Strong US economic data late in the week helped US Equity Markets reverse losses early in the week from President Trump's comments that a trade deal with China might be better after the election. As a result, the S&P 500 eked out a 0.2% gain for the week to bring its returns for the year up to 25.5%. The Nasdaq could not quite recover is early week losses, declining 0.1% for the week though it remains up 30.5% for the year, while the Russell 2000 (small-cap stocks) rallied on the strength of the US economic data, up 0.6% for the week to increase its gains for the year to 21.2%.
Global equity markets also posted positive returns last week, helped by China indicating late in the week that it would exempt some US agricultural products from tariffs. Developed Markets increased 0.3% for the week to bring its gains for the year to 15.8%. Emerging Markets rose 0.9% for the week, helped by a rally in oil prices. For the year, Emerging Markets are up 8.6%.
Energy prices bounced back notably last week, up 6.6%, on reports that OPEC agreed to more production cuts to avoid an oversupply in the market.. But OPEC did not agree to any action beyond March 2020. For the year, oil prices have risen 29.0%.
Of Interest to Us
US Consumer-related economic data remain strong. Payroll gains for November increased a much-better-than-expected 266K with notable upward revisions to October's Payroll gains. The Unemployment Rate for November dipped to a 50-year low of 3.5%, while average annual wage gains rose 3.1%. Measures of Consumer Sentiment for December also notably topped forecasts. This data continue to suggest a strong outlook for the US consumer and, by extension, the US economy. Manufacturing remains the one pause point, with activity for November falling slightly from October and still in "contractionary" territory.
for the week ending 12/6/2019
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