The Week on Wall Street
A Friday rally turned an otherwise mixed week for stocks into a solid performance.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 2.42%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 0.77%. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.38% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, ended marginally higher by 0.13%.1,2,3
Stocks Move Higher
The stock market digested November’s robust gains for much of last week but rallied strongly amid falling bond yields on the last trading day.
Market sentiment remained positive as the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation showed ongoing signs of softening inflation pressures, boosting hopes that the Fed may be able to end its rate hikes and consider rate cuts sometime next year. Investors also welcomed news of solid spending in early holiday sales reports.
The declines in bond yields reflect that the financial markets are positioning for a rate cut soon, even brushing off Fed Chair Powell’s Friday comments suggesting it was premature to consider monetary loosening.
The Personal Consumption Expenditures Price index (PCE)–the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation–was released last week, showing core PCE (excludes energy and food) rose 0.2% in October and 3.5% from a year ago. Both were lower than September’s readings of 0.3% and 3.7%, respectively. Perhaps most notably, core prices rose at a 2.5% annualized rate over the last six months, close to the Fed’s target rate and a big improvement over the previous six-month annualized rate of 4.5% ending April.4
The report also reflected a slowdown in consumer spending, as October’s 0.2% increase was lower than September’s 0.7% gain, a possible indication of the impact of the resumption of student loan repayments, higher prices, and shrinking savings.5
It has no body, but it has a copper head and copper tail. It can be found in the street and in just about any store. What is it?
Last week’s riddle: What do the letter T and an island have in common?
Answer: They are both in the middle of water.
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