Market Week: August 11, 2014

The Markets

Investor indecision about the future of equities prices, coupled with light summer trading volumes, led to volatility across the board last week. Friday’s 186-point rally gave the Dow some relief after two down weeks, though not enough to nudge the index into positive territory for the year. The small caps of the Russell 2000 had their strongest week since early July, though they also remained down year-to-date. Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions increased demand for the relative security of the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond, sending its yield down. However, riskier high-yield bonds saw some selling pressure.

Market/Index 2013 Close Prior Week As of 8/8 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 16576.66 16493.37 16553.93 .37% -.14%
Nasdaq 4176.59 4352.64 4370.90 .42% 4.65%
S&P 500 1848.36 1925.15 1931.59 .33% 4.50%
Russell 2000 1163.64 1114.86 1131.35 1.48% -2.77%
Global Dow 2484.10 2561.22 2532.94 -1.10% 1.97%
  1. Funds
.25% .25% .25% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 3.04% 2.52% 2.44% -8 bps -60 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

  • Growth in the U.S. services sector accelerated in July. The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of activity in service industries rose 2.7% to 58.7%–its highest level since the index was launched in 2008.
  • New orders at U.S. manufacturers were up 1.1% in June. The Commerce Department said the gain boosted factory orders to their highest level since record-keeping began in 1992 and that June was the fourth month of the last five to see an increase.
  • A drop in oil imports helped cut the U.S. trade deficit by 7% in June, according to the Commerce Department. U.S. exports rose 0.1% to their highest level on record, while imports dropped 1.2%.
  • Italy’s economy fell back into recession, falling 0.2% in Q2; it was the second consecutive quarterly contraction. The GDP of the eurozone’s third largest economy also was down 0.3% from the same quarter a year earlier.
  • In retaliation for new European Union and U.S. economic sanctions, Russia imposed a one-year ban on a variety of food imports and said it’s considering prohibiting EU and U.S. flights from Russian airspace over Siberia.
  • As expected, the European Central Bank left key interest rates unchanged. President Mario Draghi said measures already adopted are having an effect and that it was too early to assess the potential impact of Russia’s ban on European food imports.
  • Eleven of the largest U.S. banks must rewrite their proposed plans for handling a potential bankruptcy. The Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said the plans contained “no credible or clear path” to achieve an orderly failure and avert any need for the type of bailouts provided during the 2008 financial crisis. The banks have until July 2015 to submit revised so-called “living wills.”
  • Fair Isaac Corp. said it will change the way it calculates credit scores, underweighting unpaid medical bills and excluding overdue bills that are subsequently paid or settled with a collection agency. The changes could make it easier to get credit.

Eye on the Week Ahead

With the Q2 earnings season winding down, retail sales and wholesale inflation data will vie with global conflicts for investor attention. Speeches by two members of the Fed’s monetary policy committee are likely to review the arguments for and against accelerating an interest rate hike. Finally, options expiration at week’s end plus trading volumes that are likely to remain relatively low could mean additional volatility.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: 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); http://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.

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.

Market Week: July 28, 2014

The Markets

In a week that saw mostly mixed economic data and generally positive earnings reports, markets posted mixed results as well. While tech and international stocks posted slight gains, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost a little less than 1% after Friday’s 123-point drop. Small caps continued their slump, and the S&P 500 finished the week flat despite hitting new records mid-week.

Market/Index 2013 Close Prior Week As of 7/25 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 16576.66 17100.18 16960.57 -.82% 2.32%
Nasdaq 4176.59 4432.15 4449.56 .39% 6.54%
S&P 500 1848.36 1978.22 1978.34 .01% 7.03%
Russell 2000 1163.64 1151.61 1144.72 -.60% -1.63%
Global Dow 2484.10 2622.25 2630.48 .31% 5.89%
  1. Funds
.25% .25% .25% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 3.04% 2.50% 2.48% -2 bps -56 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

  • Consumer prices rose 0.3% in June. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the increase was driven largely by higher gas prices, which rose 3.3% and accounted for two-thirds of the increase. By comparison, last month’s rise in inflation was more broad-based. Energy prices were mixed in June: electricity prices rose, while natural gas and fuel oil prices fell. Food prices rose modestly, while the index for all items except food and energy rose by a slight 0.1%. For the 12 months ended in June, inflation rose 2.1%.
  • Existing-home sales climbed 2.6% in June, reported the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of more than 5 million, sales are at their highest rate since October 2013. Inventories rose 2.2% to 2.3 million homes, indicating a 5.5-month supply at the current rate of sales. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said, “Inventories are at their highest level in over a year and price gains have slowed to much more welcoming levels in many parts of the country. This bodes well for rising home sales in the upcoming months as consumers are provided with more choices.”
  • On the other hand, sales of new single-family homes plummeted by more than 8% in June from May, according to a report issued jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The seasonally adjusted rate of 406,000 homes was 11.5% lower than the June 2013 estimated figure.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced amendments to the rules that govern money market mutual funds. According to a press release issued by the SEC, the amendments are intended to guard against a run on such funds in times of crisis, “while preserving the benefits of the funds.” The rules require a floating net asset value for prime money market funds serving an institutional client base. Prime money market funds serving individual investors will continue to strive for a stable $1 share price, although there can be no guarantees that such a price will be maintained. The new regulations also allow non-governmental money market funds to charge fees or impose other restrictions on investors attempting to withdraw funds during trying times. “This strong reform package will make our markets more resilient and enhance transparency and fairness of these products for America’s investor,” said Mary Jo White, SEC chairperson.
  • In a move that surprised many observers, the Bank of Russia raised its key interest rate for the third time in five months. The central bank lifted the rate by 0.5% to 8% in a move intended to curb inflation, respond to continued geopolitical unrest, and perhaps stymie additional flight of capital resulting from any further economic sanctions.
  • Unemployment insurance weekly claims (i.e., weekly jobless claims), were 284,000 for the week ending July 19. That was a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week and, more notable, the lowest level for initial claims since February 2006.

Eye on the Week Ahead

Next week, market watchers will keep an eye on manufacturing data, home prices, comments from the Fed, and the government’s initial estimates for second-quarter growth figures.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: 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); http://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.

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.

Market Week: July 14, 2014

The Markets

After Alcoa’s strong report unofficially kicked off the Q2 earnings season, domestic equities rebounded from two down days. However, investors decided to take advantage of equities’ recent record levels and take some profits after revelations about a banking problem in Portugal revived concerns about Europe’s financial sector. Meanwhile, the spot price of oil, which had spiked to $107 two weeks ago, ended the week just over $100 a barrel.

Market/Index

2013 Close

Prior Week

As of 7/11

Weekly Change

YTD Change

DJIA

16576.66

17068.26

16943.81

-.73%

2.21%

Nasdaq

4176.59

4485.93

4415.49

-1.57%

5.72%

S&P 500

1848.36

1985.44

1967.57

-0.90%

6.45%

Russell 2000

1163.64

1208.15

1159.93

-3.99%

-.32%

Global Dow

2484.10

2638.59

2599.40

-1.49%

4.64%

Fed. Funds

.25%

.25%

.25%

0 bps

0 bps

10-year Treasuries

3.04%

2.65%

2.53%

-12 bps

-51 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

  • The Federal Reserve currently expects its bond purchases to end in October, according to minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting. However, the minutes also reiterated that the end of bond-buying won’t automatically mean higher interest rates, at least not for a “considerable time.” The Fed also will continue to reinvest the proceeds of maturing bonds it already holds until after it acts on rates.
  • Talks aimed at trying to address U.S.-China differences over Chinese currency policies began. The United States contends that those policies have kept the yuan artificially low, giving Chinese companies an unfair pricing advantage. Meanwhile, Chinese exports were up 7.2% in June from a year earlier, according to China’s General Administration of Customs.
  • A major Portuguese lender’s failure to make payments on some of its short-term debt raised concerns once again about the stability of European banks and the possibility of contagion. Banco Espirito Santo has been known to be struggling since December, but investor reaction to the disclosure caused several other European companies to postpone bond offerings.

Eye on the Week Ahead

Q2 earnings reports from some major financial and tech companies, due next week, could influence investor thinking about whether Q1’s discouraging GDP really has given way to renewed growth. Housing and inflation data also are likely to be closely watched.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: 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); http://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.

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.

 

Market Week: July 7, 2014

The Markets

After generally positive economic data once again suggested that the economy really did begin to rebound this spring, the Dow industrials surpassed 17,000 for the first time, while the S&P 500 hit three new all-time records during the week. And as investors embraced stocks, worries about the potential impact of a strong economy on potential Fed rate increases also sent the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield up and the price down.

Market/Index

2013 Close

Prior Week

As of 7/4

Weekly Change

YTD Change

DJIA

16576.66

16851.84

17068.26

1.28%

2.97%

Nasdaq

4176.59

4397.93

4485.93

2.00%

7.41%

S&P 500

1848.36

1960.97

1985.44

1.25%

7.42%

Russell 2000

1163.64

1189.49

1208.15

1.57%

3.83%

Global Dow

2484.10

2603.77

2638.59

1.34%

6.22%

Fed. Funds

.25%

.25%

.25%

0 bps

0 bps

10-year Treasuries

3.04%

2.54%

2.65%

11 bps

-39 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

  • The unemployment rate fell to 6.1% in June; that’s 1.4% lower than a year earlier and the lowest level in almost six years. The economy added 288,000 new jobs during the month, higher than the 272,000 monthly average since March. The data, coupled with upward revisions to payroll figures for April and May, suggested possible acceleration in job growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the widespread job gains were led by professional/business services, retail, restaurants/bars, and health care.
  • A 2% increase in new orders placed with U.S. manufacturers put orders at their highest level since late 2013. Even though the Institute for Supply Management’s index showed that manufacturing growth didn’t accelerate in June, it still remained at a healthy 55.3% reading (any number above 50 represents expansion). The ISM’s measure of the services sector also showed slightly slower growth than the previous month, though the reading remained at a robust 56.3%.
  • After three straight monthly increases, new orders for U.S. manufactured goods slipped 0.5% in May, though most of the decline was in the volatile transportation sector. The Commerce Department also said inventories were at their highest level on record and have increased 18 of the last 19 months.
  • Commercial construction spending rose 1.1% in May, but the Commerce Department said that was largely offset by a 1.4% drop in the value of new home projects. The 0.1% overall increase in construction spending was weaker than April’s 0.8% gain, but the annual rate was 6.6% higher than a year ago.
  • As expected, the European Central Bank left two key interest rates unchanged, hoping that measures taken last month will be enough to help stimulate the economy.
  • Higher auto-related exports and less spending on imported oil and consumer goods helped cut the U.S. trade deficit by 5.5% in May to $44.4 billion, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that closely held, for-profit companies can choose to opt out of a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires that employees’ insurance include coverage for birth control. The court also ruled that workers who aren’t full-fledged public employees cannot be required to pay fees to a union even if they benefit from its collective bargaining efforts.
  • Two separate assessments suggested that China’s sluggish manufacturing sector may be rebounding. The reading on the Chinese government’s purchasing managers’ index nudged up slightly to 51 in May. Meanwhile, HSBC/Markit’s Manufacturing PMI was basically flat but stayed in expansion territory, apparently responding to small steps taken by the government to stimulate economic growth.

Eye on the Week Ahead

In a week that’s light on fresh economic reports, investors may begin to focus on the Q2 earnings season, which has its unofficial start on Tuesday when Alcoa reports. Minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting could shed new light on the debate over whether the Fed should be concerned yet about inflation.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: 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); http://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.

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.

 

 

Market Week: June 30, 2014

The Markets

Domestic equities seemed to shrug off a massive downward revision to first-quarter GDP and mostly ended the week flat. Though the Nasdaq’s gain was slight, it was the sixth positive week out of the last seven. Meanwhile, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield remained low as demand from bond investors continued to support prices.

Market/Index 2013 Close Prior Week As of 6/27 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 16576.66 16947.08 16851.84 -.56% 1.66%
Nasdaq 4176.59 4368.04 4397.93 .68% 5.30%
S&P 500 1848.36 1962.87 1960.97 -.10% 6.09%
Russell 2000 1163.64 1188.42 1189.49 .09% 2.22%
Global Dow 2484.10 2617.86 2603.77 -.54% 4.82%
Fed. Funds .25% .25% .25% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 3.04% 2.63% 2.54% -9 bps -50 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

  • The U.S. economy contracted at a much faster pace in Q1 than anticipated, falling 2.9% (not the 1% recently estimated). The Bureau of Economic Analysis said its unusually steep downward revision of gross domestic product was caused not only by winter weather but also by exports and health-care spending that were both lower than previously thought.
  • The housing market rebounded strongly in May from its winter slump. According to the Commerce Department, sales of new single-family homes leaped 18.6% in May and were almost 17% better than a year earlier. Also, the National Association of Realtors® said the 4.9% increase in resales of existing homes was the biggest monthly gain in nearly three years. However, the NAR also said existing home sales were 5% lower and the number of unsold homes was 6% higher than in May 2013.
  • Data on April home prices also was mixed. Cities in the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index averaged a 1.1% gain in April, for a gain of almost 11% since last April. Boston saw its biggest monthly gain in the index’s 27-year history, and San Francisco had its sixth straight price increase. However, seven cities reported a decline since March, and S&P said year-over-year price gains had begun to slow.
  • U.S. incomes rose faster than personal consumption in May; according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, incomes were up 0.4%, while spending rose 0.2%. Even after adjusting for inflation, incomes were up 0.2% for the second straight month. The bad news? That 0.2% increase in personal consumption expenditures–a key inflation gauge for the Fed–resulted in the biggest 12-month gain since October 2012; further increases could mean inflationary pressure that might affect interest rates.
  • The European Union formalized a trade agreement with Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova–the agreement whose rejection by the former Ukrainian president led to subsequent protests and ultimately Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Shortly thereafter, European leaders told Russia it had until Monday evening to persuade rebels in Ukraine to respect a cease-fire or face further EU economic sanctions.
  • Durable goods orders fell 1% in May after three strong months. However, the Commerce Department said most of the decline was caused by a 31% drop in defense spending on equipment. Other than defense, new orders were up 0.6%.

Eye on the Week Ahead

In a holiday-shortened week, trading volumes are likely to continue to be light. Manufacturing data may suggest whether recent improvements can be sustained. The European Central Bank is scheduled to report on Thursday, but last month’s decision to adopt a negative interest rate likely precludes much immediate change in policy. And as always, the jobs report, issued a day early, will be watched.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: 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); http://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.

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.

Market Week: June 23, 2014

The Markets

Reassurance from the Fed seemed to outweigh the situation in Iraq last week as investors showed greater comfort with taking on more risk. The week’s biggest gains were in the small caps of the Russell 2000, which once again returned to positive territory for the year, while the Nasdaq closed the week at a level it hasn’t seen since April 2000. Meanwhile, the Dow and S&P 500 set new record highs yet again–the 11th so far this year for the Dow, the 22nd for the S&P 500.

Market/Index

2013 Close

Prior Week

As of 6/20

Weekly Change

YTD Change

DJIA

16576.66

16775.68

16947.08

1.02%

2.23%

Nasdaq

4176.59

4310.65

4368.04

1.33%

4.58%

S&P 500

1848.36

1936.15

1962.87

1.38%

6.20%

Russell 2000

1163.64

1162.68

1188.42

2.21%

2.13%

Global Dow

2484.10

2587.94

2617.86

1.16%

5.38%

Fed. Funds

.25%

.25%

.25%

0 bps

0 bps

10-year Treasuries

3.04%

2.60%

2.63%

3 bps

-41 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

  • The Fed’s long/short strategy: The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy committee predicted that further improvement in the economy and the job market would allow it to raise interest rates slightly faster than previously anticipated. It now sees its current near-zero target rate hitting 1.2% by the end of 2015 and 2.4% in 2016. That’s slightly higher than previous forecasts. However, it also suggested subsequent increases might take rates to only 3.75%–slightly lower than its earlier long-term forecast of 4%. And as expected, Fed bond purchases were once again cut by $10 billion, leaving the monthly total at $35 billion.
  • Despite the projected economic rebound, 2014’s winter-weakened first quarter led the Fed to cut its U.S. growth forecast for the year from the nearly 3% predicted in March to 2.1%-2.3%. The Fed also said the growth rate could bump up above 3% in 2015 but would settle back to a little over 2% in the longer term. Both forecasts are roughly in line with figures from the International Monetary Fund.
  • U.S. manufacturing showed strength in May. Industrial production increased for the third month out of the last four and was up 4.3% from a year ago. The Federal Reserve said May’s 0.6% gain was led by a 1.5% increase in automotive output, and that 79.1% of the nation’s manufacturing capacity was being used. Also, the Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index remained at a multiyear high for the second consecutive month, and the Philly Fed index rose from 15.4 to 17.8–its highest reading since September and the fourth straight positive month.
  • Consumer prices rose in May at the fastest pace in more than a year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the 0.4% increase was broad-based, but was driven largely by higher prices for housing, food, electricity, airfares, and gas (food prices jumped more than in any month in almost three years, and groceries were up 0.7% for the month). The increases put the overall consumer inflation rate for the last year at 2.1%. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that though recent upticks have left inflation a bit on the high side, it’s basically in line with the Fed’s 2% target.
  • Housing starts slumped 6.5% in May, according to the Commerce Department, but were still 9.4% higher than in May 2013. Building permits–an indicator of future activity–also fell, and the 6.4% decline left them nearly 2% lower than a year ago.

Eye on the Week Ahead

New and existing home sales will suggest whether the summer housing market is picking up, while consumer spending also will be of interest. Depending on the situation in Iraq, oil prices could start to become a bigger factor in investor thinking.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: 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); http://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.

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.

 

Market Week: June 2, 2014

Market/Index 2013 Close Prior Week As of 5/30 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 16576.66 16606.27 16717.17 .67% .85%
Nasdaq 4176.59 4185.81 4242.62 1.36% 1.58%
S&P 500 1848.36 1900.53 1923.57 1.21% 4.07%
Russell 2000 1163.64 1126.19 1134.50 .74% -2.50%
Global Dow 2484.10 2550.46 2564.35 .54% 3.23%
Fed. Funds .25% .25% .25% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 3.04% 2.54% 2.48% -6 bps -56 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

  • Rather than stalling, as previously estimated, the U.S. economy actually contracted at an annualized rate of 1% during 2014’s first quarter. The Bureau of Economic Analysis said businesses’ investment in building up inventories was lower than previously estimated and was a major factor in the downward revision of its GDP estimate, which was widely expected to be disappointing. It was the weakest growth rate in three years. Consumer spending was up 3.1%, but couldn’t offset the cost of higher imports and declines in capital investments and spending by state and local governments.
  • Durable goods orders rose 0.8% in April–the third straight monthly increase. The Census Bureau said the 2.3% increase in defense-related spending on transportation equipment was the most significant factor; business spending on capital equipment was down 1% for the month.
  • Home prices were up 0.9% in the 20 cities measured by the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index for March.
  • After a strong March, consumer spending slid 0.1% in April; the Commerce Department said it was the first monthly decline in a year. However, at least part of the decline was the result of lower heating costs as winter finally wound down. Personal income rose 0.3%, but that was the smallest monthly gain so far in 2014. However, coupled with the decline in spending, that allowed people to save more; the savings rate for individuals was 4% compared to March’s 3.6%.
  • The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.12% last week. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said that’s the lowest it’s been since last October; however, it’s still higher than last May’s 3.81%. Mortgage rates have been cited as one reason for recent sluggishness in the housing market’s recovery.

Eye on the Week Ahead

As always, unemployment numbers will be of interest, as will Institute for Supply Management reports on both the manufacturing and services sectors. Investors also will watch to see whether the European Central Bank follows through on hints it might adopt measures to stimulate the economy there.

 

 

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: 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); http://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.

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