Havoc in Switzerland, in Canadian Target stores and in shale oil in the US

 Weekly Statistics:

Today Week Ago Year Ago
16-Jan-15 09-Jan-15 17-Jan-14
S&P TSX  14,309.41  14,384.92  13,888.21
S&P 500  2,019.00  2,045.00  1,838.70
DJIA  17,512.37  17,737.37  16,458.56
OIL  $48.33  $48.19  $86.87
USD vs CAD 0.8341 0.8429 0.9149

Gold

 1,280.10  1,216.10

 1,255.90

The major highlights of stock markets this week was a policy U-turn by the Swiss National Bank (SNB). The SNB had introduced a cap of 1.20 Franc per Euro in 2011 to fend off deflation and recession. Only a few days ago, SNB officials made a point that maintaining the cap is their policy cornerstone. This U-turn sent the Franc up nearly 30 percent higher and the Swiss stock markets down to around 10% in the early chaotic trading, the biggest intra-day loss in last 25 years. With more than 40% of Swiss exports going into Euro zone, many Swiss manufacturers warned of plunging losses. In order to discourage new flows into Swiss Franc, the SNB pushed down its interest rates on some cash deposits held at the central bank by commercial banks and financial institutions. The rates were already cut into negative territory last month, first time since 1970s, and now they were further cut by 0.5% to -0.75%. Rumors are rife that because ECB will soon start a huge bond buying program and SNB would not be able to maintain the floor anyhow, therefore SNB disbanded the floor.

In other shocking news, Target Corp has decided to shut down its Canadian operations. They will close their 130 stores, throwing 17, 600 people out of work. The company had around 15 million square feet of retail space and 5 million square feet of office and industrial space across Canada. According to real estate gurus, this decision will definitely put pressure on commercial real estate prices, if not on residential real estate.

Shale oil production in the US is coming under pressure. The US drillers have shut more than 200 oil rigs in the past six weeks as crude prices are headed for their longest losing streak since 1986.  According to Baker Hughes, the oil rig count declined by 55 to 1366 this week and down 209 from 1575 December 5, 2014. It looks like OPEC countries are finally winning this war for market share against the US shale oil producers.

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