What I’m Watching This Week – 12 September 2016

The Markets (as of market close September 9, 2016)

Equities indexes rebounded early last week as lackluster economic reports in the labor and manufacturing sectors, coupled with a falling dollar, appear to be fueling speculation that the Fed won’t be raising interest rates following its meeting later this month. Energy shares made some positive headway early in the week, contributing to positive market returns.

However, by the close of the week, stocks and bonds posted their largest losses since the Brexit vote in June, as traders pulled an about-face, fearing that central banks would not continue further economic stimulus. First, the European Central Bank refused to commit to further stimulus. Then a few members of the Federal Reserve intimated that the time may be ripe for an interest rate increase.

By week’s end, the Dow had dropped over 400 points. Each of the indexes listed here (with the exception of the Global Dow) fell over 2.0%, led by the Russell 2000, which reversed the prior week’s gains with a fall in value of over 2.6%.

The price of crude oil (WTI) closed at $45.71 a barrel last week, up from $44.36 per barrel the previous week. The price of gold (COMEX) gained, closing at $1,331.80 by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week’s price of $1,328.50. The national average retail regular gasoline price decreased for the first time in three weeks, falling to $2.223 per gallon on September 5, $0.014 lower than the prior week’s price and $0.214 below a year ago.

Market/Index 2015 Close Prior Week As of 9/9 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 17425.03 18491.96 18085.45 -2.20% 3.79%
Nasdaq 5007.41 5249.90 5125.91 -2.36% 2.37%
S&P 500 2043.94 2179.98 2127.81 -2.39% 4.10%
Russell 2000 1135.89 1251.83 1219.21 -2.61% 7.34%
Global Dow 2336.45 2463.98 2442.56 -0.87% 4.54%
Fed. Funds target rate 0.25%-0.50% 0.25%-0.50% 0.25%-0.50% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 2.26% 1.60% 1.67% 7 bps -59 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 number of job openings increased to 5.9 million on the last business day of July, an increase of 228,000 from June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Most of the job gains occurred in the private sector, including professional and business services and durable goods manufacturing. The number of hires was 5.2 million in July, little changed from June.
  • The Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report, which is based on a survey of the nation’s purchasing and supply executives, covers non-manufacturing industries including utilities, real estate, hotel and food services, education, and health care. The majority of survey respondents indicated that there has been a slowing in the level of business for their respective companies, as non-manufacturing business activity, new orders, employment, and prices each decreased in August from July. According to the report, the ISM® Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI®) fell to 51.4% in August from July’s reading of 55.5%. A reading over 50% indicates growth, so the non-manufacturing sector grew in August, but at a slower pace compared to the previous month.
  • In the week ended September 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment insurance claims was 259,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the prior week’s unrevised level. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate remained at 1.6%. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ended August 27 was 2,144,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised level.

Eye on the Week Ahead

Several key economic reports are released this week ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Inflationary trends may be gleaned from the perspective of both the seller (producer prices and retail sales) and the consumer (consumer prices).