The markets slipped up on Thursday in what has been a fairly volatile week, with the S&P 500 closing down nearly 3 points against the prior session, and the NASDAQ ending slightly up for the day. However, the greater concern is the Dow Jones, which lost 62 points and continues an overall declining trend line. An opening streak of losing days hasn’t occurred since January of 2008 and has many investors watching the indices with leery eyes.

Of concern is earnings quality, as disappointing sales results from consumer retailers such as Best Buy, which was down over 30% during intraday trading or a loss of $3.6 billion dollars in market cap, destroyed any pretense that the American buying public has recovered. Poor earnings from low-income outfits such as Family Dollar Stores highlights the intense deflation across all spectrums of the consumer industry, while the financial sector dragged the benchmark indices, indicative of a bifurcation between paper gains and practical reality.



  • U.S Dollar

    The U.S. dollar index was under pressure early as several global markets responded negatively to the Labor Department’s jobs report, which came in well below expectations. However, the greenback managed to gain back most of the losses as positive economic data balanced the overall discourse.

  • Japanese Yen

    The Dollar/Yen pair took a hit on Monday which culminated in a massive 500 point sell-off in the Nikkei 225, although rates trended positively by mid-week after the U.S. Producer Price Index reported 0.4-percent growth.

  • Euro

    The Euro currency experienced some volatility mid-week following slightly disappointing GDP data from Germany, although the DAX managed to leap to new record highs based on speculation towards German cyclical industries.

Winners & Losers

The winner for this week is Tesla Motors Inc., ticker symbol TSLA :  

  • Shares are up 16% for the week as Tesla CEO Elon Musk helped to calm investor fears following a recall action concerning 29,000 charging adapters for its 2013 Model S electric cars because of a potential fire hazard.
  • Delivery of the aforementioned Model S was much higher in the 4th quarter than previously estimated and the company plans to double its service and sales centers in 2014, which counterbalanced some of the negative press that has been affecting Tesla in recent weeks.

 The loser for this week is Nu Skin Enterprises, ticker symbol NUS :

  • Shares dropped nearly 27% on Thursday after the “People’s Daily” newspaper, the official paper of the Chinese communist party, accused the company of being a “suspected illegal pyramid scheme.”
  • Trading on Nu Skin shares were temporarily halted mid-day due to an alleged circuit break, according to a report from CNBC.
From a PR perspective, this is not the first time this accusation has been leveled at Nu Skin, which employs a multi-level marketing strategy, but it also has legal implications internationally, where direct selling comes under tighter restrictions than in the United States.