up 26 percent year-to-date, tracking for its best yearly gain in a decade. Other market indexes such as the Nasdaq, Russell 2000 and Dow transportation average are up more than 32 percent this year, respectively. The S&P, Dow, Russell and transports are trading at or near record highs, while the Nasdaq crossed the 4,000 mark for the first time in 13 years.

As the market continues to gain steam, corporate insiders are unwinding their positions at a similar rate. Research firm InsiderScore highlights that the sentiment being displayed is not surprising given the market backdrop along with tax season approaching, but emphasizes that investors should not lose sight of the trend and continue to drill down on individual companies.

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  Friday, 29 Nov 2013 | 12:45 PM ET

Dow's best month of the year? December

Posted By: Giovanny Moreano
Getty Images

If history is an indication, the stock market could extend its rally into December.

U.S. stocks finished the shortened-holiday week with another gain, up for eight consecutive weeks. The S&P 500 set its longest winning streak in nearly 10 years, while it was the Dow's longest consecutive weekly increase in three years. Both indexes are up 6.8 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, in that period.

During Friday's trading session, the S&P 500, Dow industrials, Dow transports and Russell 2000 set new all-time intraday highs, while the Nasdaq hit a fresh 13-year intraday high.

Since the 1900s, December is the best month for the Dow, and second-best month for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Historically, all three indexes have gained on average between 1 and 2 percent, respectively.

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About By the Numbers

  • Our market specialists dig deep into Wall Street’s daily metrics, crunching the numbers to help you become smarter about the market so that you can make better investment decisions. By The Numbers details the daily drama, the winners and losers, how the day stacks up historically, and how the numbers can offer a glimpse of the future.


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