Two 2014 stock investing trends already evident
It's a bit early to spot investing trends in 2014, but two "duh" trends are already playing out. I call these the "duh" plays for 2014 because they are on so many strategists list for "Trends in 2014":
First: Banks are up today on expectations of a steepening yield curve.
Second: Airlines are up, oil and gas stocks are down on expectations that the shale explosion will continue to keep oil and gas prices in check (oil is at a one-month low today).
Another trend you can expect to continue: Federal Reserve speakers moving the markets. It happened again this morning, when the Dow Industrial Average lost about 50 points as the Philadelphia Fed's Charles Plosser, a hawk and a voting member of the FOMC, gave a speech in which he noted that the Fed must be prepared for a rapid tightening campaign, if needed.
It also has happened in the afternoon: the Dow has risen modestly as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in his last major speech, said: "The combination of financial healing, greater balance in the housing market, less fiscal restraint, and, of course, continued monetary policy accommodation bodes well for U.S. economic growth in coming quarters."
Meantime, the early economic news for 2014 is very mixed. True, ISM Manufacturing was strong yesterday, but December auto sales have been disappointing: Ford (F), General Motors (GM), Toyota (TM) and Chrysler all missed expectations.
And let's call holiday retail sales "eh" at best. Retail same-store sales are likely to be up roughly two percent in November-December, according to RetailMetrics, but margins will suffer due to extremely heavy discounting.
—By CNBC's Bob Pisani