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Weaker Dollar Boosts Commodities, Lifts Equities

04 Feb. 2016

Global equity markets rose on Thursday as diminished expectations of U.S. interest rate hikes this year pushed the dollar lower, which in turned boosted the prices of commodities. The dollar fell for a fourth day on the latest batch of soft U.S. data, while comments from a U.S. Federal Reserve policymaker on Wednesday were viewed as a sign further rate hikes could be delayed.

Those comments were buttressed on Thursday by Robert Kaplan, the new head of the Dallas Fed, who said the central bank should be "patient" on rate increases. The recent weakness in the greenback has provided investors the incentive to take profits in successful trades against commodities and emerging markets, which had suffered after a run higher by the dollar.

Read full article from Reuters



Biggest Part of Economy Growing at Slowest Pace

03 Feb. 2016

Companies in the U.S. service sector such as retail, banking and health care grew in January at the slowest pace in almost two years, adding to a drumbeat of data suggesting the economy has softened

The Institute for Supply Management said its nonmanufacturing index fell to 53.5% from 55.8% in December. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 55.2% reading.

Any number over 50% indicates more businesses are expanding instead of contracting, but the ISM service index has dropped three straight months and is at the lowest level since February 2014.

Read full article in MarketWatch


Wall St. Sinks Along With Oil Prices 

Feb. 2, 2016

U.S. markets were lower on Tuesday as falling oil prices continued to weigh on global stock trading. Near midday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.64%, and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index declined 1.64%. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 1.62%. 

It is a busy week on the economic data front, particularly in the U.S., where the week will end with monthly payroll figures on Friday. So far, the numbers have not impressed. Yesterday, the Institute for Supply Management said its gauge of factory activity pointed to a contraction, while China’s official survey found that manufacturing had fallen to its lowest level in more than three years. 

Read full article from The New York Times


OPEC's Devastating Miscalculation That's Crushing the Oil Market

27 Jan. 2016

As more eyes focus on the cause of the plunge in the price of oil, Saudi Arabia and OPEC are trying to change the narrative, giving the appearance they are not the cause of the problem, even though it decided to let the oil flow to attempt to crush the shale industry.

The cartel made some major miscalculations concerning the state of the overall oil sector, as well as the ability of many shale companies to endure its competitive assault. That has left OPEC in a difficult situation because it has brought to light the fact it is not as powerful as it used to be, and is no longer a united entity.

Read full article from Seeking Alpha



Fed Likely to Keep Rate-Hike Options Open

26 Jan. 2016

Volatile stock and oil markets have some investment strategists looking for the Federal Reserve to step in with a balm Wednesday by signaling more modest rate hikes this year than it had previously planned.

But economists say the Fed is likely to acknowledge the recent global and market turbulence without indicating a change in course, especially with the U.S. labor market continuing to turn in blockbuster job growth.

Read full article from USA Today