If the Fed taper hinged on new car sales...
Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.
What do you do when you feel better about things? Buy a car, of course. Buyers shelled out big time in August, giving nearly all automakers double-digit sales gains, beating expectations. This despite lots of rising prices, with the average light vehicle costing $31,252 in the U.S., up 3.2 percent in the past year. Prices often rise in August because of low supplies at the model-year changeover, so September's numbers will be key to assessing the industry, which so far looks strong.
"Any way you measure it, auto sales remain very strong and that's not expected to change."—CNBC's Philip LeBeau
"This is really an amazing renaissance."—CNBC's Jim Cramer
Rise of part-time work undermines paid vacation
Ask anyone who's self-employed about their working life's pros and cons and lack of a paid vacation will be high on the cons list. Well, working for someone else doesn't guarantee a paid vacation, either. The government reports that just 77 percent of workers get paid vacations, down from 82 percent 20 years ago, largely because of the rise of part-time jobs. Paid vacation is still the rule for full-time workers, with 91 percent getting it, about the same as two decades ago. Not only that, full-time workers are getting longer vacations, as well as better access to family leave.
"Ten days is better than eight, but ... the typical developed country mandates at least 20 paid vacation days."—Catherine Rampell of the New York Times
Is Wall Street an offshoot of White House?
Politics aside, investors might consider rooting for President Obama, following an old adage that the markets mirror the president's fortunes. A study by Bespoke Investment Group shows the S&P 500 tracking the president's approval ratings, and a recent Gallup poll shows Obama's rating at a mere 44 percent, the lowest of his presidency. The relationship doesn't always hold true but, all else being equal, investors would be wise to prefer a popular president.
"[Obama's] troubles began with the Benghazi scandal, escalated with the [Department of Justice] spying on news reporter James Rosen, followed by the IRS scandal, and now we have Syria. In fact, we are even alienating two of our steadfast allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel, whose silence on our Syrian strategy has been deafening."—Jeffrey Saut, chief investment strategist at Raymond James
Pressure at the pump, with or without Syria
One of the issues hanging over the markets these days, especially given the tensions over Syria, is what will happen with oil prices, which have been rising. Some analysts think prices will stick at today's levels, and perhaps go 8 to 10 percent higher. Even if the Syria crisis goes away, there are plenty of other factors putting upward pressure on oil. Bad news, perhaps, for drivers and other oil users, but good for oil company shareholders.
"You've got strikes of oil workers in Libya ... you've got Egypt really still in limbo with their government ... and you've also still got what could turn into a war in Syria. I believe you've got a big case for oil and oil stocks to go higher."—Sean Hyman, editor of Moneynews
—By Jeff Brown, Special to CNBC.com