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Strong Markets for the Holidays
As the holiday season progresses, the markets continue to impress. Last week, many energy, financial, and industrial sector stocks helped drive performance. Hitting record highs yet again, the S&P gained 0.35%, and the Dow jumped 0.40% for the week.Meanwhile, the NASDAQ fell slightly by 0.11%, and the MSCI EAFE rose 0.08%.
Solid labor market conditions and a rebounding retail climate are helping to support the economy as the year closes.
Here are some developments that stood out last week:
Promising Labor Market Numbers
Encouraging news came on Friday when we learned that nonfarm payroll jobs rose more than expected in November, coming in at 228,000. Manufacturers have created almost 200,000 new jobs in the last 12 months and 1 million new factory jobs since 2010. We have now had 86-straight months of job gains, the longest stretch in U.S. history.
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Looking Beyond Politics
Markets went for a wild ride last week—especially on Friday. In fact, on December 1, the S&P 500 had its largest fluctuations since the day after the 2016 presidential election. Nonetheless, two of the major domestic markets hit new record highs on Thursday and ended the week with sizable gains. The S&P 500 added 1.53% and the Dow gained 2.86%. Meanwhile, the NASDAQ lost 0.60% and international stocks in the MSCI EAFE gave back 0.95%.
What drove markets last week?
Politics played a large role in market performance last week with big developments on tax reform and the Russia investigation.
On Thursday, news that the Senate bill was more likely to pass contributed to the Dow and S&P 500 closing at record highs. Early Saturday morning, the Senate did end up voting in favor of the proposal.