The markets took a second consecutive day of losses, with the Dow Jones closing down to 16,457 points and the NASDAQ dropping 10 points. However, the S&P 500 pushed slightly higher by the thinnest of margins. Over the last six days, all investment sectors declined on average, with only healthcare and financials showing improvement.

Home furnishing companies in particular, including Williams Sonoma, Pier One Import, and Bed Bath and Beyond absorbed heavy losses, dragging down the benchmark S&P index. Despite an alleged recovery in the real estate market, earnings were significantly below expectations. Even more concerning is the earnings miss for Family Dollar Stores, which primarily serves low to middle income families, suggesting a comprehensive decline in consumer spending as compared to previous years.

video hyper link regarding retail environment  http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000234617&play=1


No currencies this week

Winners & Losers

The winner for this week is Yelp Inc, ticker symbol YELP : 

  • Yelp was one of the hottest names traded in the New York Stock Exchange this week, with shares up over 16% since Monday, helped in large part by a price target upgrade from J.P. Morgan.
  • Although the popular online information guide has lost money over recent years, analysts are expecting a turnaround for 2014, citing the success of Yelp’s promotional sales across diverse industries.

The loser for this week is The Container Store Group, ticker symbol TCS :

  • Shares dropped nearly 15% in mid-week, despite an earnings report which featured revenue gains of 7.3% and same-store sales gains of 4.7%.
  • Investors took into consideration other factors, including a drop in foot-traffic and lower forecasted sales as reasons to be cautious following an incredible run in market valuation since its $18 dollar IPO.

Precious Metals

  • Gold Bullion

    Gold had a slow series of sessions this week, closing Thursday at the COMEX at $1,227. The bears unsuccessfully failed to do significant technical damage to the bullion chart and overall, the market has been trending higher after bottoming in late December.

  • Silver Bullion

    Silver also had a mediocre week, closing at the COMEX at $19.56. It bottomed at the beginning of December and has exhibited choppy trading behavior relative to gold, but it too maintains an overall positive trend.

  • Palladium Bullion

    Palladium ended Thursday’s session unchanged from the prior ; of all the precious metals, palladium has the best potential to make strong gains, with industry experts citing increased demand in the face of unstable supply sources.

Many financial analysts including Dennis Gartman believes gold will move sideways for 2014 as inflation fears are currently subdued. “The Economist” editor Greg Ip suggests that something drastic needs to occur change the current paradigm in light of the Fed taper becoming a reality. However, base metals have seen a recovery since the commodities downwash of last year, and even Mr. Gartman admitted that the time for shorting gold is over. Look for future geopolitical instability and uncertainties within the stock market to drive the precious metals higher for 2014.