Stocks traded mixed today as markets continue to follow the price of oil. At the close the Dow was off 47 points to 16,649. Trading volume was mixed. For the week the Dow gained about 1.6%.
The US fourth quarter GDP figure was revised up from 0.7% to a 1% growth rate by the Commerce Department which said a robust jobs market and still rising house prices provided ballast for an economy that is facing pressure from an oil industry and manufacturing sector that are weak and trouble in overseas markets. The higher GDP reading was a surprise and a complete reversal from what had been forecast. The gurus had been thinking that the estimate would fall to 0.4%. Going forward the analysts now expect the US economy to benefit from today’s number and expand at a 2% clip.
Oil prices continue to trend higher but in a mixed fashion as the proposed March meeting by OPEC and Russia to discuss supply caps was offset by high stockpiles and rising production from Iraq and Iran. WTI crude today was off a few pennies to close at $32.95 a barrel.
Deutsche Bank, the largest bank in Germany, has had a tough year so far. The banks shares are down close to 50% on fears of exposure to problem debts across parts of Europe and the emerging markets. Meanwhile Deutsche Bank commodity guru Michael Hsueh said it was time to buy gold because of global financial system stresses in particular he cited the risks to China which is experiencing a sharp increase in capital outflows. Gold today fell by about 1.1% to $1,224 an ounce. For the week gold is higher.