U.S. and World News
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average finally eclipsed the 20,000 mark for the first time, having flirted with the mark for more than a month. The benchmark index took 103 years to reach the 10,000 level in March 1999 and another 17 years to double. The latest 1,000 points added to the Dow came in the last 42 trading days as a post-election stock market rally sent major U.S. indices to new all-time highs.
- In his first full week in office, President Trump has been very busy enacting many of the initiatives that he laid out on the campaign trail. He began by withdrawing the U.S. from the TPP trade agreement that had been established with many Asian nations like Japan and promising to renegotiate the NAFTA trade deal currently in place with Canada and Mexico. This was followed by executive orders clearing the path for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline projects to move forward after they had been blocked by the Obama administration. Finally, Trump reiterated his intention on building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and insisted that Mexico would be footing the bill for the massive project. These statements resulted in Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelling a planned trip to meet with Trump and tensions rose further when White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggested Trump was considering a 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay for the wall. On tap for next week will be Trump’s nomination for the vacant Supreme Court seat.
- This week the S&P 500 rose by 1.04%, closing at 2,295. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassed the 20,000 mark, increasing by 1.34% and closed at 20,094.
- Interest rates were mostly unchanged this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes now yield 1.95% and 2.48%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil increased by 1.29% this week and closed at $53.12 per barrel.
- The spot price of Gold dropped by 1.51% this week, closing at $1,191.35 per ounce.
- Weekly initial jobless claims came in at 259,000, an increase from last week’s reading of 235,000. The Labor Department noted no major distortions to the data this week. The four week moving average for jobless claims now stands at 245,000 setting a new low mark since 1973.
- New home sales fell by 10.4% in December which was worse than consensus expectations. Only new home sales in the Northeast region rose during the month as the Midwest, South and Wet all saw declines.
- Real GDP in the 4th quarter grew by an annualized 1.9%, missing expectations for a 2.2% gain. This brings full year 2016 growth to just under 2.0%.
Fact of the Week
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average was launched in 1896 and consisted of 12 companies. The index expanded to 20 companies in 1916 and grew to its current size of 30 companies in 1928 when the components of the index started being referred to as “Blue Chips”. General Electric is the only stock currently in the index that was part of the original 12, although it was removed from the index twice (in 1898 and in 1901) but returned to the index both times.
- CORRECTION: Last week’s fact incorrectly stated market returns during the Obama presidency in relation to other Presidents. A total return (includes dividends) was quoted for Obama while comparing it to Clinton’s price-only returns. The correct figures were 13.8% annualized returns during Obama’s tenure and 15.2% annualized returns during Clinton’s.
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