U.S. and World News
- After an extended period of low-volatility and complacency in the markets, global political news shook markets on Wednesday. Weighing on U.S. markets were reports of President Trump allegedly sharing classified information with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador, and ongoing inquiries to the Comey termination. U.S markets have recovered most of the losses since Wednesday.
- A political crisis has unfolded in Brazil as the potential for a second impeachment in a just over a year has arisen after reports that President Temer was recorded discussing and endorsing payment of hush money to a former associate who was jailed for corruption. The Brazilian currency and stock market were sharply negative on the news. Just this morning, President Temer announced that he refuses to step down and that his innocence would be revealed by a full investigation.
- Emmanuel Macron was sworn in as the new President of France Sunday. The European equity market saw equity fund inflows of a record $6.1 billion following Macron’s victory and analysts are projecting even more in the months ahead. Emmanuel Macron is dedicated to returning growth and confidence to the economy and in his first joint news conference with Angela Merkel he stated “First, we need to work on what we want to change, and then if it turns out it needs a treaty change, then we’re prepared to do that.”
- Markets dipped a bit this week, continuing the period of low volatility. The S&P 500 fell 0.26% and closed at a of 2,391. The Dow Jones lost 0.34% for the week and closed at 20,897. Year to date, the S&P is up 7.56% and the Dow is up 6.67%.
- Interest rates also moved lower this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.77% and 2.23%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose 5.29% this week, closing at $50.37 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 6.24%.
- The spot price of Gold ended the week higher, closing at $1,255.07 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 9.37%.
- Initial jobless claims fell by 4,000 from last week, coming in at 232,000. Claims remained particularly low in several energy-producing states year-to-date. The four week moving average for claims ticked down to 241,000.
- Housing starts were down -2.6% in April which were below expectations of a 3.7% gain. The decline was led by multifamily homes which declined by -9.2%.
- Building permits declined -2.5% versus expectations of 0.2%.
- Industrial production increased 1% versus expectations of 0.4%.
- Manufacturing production increased 1% versus expectations of 0.4%.
Fact of the Week
- According to a recent research report by Strategas Research Partners, “Twenty years ago, there were nearly 7,500 publicly traded U.S. stocks and only a handful of major indexes to track them. Fast forward to 2017 and the number of individual equities has declined to just barely 4,000 and astonishingly, the number of indexes now totals more than 5,000. There are now more indexes than publicly traded U.S. equities.” (Source: Strategas Research Partners)
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