Blog Post

Stocks Ease in the New Year Following Months of Gains

Major stock indices were lower this week following gains in November and December as Traders Await 1st quarter earnings and more data to support FED rate cuts.  The Nasdaq Composite index saw the biggest decrease.  The FED released its minutes from the last meeting which indicated the FED is likely done hiking rates, but it did not indicate when the FED might start cutting rates.  Treasury bond yields rose with the 30-year bond yield at 4.200% and the 10-Year note at 4.046%.  Freddie Mac reported that the average 30-year mortgage rate rose to 6.62%.  Crude oil rose to $73.95 a barrel and natural gas rose to $2.609 per MMBTUs.  The U.S. dollar index rose to 102.44 and gold fell to $2052.60 an ounce.


*              S&P Global released its purchasing manager’s indices for December.  Remember that anything over 50 represents expansion and anything under 50 represents contraction:

                *              U.S. manufacturing PMI fell from 49.4 to 47.9.

                *              U.S. services PMI rose from 50.8 to 51.4.

                *              Mexico manufacturing PMI fell from 52.5 to 52.0.

                *              Canada manufacturing PMI fell from 47.7 to 45.4.

                *              Canada services PMI fell from 46.5 to 46.4.

                *              Eurozone manufacturing PMI rose from 44.2 to 44.4.

                *              Eurozone services PMI rose from 48.7 to 48.8.

                *              China manufacturing PMI rose from 50.7 to 50.8.

                *              China services PMI rose from 51.5 to 52.9.

*              The Commerce Department reported:

                *              Construction spending rose 0.4% in November following a 1.2% rise in October.

*              The Labor Department reported:

                *              The monthly JOLTS report showed:

                                *              Job openings were little changed at 8.8MM.

                                *              Job hires fell to 5.5MM.

                                *              Total separations fell to 5.3MM.

                                                *              Job quits fell to 3.5MM.

                *              The U.S. added 216,000 jobs in December. 

                                *              The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%.

                                *              The labor force participation rate fell to 62.5%.

                                *              Wages grew 0.4% in December after rising 0.4% in November.

                                                *              From a year ago wages have risen 4.1%.

                *              Seasonally adjusted first-time claims for unemployment were 202,000, ab decrease from the previous week’s revised level of 220,000.

                                *              The 4-week moving average of claims, designed to smooth out volatility, was 207,750, a decrease of 4750 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 14BN cubic feet and above the highest it has been during the past five years at this time of year.

*              Baker Hughes reported the number of oil rigs gained 1 to 501 and the number of natural gas rigs fell 2 to 118.

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).


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