Stocks today were mixed. Last week the Dow posted a net pullback of only 14 points and so far this year it is up 6.3%. Today’s action saw biotech stocks move higher on merger activity while energy stocks declined with falling oil prices. The Dow closed the day off 23 points on light volume to 18,531.
Pfizer announced a $14 billion deal to acquire a company called Medivation. The news propelled beaten down biotech stocks higher as investors hope that the merger signals a bottom for biotech stocks which have had a rough go so far this year.
Oil prices pulled back about 3% thanks in part to rising production in Middle Eastern countries like Iraq and Iran and a higher rig count in the US. So far for the month of August, 32 rigs have been reactivated in the US as oil prices have stabilized in the mid $40’s. Barclay’s Bank said in a research piece that oil prices above $50 per barrel are unsustainable due to slow demand growth, rising Middle East production and the ability of US producers to quickly bring idled production online.
The Boy Scout trip was great. There were 5 dads and 14 lunkheads, ten of which were new scouts who had not really hiked before. They got to swim in an ice cold mountain lake, eat huckleberries along the trail and cook their own dinners over MSR whisper lite stoves. One dad on the trip works at Amazon and he confided in me that Amazon is planning on having one million employees within 4 years. The current headcount is 230,000 which is up from 64,000 four years ago. By way of comparison, Yahoo Finance says that Wal-Mart has over two million employees while Starbucks has 157,000 and GE has 333,000.