- Chinese foreign trade data were better than expected, cheering up Asian markets, which rallied after the release, as well as European stocks. China reported its exports rose by 2.3% in yuan-denominated terms in December from a year earlier while imports fell by 4%. Calculated in U.S. dollars, Chinese exports fell 1.4% from a year earlier, while imports fell by 7.6%, vs. expectations in a Reuters poll of analysts for exports to fall by 8% and imports to fall 11.5%.
- The price of oil increased for the first time in eight days following the better-than-expected Chinese trade data. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) rose $0.26 to $30.70 a barrel at 0108 ET. It fell $0.97 on Tuesday to close at $30.44 a barrel, after touching a low of $29.93 during the day, the lowest level since December 2003.
- Carmaker Ford (F) set a special dividend worth $1 billion, but its outlook for the year failed to impress analysts on Wall Street. The company expects a record 2015 pre-tax profit, excluding special items, in the "upper half" of its outlook for $10 billion to $11 billion, and at least as much for 2016. However, analysts on average were already forecasting profit of $11 billion for 2016.
- Regulators in California rejected Volkswagen's (VLKAY) recall plan for nearly 500,000 diesel-powered cars, ahead of a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reports. The paper said the decision is a setback but does not preclude a deal, as discussions with U.S. regulators continue.
- House price growth in Norway, which is feeling the pain of lower oil prices, halved to 0.6% in the final quarter of last year, the Financial Times reports. Last November, the supervisory authority had warned that house prices had risen to "unprecedented" levels and that there was a danger of a "sudden turnaround."
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Past performance during earnings are my method of choice for trading this stock.
When there is fear in a sector, there is often opportunity as well.
It is still a surprisingly sedate market, despite indexes sitting close to all-time highs, earnings season, possible interest-rate cuts and endless speculation about China trade.
From a technical standpoint some downside at this juncture may be what is needed to shake things up and create better trading conditions into earnings.