4 market stories to watch for the rest of the year

Any twists in these dramas could impact stocks and bonds. Keep your eye on them.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 2, 2014 1:38PM
A member from the oil police force stands guard at Zubair oilfield in Basra, southeast of Baghdad
© Essam Al-Sudani/ReutersBy Marek Fuchs, MarketWatch

Here's hoping you sounded every last chime of the summer, because Tuesday marks the first day of the rest of the year.

Summer, after all, is a dainty season of linen and little news, but as of Tuesday, you better roust yourself from that slumber. 

The record-setting Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) has risen nearly 3 percent since Memorial Day -- about half the year’s gains -- but the universe does not hold still forever.

Now it's back to reality. That's why September is, historically, such a God-awful month for stocks. Reality tends to bite. Before you get back to toting barges and lifting bales, though, take a moment. You need a sight line from which you can see -- or, at least, attempt to see -- the news stories that will define the rest of the year.

After all, nothing jumps a Wall Street nerve like a surprise. So, even with the recent gross domestic product numbers returning color to traders' cheeks, don’t allow yourself to fall victim to surprise. Between now and when the clock strikes that 12th hour on New Year's Eve, stay vigilant for certain stories. Remember, too, that it is twists in news stories -- those unforeseen turns -- that most impact stocks and bonds.

So here are the news stories we will see between now and New Year's, all in honor of our dearly, departed summer, served with a twist:

Story: Oil's happy tale turns sad

Oil prices have been a happy story during our lazy river of a summer, with prices plummeting as United States refinery production reached all-time highs. From late July to late August alone, prices at the pump dropped a dime. Put that in your Prius and smoke it.

The media, never one for a similar level of understatement, has in response run headlines like this one from The New York Times: "A New American Oil Bonanza."

The problem? The media have been almost willfully naïve about the prospect of the ISIS terrorist offensive overrunning Iraq's super-productive southern oil fields. We might be hearing a thing or two about that coming up. 

The twist: Libya. Once everyone's focus turns to those southern Iraqi oil fields, Libyan oil ports, recently revived, may fall victim to the gathering violence of insurgents there.

Story: President Obama officially becomes a lame duck

Wall Street hates Obama. In fact, the only thing Wall Street will hate more than Obama is . . . Obama becoming a lame duck. 

He is on his way. The fact that, as so many corners of the world were imploding, Obama, looking disinterested, said "we don't have a strategy yet" will prove his Katrina moment, the precise second when most Americans turned away for good.

By most measures, stocks perform equally well under Democrats and Republicans, but rudderlessness (and we're headed toward it) does not play well. 

The twist: Hillary Clinton, the early favorite for 2016, will falter -- at least for a time -- causing a bad situation to get worse. As secretary of state in the period of time leading up to this worldwide implosion, she has some 'splainin to do. If the recent need to "hug it out" with Obama on Martha's Vineyard is any indication, it won't be pretty. Again: In terms of political party, the stock market is agnostic. But uncertainty is always the stock market's unseen enemy.

Story: Cold war chic

Until recently, the revisited threat from Russia has not really been noted, at least to the degree it exists. There has been a surreal quality with comic undertones to Vladimir Putin cheering at the Judo World Cup in Siberia, riding shirtless on horseback or cracking down on Pussy Riot. 

Russia -- like rambling, crazed, searing Russian novels -- is a piece of work and hard to figure out at first. Soon, though, the reality is going to set in: Russia is serious trouble. 

The twist: China. With focus on the Middle East and Russia, China will make mischief. Geopolitical history is filled with powerful countries taking advantage of a distracted world. China could take the opportunity to meddle even more in Hong Kong or forge a mischievous alignment with Russia. Not good.

Story: The Google/Amazon spat will define big technology

Once the two started fighting about who will be the first to deliver by drone, you knew the fight would get ugly. 

The twist: This is not a fight of equals. Amazon (AMZN) will lose. Google (GOOG) is playing Amazon's game, and no one has ever fought them on an even plane before, even trying to beat them to the attention-grabbing punch. 

Amazon's competition has always come piecemeal, partly from bookstores and partly from Best Buy (BBY). Going up against a big boy for the first time, the results could be ugly. Look for traders to hold Amazon's feet to the fire for the first time since pretty much forever. Two decades might be the market's limit for pixie dust.

Tuesday drops the beat on the rest of the year. Just do yourself a favor this fall and don't let any of these surprise news stories drop on your head.

More from MarketWatch

Sep 3, 2014 8:19AM
An amusing quote from VL, (Veteran Lunatic) "I haven't bought a stock in a long time after it hit my target price of BROKE"...more proof that he is just a bitter, failed investor that got nervous, sold at the wrong time and lost his shirt & shoes!  Now he spends all day, everyday complaining about those who are smart enough to invest intelligently and successfully.  Don’t waste too much of your time trying to debate with this mental defect, he’ll remain lost regardless of what you write back to him.  VL's tones of resentment towards successful investors that were smart enough to make their money work for them, rather than working way too hard for their money...always makes me laugh.  He seems to hate successful investors, yet he spends his life posting bitterness and resentment all over MSN investment articles…the ones meant for actual investors!  Your bitterness and jealously are all too obvious VL. 
Sep 3, 2014 8:12AM
Oh VL, (Veteran Lunatic) we should really just take some pity on you.  Your daily calls for market Armageddon and system wide economic crashes sound too much like chicken little on a broken record.  Your abundance of free time for posting doom and gloom reek of a plethora of poor personal decisions that have already proven you to be wrong time and time again on these message boards.  It’s also reflective of you being a rather failed and chronically unsuccessful investor yourself.  I'm willing to bet that you've lost more money throughout all these years fearing a market crash than you've ever lost in an actual crash. Too bad you've never learned to profit from the very predictable and cyclical greed of others.  Patient long-term investors are not the ones who get burned, it's the short-term gamblers that do.  It seems that you don't understand the definition of the repetitive terms that you continuously toss around.  The thing that doesn't seem to function anymore is YOU as a productive member of society...that's why you've got endless free time to post responses to every MSN article I've stumbled across over the years.  Making over 13.7k posts and repeating the terms “fiat”, "fake money", “kool aid” and “game tokens” endlessly doesn't reflect any significant insight, but it does paint a sad picture of you having no life whatsoever outside of these message boards.  Even a broken clock is right 2x per day V_L, when are you ever going to be?
Sep 3, 2014 6:09PM
When 6 out of 8 total comments on an article are JUST spam postings from V_L...MSN moderators should be able to see they have a serious issue on their hands!
Sep 7, 2014 8:14PM
"... 6 out of 8 total comments on the article are just SPAM postings..."

SPAM refers to rogue advertisements, often repetitive, that undermine the structure set forth by those who provide the forum and violate the trust paying ad providers pay for the privilege. I never SPAM.
My messages are LOUDER and CLEARER these days... we need shills and shysters broken and our nation freed from financial tyranny and suppression. The world is angry with us. You are worthless as Americans and unlikely to have a backbone. You need to be destitute on a street corner, because the ones currently on the street corners could and would stand tall for America... no matter what.
Sep 7, 2014 11:19PM

Alibaba and the 40 THIEVES.

So just because it's a Chinese company doesn't mean you'll be taken to the cleaners, does it?

I'm in the camp that trusts a communist country over a free one. China is more transparent about business matters right? They have something like the SEC, it's called the PUPU, and they execute business executives guilty of fraud. I'm still waiting for an arrest in the MBS that sunk our economy, but the Chinese know how to play fair.


Sep 3, 2014 11:57AM
When do the GOP admit defeat and restore normalcy to enterprise? Controlling business platforms that are fully dysfunctional to the American Society and are pissing off the whole world is not good for the nation. It's a massive Homeland Security risk. We should invade GOP HQ, not other nations.
Sep 3, 2014 7:42AM
Buy- cash flow- stupid people. We should be experiencing a boom in free enterprise start-ups, not idiots gambling in rigged markets that are totally dysfunctional to our society.
Sep 3, 2014 12:02PM

"Sept 3-  Inc expanded its deal with to sell the beverage company's  pods in its Keurig hot brewing machines in North America.

It will be the first  product to be made available in Keurig's hot brewing system, and follows the purchase by Coca-Cola of a stake in the company in February."


The little plastic container is made from an oil derivative and clogging up landfills. You can't steep a bio-degradable bag in a cup, America? Keurig is a pollution generator and YOU are investing in it, idiots. 

Sep 7, 2014 3:45PM
No ordinary American is going to watch any stock. Real Americans are into basic survival, not some rigged gambling casino. 
Shut it down, burn it to the ground, feed it to the hounds, what goes around comes around and you get to pay the interest on it, not me. 
Sep 3, 2014 12:00PM

"WASHINGTON- New orders for U.S. factory goods jumped in July and automobile sales in August were unexpectedly strong, offering further signs of strength in the manufacturing sector.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday new orders for manufactured goods increased a record 10.5 percent on robust demand for transportation equipment. June's orders were revised to show a 1.5 percent increase instead of the previously reported 1.1 percent rise."


Outside of guns, gold and ammo purchased with fixed income and fake market money... WHAT did a fully destitute America buy to warrant manufacturing increases? We don't make what we need or use in America any longer. It's all imported. 

Sep 3, 2014 7:40AM
The only thing going on is artificial manipulation. If you are stupid enough to be in the rigged organized financial markets and thinking you are gaining wealth- remember that fake money is unsubstantiated. You have game tokens. The correction is inevitable and your "wealth" evaporates because it is based on nothing.
Sep 3, 2014 11:55AM
I'd be reading up on what Bill Gross has to say. He's a lot more accurate in his assessment than stock pumpers. There is NO economy and NO prosperity generating as a result of QE. Recall it and kill those not willing to surrender all they stole through shill investing. 
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

123 rated 1
262 rated 2
480 rated 3
651 rated 4
649 rated 5
629 rated 6
616 rated 7
496 rated 8
346 rated 9
111 rated 10

Top Picks

TAT&T Inc9



Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.