- Chart of the Week: 2014 New Year's Eve resolutions by the numbers
- Video of the Week: CNN Money's 10 stocks worth betting on in 2014
- Harvard Business Review: 22 research reports to help you achieve your 2014 goals
- Inc. 2 interview questions that separate "doers" from "poseurs"
- Quartz: 8 charts that show what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke thinks of the 2013 economy
- Fast Company: An algorithm that tells you if you're a hipster (don't deny it)
- Open Culture: Isaac Asimov's predictions about 2014 from 1964
- The Atlantic: A brief history of the "Mile High Club"
We don't know yet how it was for wines, but 2013 was a good year for stocks -- the Dow rose 26% and the S&P 500 jumped 30% to record highs for the market's best year since '95, thanks to continued Fed stimulus policies, improving econ data, and solid corporate earnings. Then, after ending the year with a win, stocks started the New Year with a loss for the first time since 2008 -- Friday's comments from Bernanke that the Fed was still cautious about the economy didn't help.
2. Some stocks got love ...
Disney (NYSE:DIS) popped to an all-time high before the ball dropped as analysts upgraded their stock forecasts in 2014 -- big holiday movies, record theme park attendance, and the upcoming Disney Land in Shanghai sound fun. Unattractive "shoe"-maker Crocs got a $200 million investment from private equity powerhouse Blackstone so they can start making clothes and officewear that people will actually put on. Groupon jumped on word that fellow daily deal site LivingSocial is selling its $13.8 million stake in the company ('cause it's a good deal).
Rental-car company Hertz (NYSE:HTZ) is getting a massive investment from serial investor Carl Icahn, which is great for the stock, even though the board doesn't know how to handle it. And struggling Canadian first-generation smartphone maker BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) announced that it's dropping singer/songwriter Alicia Keys as its creative director after a year because (shocker) the partnership didn't really make any sense.
4. Car sales weren't in top gear
U.S. car sales have been roaring like the convertible poster you had in your college dorm room, for the best annual performance in six years. According to a Friday report, December's sales rose again, but less than analysts expected. Like slower retail sales, you can blame it on the calendar -- a late Thanksgiving lost Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors a week of annoyingly generic holiday-themed ads, and subsequent car sales. For 2013, car sales rose 8%, but for December it was a paltry 3% gain. For the 32nd straight year, the Ford F-150 topped U.S. auto sales, with more than 700,000.
5. Econ data rocketed into 2014
Apparently America's Christmas gift this year was a stocking full of jolly econ data. Pending home sales nudged up in November by 0.2%, and home prices rose 13.6% from the previous year to reach a seven-year high. Consumer confidence rose in December for its best year-end reading since '07. And manufacturing activity in the U.S. increased last month at its fastest pace since 2011.
What MarketSnacks Is Checking Out This Week:
- Monday: Factory orders
- Tuesday: International trade report
- Wednesday: Minutes from the Fed's last meeting
- Thursday: Weekly jobless claims
- Friday: The big December 2013 employment report
Fool contributors Jack Kramer and Nick Martell have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and Walt Disney and owns shares of Ford, Hertz Global Holdings, and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.