Asian stocks slid on Monday and the dollar stepped back from its recent highs as disappointing Chinese trade data and uncertainty over the crisis in Ukraine kept risk appetite in check. Investors greeted the new week in Asia on a cautious note after data issued on Saturday showed China's exports unexpectedly tumbled in February, swinging the trade balance into deficit and adding to fears of a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. The soft Chinese data put a damper on risk sentiment, which had been temporarily boosted by stronger-than-expected U.S. nonfarm payrolls out on Friday showing employers had added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, up from 129,000 new positions in January. "While non-farm payrolls surprised significantly to the upside on Friday, disappointing China data, escalating Russia/Ukraine concerns and the missing Malaysian aircraft have all contributed to a somber mood," IG market strategist Stan Shamu wrote in a note to clients.
Hedge fund manager William Ackman, who is betting $1.16 billion that Herbalife is a fraud, spent $264,000 last year on lobbyists to press his case against the company, according to government documents filed in recent weeks. That amount is dwarfed by the nearly $2 million Herbalife spent in 2013 on federal lobbying as the nutrition and weight loss company fought the billionaire investor's claims it runs a pyramid scheme. In October Ibarra Strategy Group began working for Pershing Square and earned $30,000 for the year, the filingshows. The group, founded by Mickey Ibarra, a former Director of Intergovernmental Affairs under President Bill Clinton, specializes in Latino outreach.
Five years ago, the United States was in the midst of its worst recession in seven decades, and stocks were feeling it. On this day in 2009, the S&P 500 hit its nadir, closing at 676.53. That low marked a climax of a 16-month selloff that took more than half the S&P 500's value. Naturally, some investors are questioning whether the bull run is nearing an end.