November 28th – Weekly Update

  • U.S. equity indexes posted another week of solid gains with the Nasdaq, S&P 500 and Dow Jones reaching record levels during the period. Small-cap stocks also reached a new record high with the Russell 2000 gaining over 2% for the week contributing to an approximate year-to-date gain of 18.5%. Oil was slightly up and gold closed lower for the period. The 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield ended the week at approximately 2.4%.
  • While politics continued to grab headlines at both the domestic and international levels, the market impact seemed negligible. In the minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, participants cited a case to raise rates “relatively soon.” According to Bloomberg’s world interest rate probability data, traders are presently pricing in 100% probability for a December hike.
  • October existing U.S. home sales surged to the highest level in 10 years. Pre-owned home sales were 5.6 million, a level 5.9% higher than a year ago. High demand and low supply have been driving prices up approximately 5% a year. First-time buyers who were previously lacking made up 33% of all purchases in October, slightly lower than the month before but higher than in recent years.
  • Weekly U.S. unemployment claims came in at 251,000, in line with the 250,000 estimate. This marks 90 consecutive weeks where claims have been less than 300,000 – the threshold for a strong labor market.
  • U.K. 3Q gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated to have increased by 0.5% quarter over quarter. This is the first full-quarter GDP data released since Brexit and implies that the U.K. economy remains generally uninfluenced by the referendum. GDP was 2.3% higher in 3Q 2016 compared to 3Q 2015.
  • From August to September 2016, total U.K. exports decreased 0.4% while imports increased by 2.5% to reach a record high according to the Office of National Statistics.
  • Economic expansion in the euro zone accelerated at the fastest pace this year according to the preliminary “flash” Markit Eurozone PMI which came in at 54.1 in November, rising from 53.3 in October.

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