The average gallon of gasoline in the U.S. will cost less than $3 this weekend for the first time in nearly four years, with more than 60% of all U.S. stations selling gas for less than $3/gallon, according to AAA.
"We're going to continue going down, and by Thanksgiving I'm seeing $2.80 a gallon" before stabilizing into early 2015, oil analyst Andy Lipow tells CNBC, noting that gasoline futures are tumbling, which will be passed on to consumers over the next few weeks.
Lipow remains wary of a potential market surprise if Saudi Arabia decides to cut production, "since the market thinks that OPEC is going to do nothing."
"October 1 was an academic exercise," says a pension-law expert. "[Thursday] was a reality check." The lawyer is referring to a bankruptcy judge yesterday approving Stockton, CA's reorganization plan which leaves untouched its pension obligations. On Oct. 1 that same judge had ruled Stockton could cut its payments to Calpers as it emerged from bankruptcy.
Ultimately, city managers - already faced with a hard time retaining municipal workers - decided slashing pension benefits would force an even quicker rush to the exits.
Losers when the ruling was issued, government pension plans and organized government labor groups are pleased, but advocates for pension reform say the reorganization plan is a mistake as it allows the city to exit bankruptcy without dealing with the pension obligations which helped put it there in the first place.
San Francisco Fed President John Williams outlines that while inflation targeting helped central banks keep prices low and stable during the financial crisis, the policy still faces "critical challenges" with interest rates near zero.
Central banks that have already cut rates near zero can’t lower them any further if they still face too-low inflation, says Williams, "This has been an ongoing problem."
The comments come just two days after the U.S. central bank ended its controversial QE and upgraded its assessment of the labor market.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.98% from the prior week's average of 3.92%, which had been the lowest reading in more than 16 months, according to Freddie Mac's latest weekly survey.
The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.13% on average from 3.08% in the prior week.
A year ago, the 30-year fixed rate was at 4.10%, and the 15-year fixed averaged 3.20%.
While the statement - an end to QE, retention of the "considerable time" language, chatter about improving employment -wasn't much a surprise, the fact that the dissent came from the dove camp suggests perhaps there was a bit more hawkishness in the conference room than past meetings.
In any case, while stocks and longer-dated rates have a relatively subdued reaction, money is moving into the greenback (UUP +0.7%), with the euro (FXE -0.7%), yen (FXY -0.7%), pound (FXB -0.2%), Swiss franc (FXF -0.6%), loonie (FXC -0.4%), and aussie (FXA -0.6%) all considerably lower than they were 30 minutes ago.
The S&P 500 (SPY -0.4%), Nasdaq 100 (QQQ -0.7%), and DJIA (DIA -0.3%) are a tiny bit lower now than they were ahead of the FOMC statement.
The 10-year Treasury yield, up three basis points ahead of the statement, is now up five bps to 2.35%. TLT -0.3%. Gold (GLD -1%) takes the biggest hit, falling about $10 per ounce since the statement, now off 1% on the session at $1,217.
As expected, the FOMC has tapered the final $15B of monthly asset purchases, but leaves in a statement expecting ZIRP to remain in place for a "considerable time."
However, if new inflation and employment data indicates faster-than-expected progress, rate hikes are likely to occur sooner than currently anticipated.
There's one dissent, and it comes from the dovish side - Minneapolis' Kocherlakota says the FOMC should commit to keeping the current Fed Funds rate target range in place until at least the one-to-two year inflation outlook has returned to 2%. He also believes QE should remain at the current $15B per month level.
The share of occupied homes in which homeowners live fell nearly a full percentage point over the last year to 64.4%, says the Census Bureau, the smallest ratio since 1994. Alongside that number, naturally, the share of rentals that are vacant fell to its lowest since the mid-90s.
The story is a familiar one: Tight lending conditions and an anemic recovery coming alongside rising prices for entry level homes as institutional investors gobble up the available supply.
BP (BP +2.1%) pushes steadily higher after reporting better than expected Q3 earnings and raising its dividend despite the challenging operating environment.
CFO Brian Gilvary says BP is in "a very good position to certainly withstand a sustained period of low oil prices in the range of $80-$85, [which] offers more opportunities for us than threats... On that basis, we will look at how we deploy the cash we have available to us in terms of investments, in terms of buybacks, in terms of progressive dividends."
BP says its organic capex for FY 2014 would finish as much as $2B lower than the previous forecast for $24B-$25B.
The comments were similar to those made last week by Occidental Petroleum CEO Steve Chazen, who said he was comfortable with lower prices and that OXY would still make double-digit returns even if prices dipped to $75/bbl.