Following a week of tepid movement in the major stock market indexes, equities picked up the pace last week, reaching new record highs. Growth in financial company and bank stocks led the way as both the large-cap Dow and S&P 500 rose over 3.0%. Some analysts suggest that financial stocks could climb further next week if the Fed raises interest rates as anticipated. The small-cap Russell 2000 surged once again last week, jumping almost 6.0% over its prior week’s value. As money pours into equities, long-term bond prices continue to fall. The yield on 10-year Treasuries climbed 8.0 basis points, marking the third consecutive week of rising yields.
The price of crude oil (WTI) maintained its value, closing last week at $51.48 per barrel, down just $0.48 from the prior week’s closing price of $51.96 per barrel. Gold (COMEX) remained volatile as its price fell again last week, closing at $1,161.40 by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week’s price of $1,179.20. The national average retail regular gasoline price increased to $2.208 per gallon on December 5, 2016, $0.054 more than the prior week’s price and $0.155 higher than a year ago.
Last Week’s Headlines
The November 2016 Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® revealed that economic activity in the services sector expanded in November. The Non-Manufacturing Index came in at 57.2% compared to October’s 54.8%. This is the highest reading since the 58.3% NMI® in October 2015. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased to 61.7%, 4.0 percentage points higher than the October reading. The Employment Index increased 5.1 percentage points in November to 58.2%. However, the New Orders Index and the Prices Index fell in November by 0.7 percentage point and 0.3 percentage point, respectively. Some of the non-manufacturing industries included in this survey are Agriculture, Mining, Utilities, Construction, Retail Trade, Transportation & Warehousing, Finance & Insurance, Entertainment & Recreation, Accommodation & Food Services, and Real Estate.
While it’s a bit dated, the Bureau of Economic Analysis October report on international trade in goods and services was released last week. According to the report, the goods and services deficit widened by over 17% in October over the prior month. The trade deficit was $42.6 billion in October, up $6.4 billion from $36.2 billion in September, revised. October exports were $186.4 billion, $3.4 billion less than September exports. October imports were $229.0 billion, $3.0 billion more than September imports. Year-over-year, the goods and services deficit has decreased $8.8 billion, or 2.1%, from the same period in 2015. Exports decreased $58.7 billion, or 3.1%. Imports decreased $67.5 billion, or 2.9%.
According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings fell about 1.7% in October from September. There were 5.534 million job openings in October compared to an upwardly revised 5.631 million job openings in September. Job openings increased in health care and social assistance, but decreased in professional and business services, federal government, and mining and logging. The number of hires and separations also dropped in October. There were 5.099 million hires in October, down about 22,000 from September’s hires. Total separations in October were 4.875 million — a decrease of about 61,000 compared to September. Year-over-year job openings are up 2.1%, while hires are down 2.2%.
The preliminary results from the University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers show the Index of Consumer Sentiment up 6.2 percentage points from November. According to the report, the surge is due to consumers’ initial reactions to the results of the presidential election. Consumers were more upbeat about the economy as the Current Economic Conditions Index rose almost 5.0 percentage points, while the Index of Consumer Expectations climbed from 85.2% in November to 88.9%.
In the week ended December 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment insurance claims was 258,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate fell to 1.4%. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ended November 26 was 2,005,000, a decrease of 79,000 from the previous week’s revised level.
Eye on the Week Ahead
The Federal Open Market Committee meets next week and it is expected to raise the federal funds rate for the first time since last December. Reports available next week are from three indicators of inflationary trends — the Producer Price Index, retail sales, and the Consumer Price Index.
Data sources: News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. Market data: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.
This information was developed by Broadridge, an independent third party. It is general in nature, is not a complete statement of all information necessary for making an investment decision, and is not a recommendation or a solicitation to buy or sell any security. Investments and strategies mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Raymond James & Associates, Inc. member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC does not provide advice on tax, legal or mortgage issues. These matters should be discussed with an appropriate professional.
Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2016.