U.S. and World News
- Minutes from the September Federal Reserve meeting were released this week and included comments about the near-term effects from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria but generally expressed unchanged views on underlying growth and inflation conditions. Many participants thought that another rate increase this year was likely warranted “if the medium term outlook remained broadly unchanged,” and consensus views continue to call for three rate hikes in 2018. The Fed will meet twice more in 2017, in November and in December, and the market is currently pricing in a 73% probability of a rate hike in December.
- The Catalonia saga continued on this week, though tensions have somewhat eased. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, declared independence for the region but then halted the separation process to instead propose talks with the Spanish government. With the act, Puigdemont and his team remain in danger of being arrested for sedition, and Spanish President Mariano Rajoy had previously rejected any talks until secession plans were abandoned. Spanish and other European markets experienced a relief rally as a result of Catalonia choosing the more diplomatic option.
- Markets grinded higher with both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average setting new All-Time Highs during the week. The S&P rose 0.17% and closed at 2,553. The Dow Jones rose 0.43% for the week and closed at 22,872. Year to date, the S&P is up 15.86% and the Dow is up 17.92%.
- Interest rates pulled back this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.90% and 2.27%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil increased by 4.20% this week, closing at $51.36 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 4.26%.
- The spot price of Gold ended the week higher by 2.09%, closing at $1,303.41 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 13.59%.
- Initial jobless claims decreased by 15,000 from last week, coming in at 245,000, only modestly above its pre-hurricane level. Jobless claims continued to normalize in the hurricane-affected states. The four week moving average for claims fell to 258,000.
- The headline Consumer Price Index (measure of inflation) rose 0.5% in September, slightly missing expectations of 0.6%. Headline CPI was boosted by a 6.1% increase in energy prices during the month. Over the last 12 months, the CPI is up 2.2%.
- Core CPI (excludes food and energy prices) increased 0.1% in the month, missing forecasts of 0.2%. Over the last year, core inflation has risen 1.7%.
- Retail sales rose 1.6% for September, just below the forecast of 1.7%. After seeing weakness in August due to the hurricanes, September’s sales bounced back with auto sales rising 3.6% and gas station sales rising 5.6%.
Fact of the Week
- It was 10 years ago this week (10/9/07) that the S&P 500 peaked at a then all-time high of 1,565. The very next day, the index began a substantial 17 month slide that dragged the S&P down 57%, its worst bear market loss in the last 80 years. With the S&P closing at 2,553 on Friday, even if an investor had bought the 2007 market top on 10/9/07, they would have still experienced a 7.3% annualized total return (includes dividends) over the last 10 years. (Source: BTN Research)
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