What I’m Watching This Week – 17 November 2014

The Markets

Though trading remained within a relatively narrow range, especially compared with recent weeks, the S&P 500 nevertheless managed to hit a new record high, while the Nasdaq’s weekly gain kept it in the lead year-to-date. A fresh drop in oil prices brought the price of West Texas Intermediate crude to roughly $75 a barrel.

Market/Index 2013 Close Prior Week As of 11/14 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 16576.66 17573.93 17634.74 .35% 6.38%
Nasdaq 4176.59 4632.53 4688.54 1.21% 12.26%
S&P 500 1848.36 2031.89 2039.82 .39% 10.36%
Russell 2000 1163.64 1173.32 1173.80 .04% .87%
Global Dow 2484.10 2516.73 2529.28 .50% 1.82%
Fed. Funds .25% .25% .25% 0% 0%
10-year Treasuries 3.04% 2.32% 2.32% 0 bps -72 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

– The United States and China agreed to take steps to combat climate change. For the first time, China agreed to cap its output of greenhouse gases no later than 2030 and increase its reliance on zero-emission energy sources to 20% by the same deadline. The United States will cut emissions by 17% by 2020 and by 28% by 2025, which would double the current pace at which it is reducing carbon emissions.

– Despite growth in some of the eurozone’s weakest members, the region as a whole was hampered by sluggishness in the larger economies. The eurozone as a whole grew 0.2% during the third quarter, according to the European Union’s statistical agency. Germany expanded just 0.1%, while Italy’s economy contracted for the 11th time in the last 13 quarters. However, Spain’s GDP was up 0.5% and Greece’s increased by 0.7%–the eurozone’s highest Q3 growth rate.

– President Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet as a public utility and adopt rules supporting so-called “net neutrality,” which would prevent broadband companies from manipulating transmission speeds or offering a so-called “fast lane” for customers willing to pay more.

– A dispute in the publishing world between Amazon and publisher Hachette ended a months-long dispute over who would set prices for books sold through Amazon. The agreement reportedly would allow Hachette to control the price of its books but give the publisher an incentive to keep prices low.

– Lower gas prices may have helped U.S. retail sales rise 0.3% in September. According to the Commerce Department, sales were up 4.1% from a year ago.

– The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey showed that the number of both new hires and people quitting their jobs increased in September. The number of new hires hit its highest level since December 2007 and the quits rate seen as an indicator of workers’ confidence in their ability to get another job was higher than it’s been since April 2008.

Eye on the Week Ahead

In the wake of the end of quantitative easing, minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting will be of interest, especially if there are any clues to committee members’ thinking about future interest rate increases. Also on tap are data on the manufacturing sector and inflation.