The Markets (as of market close December 1, 2023)
The markets continued to flourish last week. Investors were not deterred by a warning from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that interest rate hikes may not be over, and it is premature to speculate when rate decreases will begin. The S&P 500 and the Dow reached new 2023 highs, while the Nasdaq posted solid returns as all three indexes extended a run of five straight weekly gains. Despite additional output cuts by OPEC+, crude oil prices continued to lag as demand remained soft. Ten-year Treasury yields closed down nearly 80.0 basis points from a peak in October. Yields fell over 50.0 basis points in November, marking the largest monthly decline since August 2019. The dollar weakened, while gold prices finished the week at a record high.
Eye on the Week Ahead
Economic data released during the first full week of December focuses on employment. The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey is for October. The previous report estimated 9.6 million job openings available in September, relatively unchanged from the prior month’s total. This week, focus will also be aimed at the latest employment situation report for November. Employment has shown signs of slowing, with an estimate of 150,000 new jobs added in October, well below the downwardly revised September total of 297,000.
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); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates).
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. 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. Forecasts are based on current conditions, subject to change, and may not come to pass. U.S. Treasury securities are guaranteed by the federal government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. The principal value of Treasury securities and other bonds fluctuates with market conditions. Bonds are subject to inflation, interest-rate, and credit risks. As interest rates rise, bond prices typically fall. A bond sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss. 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 largest, publicly traded 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. The U.S. Dollar Index is a geometrically weighted index of the value of the U.S. dollar relative to six foreign currencies. Market indexes listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.