Last week, the S&P 500, Dow, and NASDAQ closed at all-time record highs. The S&P 500 rose 0.96%; the Dow gained 0.6%; and the NASDAQ grew by 1.54%. Meanwhile, the MSCI EAFE gained 1.64% for the week.
Despite strong equity markets, bond yields dropped to their lowest point in the year. The drop in yield caused by rising bond prices, combined with soft employment numbers and low wage growth, could suggest a slowing economy or a tightening labor market.
While the U.S. equity markets advanced to new highs and bond prices rose, other markets were mixed for the week. Pending home sales dropped 1.3% in April, a second straight month of decline. Oil fell to $47.66 a barrel; the dollar dropped to a seven-month low against the euro; and gold gained 0.8% closing at $1,280.20.
Additionally, soft employment numbers and flat wages could lead to a disappointing Q2 Gross Domestic Product (GDP). With an eye on dropping inflation, the Fed will have to decide whether to still raise interest rates.
Mixed Job Numbers and Slow Wage Growth
May's job growth reported an anemic 138,000, well below the expected 185,000. At the same time, average hourly wages increased on a year-over-year basis by only 2.5%. Moreover, the revisions to March and April's payroll numbers fell by 66,000 jobs. The economy is currently averaging 162,000 new jobs per month for the year, again, well below 2016's 187,000 average.
Despite the unemployment rate falling to 4.3%, the lowest it's been in over 15 years, the employment-to-population ratio also fell. Still, the data confirms that demand for experienced and skilled workers exists, while the supply is falling.
Fed Will Discuss Raising Interest Rates
On June 14, the Fed FOMC will meet to determine if an interest rate increase is in order. Despite the soft employment numbers and an inflation rate below the Fed's target of 2%, traders still believe there is a nearly 88% chance that the Fed will raise rates in June. However, the market consensus currently suggests only a roughly 50/50 chance for another rate increase before the end of the year.
International News and Looking Ahead
Manufacturing in China has posted strong returns. Both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs reported gains above 50. The numbers suggest that China is on track to reach its targeted 6.5% growth for the year. This matters because China is the world's second largest economy at $11 trillion GDP for 2017.
Other developments in the international arena could influence markets going forward. Reaction to President Trump's decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord could adversely affect American products in the international markets. The landmark decision also runs the risk of hurting U.S. tech and alternative energy companies.
We will continue to follow developing international and national news as they move the markets. As always, if you have questions about how these events may affect your finances, please contact us. We are here to help you remain informed and in control of your financial future.
- Monday: Factory Orders, ISM Non-Manufacturing Index
- Tuesday: JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey)
- Thursday: Jobless Claims
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The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.
The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.
The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.
The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a measure of output from U.S. factories and related consumption in the U.S. It does not include products made by U.S. companies in foreign markets.
The Federal Reserve System (also known as the Federal Reserve and, informally, as the Fed) is the central banking system of the United States. The Federal Reserve System is composed of 12 regional Reserve banks which supervise state member banks. The Federal Reserve System controls the Federal Funds Rate (aka Fed Funds Rate), an important benchmark in financial markets used to influence the supply of money in the U.S. economy.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), a committee within the Federal Reserve System, is charged under United States law with overseeing the nation's open market operations (i.e., the Fed's buying and selling of United States Treasury securities).
Inflation is the rise in the prices of goods and services, as happens when spending increases relative to the supply of goods on the market.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) is an economic indicator derived from monthly surveys of US private sector companies. ISM began to produce the report for the US in 1948. The data for the index are collected through a survey of 400 purchasing managers in the manufacturing sector on five different fields, namely, production level, new orders from customers, speed of supplier deliveries, inventories and employment level. Respondents can report better, same or worse conditions than previous months. For all these fields the percentage of respondents that reported better conditions than the previous months is calculated. The five percentages are multiplied by a weighing factor (the factors adding to 1) and are added.
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