A common refrain on Wall Street goes like this: as goes January, so goes the year. If that's the case in 2014, watch out. Heading into the final trading day of the month the S&P 500 is down a steep three percent. Since 1929, this barometer has been right 73 percent of the time. The Dow is down even more -- off 4.4 percent, or 728 points.
The market this week has been dominated by big moves by leading tech stocks. Apple (AAPL) tumbled Wednesday and dragged the whole market down with it. Facebook (FB) jumped Thursday, leading a broad rally. The spotlight today turns to Amazon and Google.
And Amazon.com (AMZN) may find the attention uncomfortable. Its fourth quarter earnings fell short of Wall Street's high expectations, and it warned of a possible loss in the current quarter. As a result, the stock is set to tumble. Sales for the holiday period were strong, but Amazon incurred lots of costs for added employees and credits issued to customers because of the company failure to meet its promise on last minute deliveries. Amazon also says it may significantly raise the price of its Amazon Prime delivery service from the current $79 a year.
As for Google, both earnings and sales rose by 17 percent. Google's (GOOG) stock is up 50 percent from a year ago, and set to move higher again today.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gained 110 points Thursday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 20 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rallied 71 points.
Did you know the cost of your car insurance may vary depending upon the month you buy it? MarketWatch reports that March is often the most expensive month and December the least expensive. In Hawaii it can cost as much as 48 percent more to buy in March. Among other states with big differences: Wyoming, Maryland and Pennsylvania.