U.S. and World News
- Minutes from the January Fed meeting were released this week and comments from many of the participants indicated that it would be appropriate to raise interest rates again “fairly soon” if upcoming data are in line with expectations. Members mostly only saw a modest risk of a significant increase in inflation pressures and thought the Fed would have “ample time” to respond if necessary. The market is currently pricing in a 40% probability that the Fed raises interest rates at their next meeting in March.
- Markets rose this week with continued low volatility. The S&P 500 gained 0.73% and closed at 2,367 which is an All-Time High. The Dow Jones followed suit by rising 0.99% and closing at an All-Time High of 20,822. Year to date, the S&P is up 6.08% and the Dow is up 5.80%.
- Interest rates fell this week and the 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.80% and 2.31%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil was up 1.83% this week, closing at $54.02 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have risen 0.56%.
- The spot price of Gold increased by 1.83% this week, closing at $1,257.19 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 9.56%.
- Initial jobless claims rose 5,000 from last week, coming in at 244,000. The Labor Department noted no special factors in the data. The four week moving average for claims now stands at 241,000 which is a new 40-year low.
- New home sales rose by 3.7% in January which was a smaller rise than expected. New home sales rose in the Midwest, South and Northeast regions but fell in the West.
- Existing home sales rose 3.3% in January. Sales of single family units rose 2.6% while multi-family unit sales rose 8.3%.
Fact of the Week
- The Dow finished Friday at a new record high for the 11th consecutive day, the best streak of consecutive new highs since 1987.
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