The Week on Wall Street
Stocks surged higher in the closing days of a holiday-shortened trading week, ignited by a political resolution on raising the debt ceiling and a strong employment report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.02%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 1.83%. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 2.04% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slipped 0.52%.1,2,3
A Sigh of Relief
The weight of uncertainty over negotiations to raise the federal debt ceiling was lifted last week by the news of an agreement between President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy and its subsequent passage in Congress.
After a modest gain on Thursday following the House vote, stocks rallied on Friday, responding to the Senate passage of the debt ceiling bill, which eliminated a significant overhang to the market. A robust federal employment report also contributed to the Friday rally. The report exceeded market expectations in the growth of new jobs while reflecting a deceleration in wage growth.
The Irrepressible Labor Market
Last week’s employment data showed that the labor market remains stout after over a year of sharp interest rate hikes.
Job openings in April increased to more than 10 million, reversing three straight months of declines, while private sector employment increased by 278,000 jobs in May, according to a survey by Automated Data Processing (ADP), a significant payroll processor.4,5
In line with these strong numbers, the Department of Labor reported 339,000 new jobs were added in May. That came above the consensus estimate of 190,000 and marked the 29th consecutive month of positive growth.6
A friend wants change for a dollar. All you have in your pocket are over a dollar in coins, but you still can’t make the change correctly. What is the largest amount of money you could have in this situation? What coins do you have that prevent you from making the change correctly?
Last week’s riddle: An eccentric farmer requests that you build four pens for his nine sheep but only allow an odd number of sheep in each pen. How do you accomplish this?
Answer: Build three pens, each holding three sheep. Build a fourth pen surrounding the other pens, containing all nine sheep.
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