Week in Review
In the Labor Day shortened week, investors shrugged off news of a slowdown in Europe leading to the European Central Bank cutting the already low interest rate from 0.15% to 0.05% and announced Fed-like plans for more stimulus to help out the multi-nation economy. The issue here is that the euro zone accounts for 20% of the world’s GDP and any significant sluggishness across the pond will eventually come back to haunt U.S.-based multi-nationals. Thanks in part to a rally on Friday, the Dow and the S&P 500 managed a 0.25% gain for the week and the NASDAQ was able to eke out a 2.63 point advance. The S&P closed at an all-time high of 2007.71. All but the technology and energy sectors moved ahead, led by consumer services and utilities. Gold continued to slide about $20/ounce and oil moved lower with West Texas crude closing the week at $93.29/bbl. Middle Eastern tensions are not getting any better, but there was some fleeting hope out of the fighting in Eastern Europe late in the week. But a cease-fire by Ukraine may be just a temporary gesture as it fights off a takeover by Russian separatists. U.S. job growth slowed to 142,000; much lower than expected and the smallest gain for this key economic figure in a year. The report should give the Fed reason to pause before pulling the trigger on raising interest rates, another market wild-card. However, the long-term upward direction for stocks appears to be intact despite persistent political and economic woes. With few investment alternatives to equities, it would be wise to remain committed to your investment goals for now.
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