What I’m Watching This Week – 10 June 2019

The Markets (as of market close June 7, 2019)

Markets rebounded nicely last week on hopes that the Federal Reserve Board will cut interest rates in the near future. Early in the week, chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed was closely watching trade developments and signaled rate cuts may be an option if the economic outlook worsens. And on Friday, a weak jobs report supported the possibility of future rate cuts, further encouraging investors. All the indexes tracked here climbed more than 3%, with the large caps of the Dow and S&P 500 surpassing 4% for the week. With the exception of global stocks, all year-to-date returns topped 10%.

Oil prices rose to $54.04 per barrel by late Friday, up from the prior week’s price of $53.33. The price of gold (COMEX) also rose last week, reaching $1,345.00 by Friday evening, up from the prior week’s price of $1,310.30. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.807 per gallon on June 3, 2019, $0.015 lower than the prior week’s price and $0.133 less than a year ago.

Market/Index 2018 Close Prior Week As of 6/7 Weekly Change YTD Change
DJIA 23327.46 24815.04 25983.94 4.71% 11.39%
Nasdaq 6635.28 7453.15 7742.10 3.88% 16.68%
S&P 500 2506.85 2752.06 2873.34 4.41% 14.62%
Russell 2000 1348.56 1465.49 1514.39 3.34% 12.30%
Global Dow 2736.74 2888.03 2990.88 3.56% 9.29%
Fed. Funds target rate 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 2.25%-2.50% 0 bps 0 bps
10-year Treasuries 2.68% 2.13% 2.09% -4 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 Economic Headlines

  • The employment report revealed an increase of just 75,000 jobs in May, compared to a monthly average of 164,000 in 2019. Gains were reported in professional and business services and health care. Little change was noted in construction, mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government. Hourly wages increased by $0.06 to $27.83, bringing the average increase in hourly earnings over the past year to 3.1%. The March and April figures were revised downward by a total of 75,000 jobs.
  • At 50.5, the IHS Markit U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) reached its lowest level in May since September 2009, as output slowed and new orders dropped for the first time since August 2009. Weak demand and concerns surrounding ongoing trade negotiations caused manufacturers to express their joint-lowest level of confidence since the outlook was first measured in July 2012. The May reading was 2.1 points lower than April. “The data for the second quarter so far have indicated a distinct slowdown in the manufacturing sector compared to the first three months of 2019,” the report said.
  • Although the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Purchasing Managers Index dropped 0.7 percentage point from its April reading to 52.1% in May, the reading indicates that economic activity in the sector continued to expand (a reading above 42.9% over a period of time indicates expansion). New orders, employment, and prices rose, while production, supplier deliveries, and inventories decreased.
  • The ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Index came in at 56.9% in May, 1.4% higher than April. Business activity, new orders, and employment all posted gains, while prices decreased. According to the report, survey respondents “…are optimistic about overall business conditions, but concerns remain about tariffs and employment resources.”
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau “Monthly U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services” report, the deficit fell $1.1 billion from March to April, to $50.8 billion. Exports were $206.8 billion, while imports were $257.6 billion. The April deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $1 billion and an increase in the services deficit of $0.1 billion. Year-to-date, the goods, and services deficit rose $4.1 billion, or 2%, from the same period in April 2018.
  • For the week ended June 1, there were 218,000 claims for unemployment insurance, unchanged from the previous week’s revised level. According to the Department of Labor, the advance rate for insured unemployment claims remained at 1.2% for the week ended May 25. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended May 25 was 1,682,000, an increase of 20,000 from the prior week’s level, which was revised up by 5,000.

Eye on the Week Ahead

Next week, investors and the Federal Reserve Board will get another perspective on how the economy is faring, as inflation numbers are on tap. Other key reports include the federal budget, retail sales, industrial production, and consumer sentiment.

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