The markets spiked when Congressional leaders hinted that a compromise is possible on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. The Dow gained 45 points, the Nasdaq rose by 16, and the S&P 500 advanced 6. Twenty-two of the Dow’s 30 components gained ground, led by Alcoa (AA), which rose 1.6%. Volume was light to medium. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by almost three to one on the NYSE and by three to two on the Nasdaq. The prices of Treasuries strengthened while the price of gold futures gained 0.05% to $1,714.70 an ounce. The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 1.2% to $86.92 a barrel.
For the week, the Dow lost 1.7%, the Nasdaq fell 1.7%, and the S&P 500 declined by 1.4%.
After meeting for an hour with President Obama, top Congressional leaders said their talks to reach a compromise agreement for averting the fiscal cliff were “very constructive.” Senate majority leader Harry Reid noted: “This is not something we're going to wait until the last day of December to get it done. We have a plan; we’re going to move forward on it.”
In Other Business News:
- Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies, Yodels, and Wonder Bread, announced it has filed with bankruptcy court for permission to liquidate its assets and go out of business after failing to reach an agreement for a new contract with its striking unions. The company has 33 plants around the country and more than 18,000 employees.
- Nike announced an agreement to sell its Cole Haan division to Apax Partners for $570 million. Nike is in the process of narrowing its business and product focus by selling some assets: Last month it announced an agreement to sell Umbro, its soccer equipment and clothing unit, to Iconix Brands. The price of Nike’s shares (NKE) gained almost 2% in today's session.
- The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production declined by 0.4% in October, mainly as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which closed many industrial facilities when it hit the East Coast. Industrial production rose by 0.2% in September.
I’m proud that Americans are so hard working, but this is ridiculous. The Wall Street Journal reports this week that more and more people are taking their work to bed with them. A survey of 1,000 workers conducted by Good Technology, a mobile software security company, found that half of the respondents read and answer email in bed. A study in Great Britain found that 20% of workers spend between two and 10 hours a week working in bed. And Reverie, a maker of adjustable beds, finds that 80% of young New York professionals work in bed regularly.
The trend is so pronounced that some companies are already designing special products to accommodate people who work in bed. Reverie offers a bed with an outlet in the base for plugging in lamps and laptops. E.S. Kluft offers a bed that is seven feet by seven feet (15% larger than a king size bed) to accommodate a working sprawled couple.
I’ve heard of being married to the job, but really, is this what we want? Here are a few questions I have about this disturbing trend. What’ll we call people who work in the sack: “bedbugs?” What kind of work are they doing: spreadsheets? If the boss likes to work in bed, do we have to assemble there for committee meetings? And what would we call such meetings: “pillow talk?” How will we describe people who have really tough bosses and go home to work in bed: “bed-ridden?” And if they resent the boss, are they “bed-sore?” I had a tough boss once I would gladly have swapped for a comforter. Also, if I work in bed, can I sleep at the office? Finally, when is Apple coming out with the first iPillow?
Frankly, working in bed is my idea of a nightmare.
Have a great weekend. I’m going to catch a little extra shut-eye in my bed this weekend.
And if you’re wondering whatever happened to growth stocks, listen to Tom Pence discuss “Fundamentally focused on growth stocks” as my guest for On the Trading Desk.