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Weekly eNews: December 11, 2017

Financial Market Update

Welcome to the StrategicPoint Financial Market Update — a market and economic overview of what occurred last week and what’s up for this week. Please find our market commentary and most recent Blog posts in our StrategicPoint of View®.

Last Week

Last week proved to be a mixed bag of market returns as the large caps of the Dow and S&P 500 posted moderate gains, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq and small caps of the Russell 2000 closed the week down. A stronger than expected jobs report may have helped push the Dow and S&P 500 to positive territory by last Friday. Global stocks climbed on news of an agreement between the UK and the European Union, which will allow negotiations on other issues, such as a trade agreement, to move forward.

The price of crude oil (WTI) fell to $57.34 per barrel last Friday, down from the prior week’s closing price of $58.34 per barrel. The price of gold (COMEX) fell to $1,250.50 by early Friday evening, down from the prior week’s price of $1,283.00. The national average retail regular gasoline price decreased to $2.500 per gallon on December 4, 2017, $0.033 lower than the prior week’s price but $0.292 more than a year ago.

S&P 500: 2651 (up 0.35% for the week and up 18.43% for the year)
NASDAQ: 6840 (down 0.11% for the week and up 27.07% for the year)
Dow: 24329 (up 0.40% for the week and up 23.11% for the year)
US Treasury 10yr: 2.37% (from 2.36% last week)
Crude Oil (January): $57.36 (from $58.95 last week)
Gold (February): $1,248.40 (from $1,291.80 last week)
USD/Euro: $1.1774 (from $1.1932 last week)

Last Week’s Headlines

  • November provided another strong month for new job hires, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment increased by 228,000 last month. Employment growth has averaged 174,000 per month thus far this year. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care. The unemployment rate remained at 1.4%, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 6.6 million. The average workweek for all employees increased by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in November. The average hourly earnings for all employees rose by $0.05 to $26.55. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by $0.64, or 2.5%.
  • According to the Census Bureau, the international trade deficit increased $3.8 billion to $48.7 billion in October over September. The October increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $3.8 billion to $69.1 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of less than $0.1 billion to $20.3 billion. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $49.1 billion, or 11.9%, from the same period in 2016.
  • The non-manufacturing (services) sector accelerated in November, but at a slower pace than in October. According to the Institute for Supply Management, the pace of growth slowed in business activity, new orders, employment, and prices.
  • In the week ended December 2, the advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 236,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s level. The advance insured unemployment rate remained at 1.4%. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended November 25 was 1,908,000, a decrease of 52,000 from the previous week’s level, which was revised up 3,000.

This Week

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee formally meets for the final time in 2017 under chairperson Janet Yellen. Some observers predict the FOMC will raise the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.25%-1.50%. The target range hasn’t reached 1.50% since the end of October 2008.

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*Past performance is not indicative of future results. Indices are unmanaged and you cannot directly invest in them. The Nasdaq Composite Index measures all NASDAQ U.S. and non-U.S. based common stocks listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The S&P 500 index is based on the average performance of 500 industrial stocks monitored by Standard and Poor’s. The data referred to above was taken from sources believed to be reliable. StrategicPoint Investment Advisors has not verified such data and no representation or warranty, expressed or implied, is made by StrategicPoint Investment Advisors.

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.

The information contained in this report is not intended as investment, tax or legal advice. StrategicPoint Investment Advisors assumes no responsibility for any action or inaction resulting from the contents herein.

Parts of this report were prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2017. Part of this content contributed by Forefield, Inc.