Blog Post

The Past Week in the Markets

Stocks had significant gains for the sixth consecutive week.  Contributing to the gains this week:

  1. The Federal Reserve announcement gave the impression that it not only may be pausing, it may have finished it’s cycle of raising rates.
  2. Generally positive comments from both U.S. and Chinese officials following high level trade negotiations.
  3. A rebound in new-home sales in November.
  4. A robust jobs number for January.
  5. Generally positive corporate earnings announcements through the week.

The dollar ended the week lower against a basket of currencies, falling sharply after the FED’s comments.  The 10-year Treasury fell to 2.685%. Crude oil and gold prices rose for the week.

In the numbers this week:

  • The private Caixin/Market Manufacturing PMI fell to 48.3 in January down from 49.7 in December showing contraction in Chinese manufacturing.
  • The Nikkei Japan Manufacturing PMI fell to 50.3 in January down from 52.6 in December but still represents expansion.
  • Canada reported its gross domestic product shrank 0.1% in November but was up 1.7% from a year earlier.
  • The Commerce Department Reported New-home sales rose 16.9% in November.  From a year ago, November new home sales were down 7.7%.  Higher mortgage rates and higher new home prices have weighed on new home sales in 2018.  However, 30-year mortgage rates peaked at 5% in November and are now down to 4.5%.
  • The Labor Department reported
    • First time claims for unemployment rose 53,000 to a seasonally adjusted 253,000.  The figure still includes 14,739 federal workers whose unemployment claims are reported a week late.  The four week moving average of claims rose 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 220,250.
    • The employment-cost index rose 0.7% in the fourth quarter with wages and salaries rising 0.6%.  From a year earlier, employment costs rose 2.9% and wages have risen 3.2%.
    • The U.S. added 304,000 jobs in January.  This marks the 100th straight month of job gains.  Ironically the unemployment rate rose to 4.0% as more people reentered the workforce.
  • The Energy Information Administration weekly report is here wpsrsummaryattached.  Also, the EIA reported
    • U.S. Crude oil production remained at 11.9MM barrels per day.
    • Storage of natural gas fell 173BN cubic feet.
    • Baker Hughes reported in the past week that the number of active oil rigs fell 15 to 847 and the number of active gas rigs rose 1 to 198.
  • Factset reported with 46% of S&P 500 companies reporting earnings, the blended earnings growth rate in the 4th quarter was 12.2%.  70% of companies reporting had positive earnings surprises and 62% had positive revenue surprises.

Please call us if you have any questions or concerns about your accounts.

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

Tel 269-441-4090

Carrie Fuce, Assistant 269-441-4091

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Registered Representative of and securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.  Cambridge and Generations Financial Planning & Wealth Management are separate companies and are not affiliated.

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.


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