The Past Week in the Markets

14 Jan

Despite very little news this week, stocks had significant gains with small cap stocks seeing the biggest increase.  Prior data had showed strong total retail holiday sales, but this week, mall based retailers posted weak sales.  General Motors reported that 4th quarter earnings were going to be higher than forecast and raised its forecast for 2019.  No progress has been made on the partial government shutdown but traders reacted positively to signs of progress in trade talks with China.  The 10-year treasury yield rose to 2.7% and the dollar rose against a basket of currencies.  Crude oil rebounded on anticipation of further Saudi cuts.

In the numbers this week:

  • The Institute for Supply Management reported that its U.S. nonmanufacturing index fell from 60.7 in November to 57.6 in December.  Anything over 50 still represents expansion, just at a slower acceleration and at 57.6, a healthy rate of growth.
  • The Labor Department reported:
    • First time claims for unemployment fell 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 216,000 despite 4760 federal employees filing claims.  The four week moving average of claims rose 2500 to a seasonally adjusted 221,750.
    • The consumer-price index fell a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in December, following no change in November.  Excluding volatile food and energy core prices rose 0.2% in December, following 0.2% rises in October and November.  For calendar year 2018 consumer prices rose 1.9% and core prices were up 2.2%.
  • The Energy Information Administration weekly report is here wpsrsummary.  Also, the EIA reported
    • U.S. Crude oil production remained unchanged at 11.7MM barrels per day.
    • Storage of natural gas fell 91BN cubic feet.  Natural gas storage is below the minimum for this date during the past five years.
  • According to Baker Hughes, In the past week, the number of active oil rigs rose to 885 and natural gas rigs were unchanged at 198.
  • The Commerce Department is not issuing any economic reports due to the partial government shutdown.

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Best Regards,

Loren C. Rex, CFP®, AIF®, MA                                                         Erik A Smith

President                                                                                                 Managing Partner

Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management              269-441-4143

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Battle Creek, MI  49017

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Carrie Fuce, Assistant 269-441-4091

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These are the opinions of Loren Rex and Erik Smith and are not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.  The Indices mentioned are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.