Week in Review
Friday’s jobs report sent the major market averages to record highs. U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by a stronger-than-expected 321,000 in November, the best month of job creation in nearly three years, and the prior two month’s tally was revised upward. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.8%. The Dow Industrials moved ahead by 131 points or 0.73% and the S&P 500 gained about half as much to 2,075.37. The NASDAQ, however, fell by a quarter of a percent. Oil continued to move lower on the week, but gold was a little stronger, up about $15/oz. to $1190. On a sector basis, health care continued to shine – as it has for most of the year – and financials were strong on the week, led by aggressive choice JPMorgan Chase advancing $2.54 and posting an intra-week all-time high on Friday of $63.06. Telecommunication stocks were the weak spot as competition in the wireless space is heating up and the stronger economy is once again fueling speculation of rising interest rates. On average, telecoms were off about 4%, as seen with income choices Verizon Communications down $1.98 and the iShares Global Telecom ETF lower by $1.28 for the week. Likewise, bond prices on average declined as the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield jumped to 2.31% from 2.26% following the jobs report. Looking ahead, not too much that’s newsworthy on the economic front and much of the focus will be on retailers as we head into the height of the holiday buying season. And Europe is also a recurring wild-card. Upbeat economic metrics, decent earnings and dovish Federal Reserve policies continue to support this bull market, which shows no signs of ending just yet.
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