Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Markets

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Markets

Article excerpt

TODAY

Economists anticipate that a gauge of business activity declined in December. They expect that the Institute for Supply Management will reveal today that its Chicago business barometer index fell this month to 57. That would be down from a reading of 57.6 the previous month. An index reading above 50 indicates economic activity is growing. Readings below 50 indicate the economy is contracting.

Rebound year Wall Street wraps up a solid year for stocks today, 2016s final day of trading. Stock investors have reason to feel better than they did a year ago, when the Standard & Poors 500 index ended essentially flat. This time, the S&P 500 is on pace to close out the year with a 10 percent gain. The Dow Jones industrial average is headed for a gain of more than 13 percent, while the Nasdaq composite is closing in on an 8.6 percent increase.

Oil and gas tracker While depressed energy prices have curtailed exploration, the count of U.S. oil and natural gas rigs has been rising. Last week, the number of rigs increased by 16 to 653. That total included 523 rigs exploring for oil and 129 seeking natural gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. Did the trend continue this week? Find out today, when oilfield services company Baker Hughes issues its latest weekly tally of U.S. oil and natural gas rigs.

A hard act to follow When it comes to picking mutual funds, the old investment advice applies: past performance does NOT guarantee future results. Mutual funds that manage to be top performers one year have little better than a coin-flip chance of remaining so in the ensuing year. And the odds are even lower that they can do it a third year in a row. So say the numbers from S&P Dow Jones Indices, which looked at the performance of various kinds of mutual funds through this summer. It found that of the 1,320 U.S. stock mutual funds that ranked in the top half of performers for the 12 months through August 2012, only 55 percent repeated the feat in the following year. …

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