The Federal Reserve's decision to ratchet down its massive bond-buying program was a "modest but positive step," a top Fed official said on Friday, but continued super-easy monetary policies pose risks both at home and abroad. "I remain concerned that continuation of these policies could have significant long-term costs," Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George said at a Basel Committee/Financial Stability Institute high-level meeting in Cape Town, South Africa.
Following poor results from Amazon, Inc and worrying news from emerging markets, markets around the world are tumbling again, ending January lower. Max Wolff, Chief Economist and Strategist at ZT WEALTH had this to say about amazon's recent results: Ahead of the opening bell, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.71% at 15,621. Futures on the S&P 500, which has declined nearly 3% this year, fell 0.68% to 1,769.10 and Nasdaq futures declined by 0.39% to 3,488.25.
Labor costs rose in the fourth quarter, with the biggest jump in wages and salaries since 2009, but there was still little sign of wage inflation amid slack in the jobs market. The Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labor costs, increased 0.5 percent after rising 0.4 percent in the third quarter, the Labor Department said on Friday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected labor costs to increase 0.4 percent. During periods of strong economic growth, the U.S. central bank closely monitors the index for signs of wage inflation.
Chevron Corporation, the second-largest U.S. oil company, said on Friday its fourth-quarter profit dropped 32 percent as refining margins and production fell around the world. The company posted net income of $4.93 billion, or $2.57 per share, compared with $7.25 billion, or $3.70 per share, in the year-ago period. Oil and natural gas production fell 3.4 percent to 2.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter.