The 2 Most Important Events for Stocks This Week

Wondering what's going to roil stocks this week? These two events are a good place to start.

Jun 1, 2014 at 3:00PM

There are a number of factors that influence stocks each week, but the first few days of a new month are particularly important given two critical reports about auto sales and unemployment.

Early in the week, stocks are likely to be influenced by news out of the nation's largest car and truck manufacturers, as they begin rolling out sales figures for the month of May.

The big question is whether they'll be able to continue their momentum from last month. In April, General Motors (NYSE:GM) reported a nearly 7% increase in vehicle sales despite the still-tepid economy. And Fiat Chrysler notched a 14% gain thanks to a strong performance from its Jeep branded sport-utility vehicles and Ram pickup trucks.

The one carmaker left in the dust in April was Ford (NYSE:F). Sales at the company fell, albeit by less than 1%, over the month. As my colleague Daniel Miller discussed at the time, the drop was the result of a dismal performance by Ford's Lincoln brand and lackluster demand for the American automaker's car segment.

With GDP statistics recently suggesting the economy contracted in the first-quarter of the year, analysts and investors will be watching the updated figures from the month of May closely.

The second big report this week, due out on Friday, concerns the government's official estimate of unemployment. While the unemployment rate has dropped considerably since the peak of the Great Recession, it's since gained additional momentum.

In April, employers added jobs at one of the fastest rates during the recovery. Nonfarm payrolls, the principal metric used by economists to gauge the health of the labor market, expanded by 288,000 during the month. Additionally, the unemployment rate dropped to 6.3%, or the lowest level in six years.

Of course, this metric alone arguably overstates the health of the American worker, as large swaths of otherwise employable workers have stopped looking for work and thereby dropped out of the labor force (and thus the denominator of the unemployment rate). Additionally, the length of unemployment remains at a historic high.

Given this, analysts and investors will be watching the official report closely for signs that last month's momentum was part of a larger trend and not merely an outlier.

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John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors and owns shares of Ford. 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.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.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.

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