Maybe you should try these eight tips to win your holiday office party -- because all Wall Street's been doing recently is losing. The Dow (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) fell 104 points Thursday for its third straight drop as investors keep worrying that the Federal Reserve will slow its stimulus policies.
It doesn't take a graphic viral video to get the Hilton name back in the news again. Hilton, which operates 4,000 hotels worldwide, raised $2.3 billion through the biggest-ever hotel initial public offering, selling its shares on the New York Stock Exchange's open market Thursday under the ticker "HLT." Shares of Hilton (NYSE: HLT ) stock popped 9% in their trading debut (enough to make Nicole Richie jealous).
The takeaway is that this isn't Hilton's first stay in the public markets -- the company founded in 1919 was traded publicly until private equity firm Blackstone used U.S.$26.7 billion in debt to buy Hilton and take it private in 2007. The recession of the early 2000s hurt the hotel and travel industries hard, but the post-2008 financial recovery has helped room rates and occupancy levels rise, and now Hilton's looking for an upgrade.
The takeaway is that 2013 just hasn't been a good look for Lululemon. First, its see-through yoga pants debacle last spring cost the company $60 million. And as you read in MarketSnacks earlier this week, founder Chip Wilson is exiting as chairman after claiming Lulu pants just don't work on "some women's bodies." The company announced that the CEO of Tom's Shoes is taking over in January, but Wall Street just hasn't liked Lulu's style lately.
3. The House passes bipartisan budget deal
So what's in the plan? To quote our college lacrosse coach, the "meat and potatoes" of the compromise is that Congress avoids another awkward government shutdown for at least two years. For Democrats, the bill increased Congress' spending power by $62 billion over the next two years to slow the impact of recent government cuts, and for Republicans, Guantanamo stays open and the Pentagon gets some serious cash.
So why does Wall Street care? Because investors like stimulus policies as much as Popeye likes an all-you-can-eat bar mitzvah spinach buffet. Since the '08 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has been using stimulus measures to keep interest rates low to encourage borrowing, boosting the economy. Although a budget resolution is good for the economy, too, Wall Street worries that it also might mean a quicker end to the Fed's oh-so-kind stimulus support.