Blog Post

Stock Indices Mixed After Strong Move Since End of October

Major stock indices were mixed this week with U.S. stocks lower and international developed and emerging markets higher.  Stocks have staged a strong rally since the end of October led by technology shares and in particular those related to artificial intelligence.  So seeing a breather at this point is not unexpected.

Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell, testified to both the House and Senate and indicated the FED is not ready to start cutting interest rates.

OPEC+ met and agreed to extend cuts of 2MM barrels per day through the end of the second quarter of 2024.

The European Central Bank met and chose to leave short term interest rates unchanged at 4.0%.

Treasury bond yields fell with the 30-year bond yield at 4.245% and the 10-Year note at 4.090%.  Freddie Mac reported that the average 30-year mortgage rate fell to 6.88%.  Crude oil fell to $78.89 a barrel and natural gas fell to $1.793 per MMBTUs.  The U.S. dollar index fell to 102.82 and gold rose to $2166.00 an ounce.

In economic reports this week:

  • S&P Global released its purchasing manager’s services indices for February.  Keep in mind that anything over 50 represents expansion and anything under 50 represents contraction.
    • U.S. services PMI fell from 52.5 to 52.3.
    • Canada services PMI rose from 45.8 to 48.6.
    • Eurozone services PMI rose from 48.4 to 50.2
    • China services PMI fell from 52.7 to 52.5.
    • Japan services PMI fell from 53.1 to 52.9.
  • The Commerce Department reported:
    • New orders for manufactured goods fell 3.6% in January following a 0.3% drop in February.
    • Wholesale inventories fell 0.3% in January after rising 0.4% in December.
  • The Labor Department reported:
    • Job openings were little changed at 8.9MM in January.
      • Job quits were also little changed at 3.4MM.
    • The U.S. added 275,000 non-farm jobs in February. 
      • The biggest gains were in health care, government and restaurants and bars.
      • The unemployment rate rose to 3.9%.
      • December’s and January’s jobs numbers were revised down a total of 167,000 jobs.
      • Wages rose 0.1% in February and were up 4.3% from a year ago.
    • Seasonally adjusted first-time claims for unemployment were 217,000 unchanged from the previous week’s revised level.
      • The 4-week moving average of claims, designed to smooth out volatility, was 212,250, an decrease of 750 from the previous week’s revised level. 
      • For the full unemployment report go here: .
  • The EIA weekly oil report is here: .  Also, the EIA reported in the prior week:
    • Field production of crude oil fell from 13.3MM BPD to 13.2MM BPD.
    • Natural gas storage fell 40BN cubic feet and was above the highest level during the past five years at this time of year.
  • Baker Hughes reported the number of oil rigs fell 2 to 504 and the number of natural gas rigs fell 4 to 115.

Please call us if you have any questions.

Loren Rex – Emeritus

Erik A Smith, AIF® – President & C.E.O.

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. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Dow Jones, or simply the Dow, is a stock market index of 30 prominent companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States. The DJIA is one of the oldest and most commonly followed equity indexes. The Nasdaq Composite is a stock market index that includes almost all stocks listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange (more than 2500 stocks).


Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey News Release – 2024 M01 Results (


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