- The Ukrainian government said Friday it regained control of the separatist stronghold of Lysychansk after several days of fierce fighting, a move it said would pave the way to take back a string of other important rebel-held positions. Kiev has reported steady progress in its fight against the separatists. But its efforts have been hampered by what it says is a flow of weapons and artillery fire from across the border that hasn’t stopped even after last week’s downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17–an allegation the U.S. backed on Thursday but that Russia has repeatedly denied.
- Hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank protested Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip on Friday, as an 18th day of fighting in the coastal territory claimed the life of an Israeli soldier, an Islamic Jihad official, and Palestinian civilians. Protesters waving the green flag of Hamas marched through the center of Ramallah, calling on Israeli forces to get out of Gaza and urging the leaders of the Fatah movement, a longtime rival of Hamas, to support Gaza’s Islamist leaders. One of the West Bank’s largest street protests in years on Thursday ended in clashes with the Israeli army that left two Palestinians dead. The West Bank, separated from Gaza by Israeli territory, had remained relatively calm this month as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s security forces, with the urging of Israel, worked to contain unrest. But tension there boiled over Thursday after 16 Palestinians were killed in Gaza in the shelling of a United Nations-run shelter where hundreds had taken refuge from Israeli shelling.
- Markets rose this week despite the geopolitical turmoil and a sharply negative Thursday trading session. The S&P 500 was flat and closed at 1,978. The Dow Jones dipped slightly (0.8%) closing at 19,961. Year to date, the S&P is up 7.0% and the Dow is up 2.3%.
- Interest rates remained steady this week, with the 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are yielding 1.67% and 2.46%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose by .03% this week, closing at $101.99 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have risen 7.72%.
- The spot price of Gold dropped .25% this week, closing at $1,307.55 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 8.8%.
- The Consumer Price Index Ex-food and energy was reported to +1.9% above year ago levels and in line with the expected +2.0%.
- Existing home sales was for the month of June were reported to be 5.04 million units ahead of the expected 4.99 units.
- Initial jobless claims created excitement by being reported 18,000 below expectations.
- On July 30, 2014, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee is expected to release the Federal Funds Rate; with no change being anticipated.
Fact of the Week
- … is out of the office.
- Happy Summer
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