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Weekly Update: December 9, 2019 – Stocks Ride Out a Choppy Week


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Stocks Ride Out a Choppy Week

Key Wall Street benchmarks were up and down last week – or rather down and then up. A Tuesday retreat was offset by a Friday rally spurred by the Department of Labor’s November jobs report.
While the S&P 500 managed to rise 0.16% for the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.13%, and the Nasdaq Composite ceded 0.10%. MSCI’s EAFE benchmark for international stocks retreated 0.25%.

Employers added 266,000 net new jobs last month, 79,000 more than economists surveyed by Dow Jones had projected. The main jobless rate ticked down 0.1% to 3.5%. The U-6 rate, counting both the unemployed and underemployed, also declined 0.1% to 6.9%. Wages grew 3.1% year-over-year, above the 3.0% Dow Jones estimate.
These numbers do not indicate an economy cooling off. While they were influenced by the return of striking General Motors workers to their jobs, November hiring gains were spread across several categories.

The U.S.-China trade dispute has gone on for 21 months. Wall Street would like to…

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Weekly Update: December 2, 2019 – November Concludes with Gains


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November Concludes with Gains

As November wrapped up, U.S. equity benchmarks advanced. Stocks were again aided by a sense of optimism that a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal could be near.

For the week, the Nasdaq Composite added 1.87%; the S&P 500, 1.21%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 1.03%. The MSCI EAFE index, which measures the performance of developed stock markets outside North America, gained 0.89%.

Markets Wait for News of a Trade Pact
Wednesday, a senior White House official told Politico that the U.S. was “millimeters away” from a phase-one trade agreement with China, a deal that might involve the removal of certain tariffs.
Still, friction remains within the Sino-American relationship. Last week, President Trump signed two bills into law backing pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs quickly reacted, stating that American lawmakers had “sinister intentions” and adding that China would take “strong counter-measures” in return.

The Latest on Consumer Spending and Consumer Confidence
Personal spending was up 0.3% in October, according to…

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Weekly Update: November 25, 2019 – Major Indices Move Lower


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Major Indices Move Lower

Stocks declined last week as mixed signals emerged about the progress of U.S.-China trade negotiations.
The three major Wall Street benchmarks all took weekly losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.46%; the S&P 500, 0.33%, the Nasdaq Composite, 0.25%. Also pulling back, the MSCI EAFE index, tracking developed stock markets outside the U.S. and Canada, retreated 0.69%.

Nothing Conclusive Regarding Trade
As the market week ended, there was still haziness surrounding the state of U.S.-China trade discussions. Were negotiators on the cusp of a phase-one deal or further away?
Friday, President Trump told reporters that a deal was “very close,” but Chinese President Xi Jinping said that his country could decide to “fight back” against certain terms. Last week, a bill intended to support Hong Kong protesters advanced through Congress, and that development was not taken well in Beijing.

The Fed Assesses the Economy
Federal Reserve officials gathered for their October meeting “generally saw the economic outlook as positive” according to…

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Weekly Update: November 18, 2019 – A New Dow Milestone


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A New Dow Milestone

Stock benchmarks were little changed for much of last week, but a rally occurred Friday after news broke that the U.S. and China could be closing in on the first phase of a new trade pact.

At Friday’s close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed the 28,000 level. The Dow rose 1.17% for the week, outgaining the S&P 500 (which advanced 0.89%) and the Nasdaq Composite (which added 0.77%). The MSCI EAFE index, representing developed overseas stock markets, fell 0.77%.

Will There Be a Trade Breakthrough?

Friday, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told the media that “in all likelihood,” a phase-one trade deal between China and the U.S. would presently happen, stating that the talks were…

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Weekly Update: November 11, 2019-Dow, S&P 500 Extend Win Streaks


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Dow, S&P 500 Extend Win Streaks

Domestic and international stocks rose last week. Risk appetite outweighed concerns about the state of U.S.-China trade discussions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500, and MSCI EAFE all ended the week with gains. Blue chips led the way, as the Dow added 1.22%. The Nasdaq improved 1.06%; the S&P, 0.85%. The EAFE, tracking developed stock markets away from North America, was up 0.76%. The Dow recorded its third straight weekly gain; the S&P, its fifth.

Will Tariffs Phase Out or Remain?
Thursday, a spokesman for China’s commerce ministry said that U.S. and Chinese trade representatives had “agreed to remove” existing tariffs in “phases,” while working toward a new trade deal.

On Friday morning, President Trump told the media …

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Weekly Update: November 4, 2019 – More Historic Highs


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More Historic Highs

A better-than-forecast jobs report prompted a stock market rally Friday, two days after traders witnessed another interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite ended the week at historic peaks, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average settled less than 12 points under its all-time record close. The Nasdaq rose 1.74% for the week; the S&P gained 1.47%. The Dow added 1.44%. MSCI’s EAFE benchmark, which measures developed stock market performance outside the U.S. and Canada, improved 0.58%.

This net increase far surpassed the gain of 85,000 projected by a Bloomberg poll of economists. These job gains occurred even as last month’s General Motors strike impacted hiring in the manufacturing sector. Unemployment rose slightly to 3.6% in October, an effect of more people entering the job market. Likewise, the U-6 rate, counting both unemployed and underemployed, Americans ticked up to 7.0%.

Last week, the central bank made its third quarter-point rate cut since July, leaving the target range for…

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Weekly Update: October 28, 2019 – S&P 500 Nearly Makes History


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Happy 75th Birthday, Lula!

We want wish our client, Lula a very happy 75th birthday. Some people don’t just motivate, they inspire. You’re an inspiration to so many, Lula! We hope you enjoyed your party. Thank you for including us in your celebration!


S&P 500 Rise Nearly Makes History

The S&P 500 came within 0.1% of a record close Friday. Stocks were lifted last week by positive news on U.S.-China trade negotiations, plus earnings announcements. The Nasdaq Composite posted the largest weekly gain of the three major U.S. stock indices. It rose 1.90%. Last week also brought gains of 0.70% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 1.22% for the S&P. The MSCI EAFE, a benchmark for developed stock markets outside the U.S., rose 1.14%.

Friday, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative stated that parts of a new trade deal with China were near completion. No specifics were given as of Friday’s close, but the USTR noted that negotiators had “made headway” on key issues. Analysts think both sides may cancel certain tariffs as part of a deal. President Trump has said that he would like to sign a new trade accord with China’s President, Xi Jinping, next month.

Rising to a final October mark of 95.5, the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index advanced 2.3 points month-over-month. During August and September…

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Weekly Update: October 21, 2019 – Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500 Rise


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Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500 Rise

Earnings helped give the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 a slight lift last week, offsetting investor disappointment over the small scope of the preliminary U.S.-China trade deal reached on October 11. Blue chips took a small weekly loss. The Nasdaq and S&P respectively gained 0.40% and 0.54% on the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated just 0.17%. Outdoing these three benchmarks, the MSCI EAFE index tracking stocks in developed overseas markets rose 1.35%.

According to stock market analytics firm FactSet, 15% of S&P 500 companies had reported results through Friday’s close. Of those companies, 84% announced that net profits topping projections, and 64% said that revenues had exceeded forecasts. One big question is whether overall earnings for S&P 500 firms will show year-over-year growth. There was no year-over-year earnings gain evident in either Q1 or Q2.

Shoppers scaled back their purchases in September. The Census Bureau announced…

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Weekly Update: October 14, 2019 – Trade Winds Move the Market


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Trade Winds Move the Market

Stock prices pushed higher last week, as investors remained hyper-focused on any new developments with the U.S. trade negotiations with China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 0.91%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.62%. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 0.93% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, added 2.28%.

For nearly two years, investors’ moods have seemed to swing with each twist in the ongoing trade saga between the U.S. and China. Last week was no different. On Tuesday, stock prices fell sharply on concerns that U.S.-China trade tensions had escalated. The White House announced the addition of 28 new Chinese companies to its list of firms that are banned from doing business in the U.S. Later in the day, White House officials confirmed that they had implemented travel bans on selected Chinese officials.

But prices bounced back Thursday and surged higher Friday on White House reports that suggested the trade talks between…

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Weekly Update: October 7, 2019 – Special Update: Quarterly Report


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Special Update – Quarterly Report

The fourth quarter started with a mixed week for equities. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.92% for the week; the S&P 500, 0.33%. In contrast, the Nasdaq Composite improved 0.54%. Overseas stocks pulled back: the MSCI EAFE index dipped 2.60%.

The Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Purchasing Manager Index fell to 47.8 in September, its lowest level in ten years. Traders worried that the number reflected weakening business confidence. ISM’s latest Non-Manufacturing PMI also declined, but the 52.6 reading indicated growth in the service sector last month.

The Department of Labor said that employers added 136,000 net new workers in September. Unemployment was at 3.5%, a level last seen in December 1969. The U-6 jobless rate, which counts both the unemployed and underemployed, fell to a 19-year low of 6.9%. Monthly job creation has averaged…

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