The Week on Wall Street
Markets reacted positively last week to cooler inflation and the idea of potential rate cuts next year, adding to the gains of the market’s year-end rally.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.92%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 2.50%. The Nasdaq Composite index picked up 2.85% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, tacked on 2.75%.1,2,3
Stocks gathered momentum last week after upbeat news from two key inflation reports. But the outcome of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Wednesday powered the week’s advance. The combination of the FOMC signaling three rate cuts in 2024 and dovish comments by Fed Chair Powell led to a sharp drop in bond yields and a spike in stock prices, with the Dow Industrials closing above 37,000 and setting an all-time high.4
The rally continued the following day as beneficiaries of lower rates, such as smaller capitalization stocks and real estate, rallied. A solid retail sales number, which reflected a strong consumer and supported the soft landing thesis, also boosted enthusiasm.
The anxiously awaited read on November inflation came close to market expectations, with a 0.1% increase over October and a year-over-year increase of 3.1%. Core inflation, which excludes energy and food prices, came in a bit hotter, rising 0.3% month-over-month and 4.0% from a year ago. A 2.3% decline in energy costs helped offset a 2.9% jump in food prices. Shelter prices remained stubbornly high, rising 0.4% from October and 6.5% from last November.5
The inflation news was better on wholesale prices, tracked by the Producer Price Index (PPI). Producer prices were unchanged in November and higher by just 0.9% year-over-year. Excluding energy and food, the monthly increase was also unchanged.6
Ray slipped off of a 30-foot escalator and landed on a sidewalk. He was embarrassed, yet uninjured. How could this be?
Last week’s riddle: My first is twice in apple but not once in tart. My second is in liver but not in heart. My third is in giant and also in ghost. Whole I’m best when I am roast. What am I?
Answer: A pig.
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