U.S. and World News
- In one of her last appearances as Fed Chairman, Janet Yellen discussed the direction of policy and Wall Street oversight at NYU Stern School of Business. The scheduled discussion comes after Yellen stated her resignation from the Fed’s Board of Governors once Jerome Powell is sworn into the office. Her departure will leave yet another vacancy at the central bank.
- Germany has been pushed into political uncertainty due to Angela Merkel’s failure to form a three-way coalition government. The news dropped the euro as much as 0.7% to $1.1720 overnight. Immigration, climate change, Europe, and taxation were stated to be the irreconcilable differences that caused the Free Democrats to pull out unexpectedly, despite more than four weeks of negotiations. After the formation of the coalition collapsed, Angel Merkel stated she would prefer fresh elections to reigning with a minority government. It is the worst governing crisis in the history of Germany’s post-WWII democracy according to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He has compelled all parties in the parliament “to serve our country” and form a government.
- Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be replacing President Robert Mugabe as leader of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU_PF party. The dismissal follows a de facto military coup and will likely send political shockwaves across Africa. Mnangagwa will focus on rebuilding ties with the outside world and stabilizing an economy in free fall.
- Markets were up for the week with the S&P up 0.93% reaching a record high of 2,602. The Dow Jones rose 0.89% for the week and closed at 23,558. Year to date, the S&P is up 18.36% and the Dow is up 21.83%.
- Interest rates were flat for the week with the 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes yielding 2.06% and 2.34%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil increased by 3.93% this week, closing at $58.95 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have risen 3.44%.
- The spot price of Gold ended the week off by 0.30%, closing at $1,288.58 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 12.29%.
- Initial jobless claims dropped 13,000 from last week, coming in at 239,000. Filings also fell for Puerto Rico’s 10-year high, which continues to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The four week moving average for claims rose to 240,000.
- Existing Home sales rose 2.0% in October, beating consensus expectations of 0.2%. Sales increases were broad-based across property types with single family sales +2.1% and condos and co-ops +1.7%.
Fact of the Week
- Over $40 Billion of gift cards value has gone unused. With over $150 Billion in gift card sales projected in 2017, it is estimated that over $1 Billion of value will again go unused.
- Gift cards are the #1 requested gifts, preferred by over 60% of gift recipients.
- 93% of consumers will buy or receive a gift card this year.
- 72% of customers will spend more than the value of their card.
- 10% of gift cards will be e-gifted digital cards in 2017.
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