Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

What Happened While Wall Street Was Closed: 3M Co (MMM) and More

U.S. stock markets are closed to observe Presidents Day, but the rest of the world isn’t on vacation. European stocks fell on worries that Italian elections would lead to an unclear winner, as Italy attempts to rein in debt that may eventually doom the euro. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 can react violently higher or lower when the euro is threatened, so the Feb. 24-25 election will be closely watched here in the United States.

Another factor driving Europe’s stocks lower is the decline in the yen today. The G-20 didn’t punish Japan for devaluing its yen, so the currency continues to fall, making other countries less competitive. Japan is doing this because its economy is struggling versus lower-cost nations in Asia. A weaker currency means your goods appear cheaper in other countries, making you more competitive.

3M Co (NYSE:MMM)The impact of currency fluctuations to U.S. stocks isn’t trivial. E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (NYSE:DD)‘s stock was crushed in October after third-quarter sales fell 10%. But 4% of that drop was due to currency fluctuations, so currency made matters look worse than they actually were. 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) was hit a few days later, after sales fell 0.4% in the third quarter. But a closer look shows 2.2% growth if we take out the effect of currency changes. Ironically, a weak dollar is good for U.S. companies and U.S. stocks, which is the opposite of what we’re seeing lately.

Also making news today is oil. West Texas Intermediate oil fell for the second straight day, and Saudi Arabia’s crude oil shipments hit a 15-month low in December. The slight decline in oil is a little reprieve for consumers who have been dealing with higher costs at the pump. Gas prices have risen for 32 straight days, and we haven’t even gotten close to the summer travel season. With higher payroll taxes hitting the middle class and now higher oil prices, there will be pressure on consumer spending, which is still the biggest driver of the economy.

The article What Happened While Wall Street Was Closed originally appeared on and is written by Travis Hoium.

Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3M.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Biotech Stock Alert - 20% Guaranteed Return in One Year

Hedge Funds and Insiders Are Piling Into

One of 2015's best hedge funds and two insiders snapped up shares of this medical device stock recently. We believe its transformative and disruptive device will storm the $3+ billion market and help it achieve 500%-1000% gains in 3 years.

Get your FREE REPORT and the details of our 20% return guarantee today.

Subscribe me to Insider Monkey's Free Daily Newsletter
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.
Loading Comments...

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 102% in 3 years!! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!