Market Week: January 28, 2015

January 27th, 2015

The Markets

It was a clean sweep for the Nasdaq as it posted gains on all four days of a market week shortened by Martin Luther King Day. As the Nasdaq was moving into positive territory for the year, the other major indices lost ground on Friday, at least in part due to the uncertainty caused by the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, but all posted solid gains for the week. The markets generally ignored signs of an economic slowdown in China and the continuing slide in oil prices.

Market/Index

2014 Close

Prior Week

As of 1/23

Weekly Change

YTD Change

DJIA

17823.07

17511.57

17672.60

.92%

-.84%

Nasdaq

4736.05

4634.38

4757.88

2.66%

.46%

S&P 500

2058.90

2019.42

2051.82

1.6%

-.34%

Russell 2000

1204.70

1176.65

1188.93

1.04%

-1.31%

Global Dow

2501.66

2447.65

2501.48

2.2%

-.01%

Fed. Funds

.25%

.25%

.25%

0%

0%

10-year Treasuries

2.17%

1.83%

1.79%

-4 bps

-38 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

· While “deflategate” dominated American airwaves last week, concern about a deflationary spiral of a different kind caused the European Central Bank to announce a qualitative easing program worth at least €1.1 trillion ($1.3 trillion). The ECB hopes this monetary stimulus will increase investment and consumption, and turn around Europe’s stagnating economy.

· Greek drama redux: Greece’s anti-austerity opposition party Syriza, led by Alexis Tsipras, topped vote-getters in Sunday’s election, but fell just two seats short of the number necessary for a parliamentary majority, leading Syriza to announce it would form a coalition government with another anti-austerity party, the Independent Greeks. At risk, with the anti-bailout Syriza party in control, is Greece’s willingness to go along with conditions imposed by its creditors after bailouts in 2011 and 2013, which could prompt fresh concerns about default and a “Grexit” from the eurozone.

· Despite low inventories, existing-home sales bounced back in December and climbed above an annual pace of 5 million sales for the sixth time in seven months, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Existing-home sales rose 2.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in December, up from 4.92 million in November, and up 3.5% from last December, the third straight month of year-over-year increases. Median home prices for 2014 rose to $208,500, their highest level since 2007, but total sales fell 3.1% from 2013.

· Meanwhile, the Department of Commerce announced that new residential construction rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,089,000, a 4.4% increase over November, and a 5.3% increase over December 2013. Single family home starts rose 7.2% in December, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 728,000, the best since 2007.

· The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index® for the United States increased 0.5% in December, following a 0.4% increase in November, and a 0.6% increase in October. Ataman Ozyildirim, Economist at The Conference Board, said that “December’s gain in the LEI was driven by a majority of its components, suggesting the short-term outlook is getting brighter and the economy continues to build momentum.”

Eye on the Week Ahead

In what should be a very interesting week, all eyes will be on the Federal Reserve to see how the European stimulus plan might impact the Fed’s plans for U.S. interest rates. And investors will be closely watching for any developments in Saudi Arabia and Greece. Meanwhile, earnings season continues in high gear, with major companies like Apple and Microsoft reporting.

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.

Market Week: January 21, 2015

January 20th, 2015

The Markets

A surprise move by Switzerland’s central bank made already unsettled financial markets even more volatile. For the third straight week of 2015, equities saw strong ups and downs that resulted in losses for the week. The uncertainty drove the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield even further below 2% as demand for a safe haven sent prices higher.

Market/Index

2014 Close

Prior Week

As of 1/16

Weekly Change

YTD Change

DJIA

17823.07

17737.37

17511.57

-1.27%

-1.75%

Nasdaq

4736.05

4704.07

4634.38

-1.48%

-2.15%

S&P 500

2058.90

2044.81

2019.42

-1.24%

-1.92%

Russell 2000

1204.70

1185.68

1176.65

-.76%

-2.33%

Global Dow

2501.66

2459.59

2447.65

-.49%

-2.16%

Fed. Funds

.25%

.25%

.25%

0%

0%

10-year Treasuries

2.17%

1.98%

1.83%

-15 bps

-34 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 Swiss National Bank shocked financial markets by deciding not to maintain a cap on the amount the Swiss franc can rise against the common eurozone currency. As a result, both the euro and shares of Swiss companies were hard-hit in the wake of the decision, which was made in anticipation of further weakening of the euro once the European Central Bank meets next week. In other central bank actions, India cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 7.75%; it was the first cut in almost two years and is intended to help spur growth.

· The largest monthly decline in U.S. consumer energy costs since December 2008, which included a 9.4% drop in gas prices, was largely responsible for cutting the Consumer Price Index by 0.4% in December. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that means consumer prices overall have increased only 0.8% over the last 12 months; that’s sharply lower than the 1.3% annual rate recorded in November. Higher costs for shelter and medical care were offset by declines in not only energy but also clothing, air fares, vehicles, and household furnishings.

· The plunging cost of oil also helped cut wholesale prices 0.3% in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The decline–the fourth in the last five months–was the sharpest drop in more than 3 years. December’s figure left the wholesale inflation rate for the last 12 months at 1.1%; however, excluding food and energy, the 12-month increase in wholesale prices was 2.1%.

· Early holiday shopping may have helped cut December’s retail sales by 0.9% in the wake of a strong November. The Commerce Department said December’s decline was the largest since January 2014.

· Warmer than usual temperatures in some parts of the United States in December led to reduced production by utilities, which contributed to a 1% decline in the nation’s industrial production. However, the Federal Reserve Board said that aside from utilities, industrial production rose 0.7%. The Fed’s Empire State manufacturing survey showed stronger growth than in November, while its Philly Fed survey showed slower growth.

· Exports from China increased 9.7% in December, according to the country’s General Administration of Customs. Investors took that as an encouraging sign for the global economy as a whole.

· The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report showed that the U.S. economy continued to expand at a moderate pace in December, with consumer spending increasing in most of the Fed’s 12 districts.

Eye on the Week Ahead

Europe is likely to dominate the coming week’s news. Investors are hoping for additional stimulus measures from the European Central Bank, and will be watching polls in Greece to see if anti-bailout forces are likely to make gains in Sunday’s parliamentary election. Those results could affect the country’s willingness to go along with conditions imposed by its creditors after bailouts in 2011 and 2013, and could prompt fresh concerns about a “Grexit” from the eurozone.

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.

Market Week: January 13, 2015

January 12th, 2015

The Markets

It was a grim week, not only in France but in financial markets worldwide. Despite a mid-week bounce, equities prices continued to follow oil on a downward path. The small caps once again bore the brunt of the selling, while the price of oil fell below $50 a barrel. Not surprisingly, U.S. Treasuries benefitted from the world’s black mood; as prices rose, the benchmark 10-year yield dropped below 2% for the first time since May 2013.

Market/Index

2014 Close

Prior Week

As of 1/9

Weekly Change

YTD Change

DJIA

17823.07

17832.99

17737.37

-.54%

-.48%

Nasdaq

4736.05

4726.81

4704.07

-.48%

-.68%

S&P 500

2058.90

2058.20

2044.81

-.65%

-.68%

Russell 2000

1204.70

1198.80

1185.68

-1.09%

-1.58%

Global Dow

2501.66

2491.50

2459.59

-1.28%

-1.68%

Fed. Funds

.25%

.25%

.25%

0%

0%

10-year Treasuries

2.17%

2.12%

1.98%

-14 bps

-19 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

· Minutes of December’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting showed that the committee’s recent shift to language about “patience” was intended to underscore its desire to remain flexible in dealing with rate hikes, basing decisions on ongoing data rather than a timetable.

· The addition of 252,000 new jobs in December cut the unemployment rate by 0.2% to 5.6%. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those additions exceeded 2014’s 246,000 monthly average gain. However, hourly wages fell 5 cents to $24.57, though they were 1.7% higher than in December 2013.

· The pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector slowed in December, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The institute’s most recent survey showed a 3.1% drop from November’s 59.3% reading. However, any figure above 50% represents expansion, and December’s figure was roughly equal to the monthly average for all of 2014.

Eye on the Week Ahead

Monday’s after-hours Alcoa announcement marks the unofficial kickoff to the earnings reporting season for Q4, which could overshadow U.S. inflation and manufacturing data.

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.