U.S. and World News
- The House of Representatives has passed a tax reform bill that would result in the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax system in 31 years. Among some of its provisions, it would reduce the number of individual tax brackets, increase the child tax credit, abolish the estate tax by 2025, cut the corporate tax rate to 20% and make other tweaks aiming to make U.S. businesses more competitive. All is not clear though as attention moves to the Senate’s version which has significant differences such as a one year delay for corporate cuts, eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes and not fully repealing the estate tax.
- Markets marginally fell this week in choppy trade. The S&P fell 0.06% and closed at 2,579. The Dow Jones dipped 0.19% for the week and closed at 23,358. Year to date, the S&P is up 17.27% and the Dow is up 20.76%.
- Interest rates fell a bit this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 2.05% and 2.34%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil decreased by 0.26% this week, closing at $56.59 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have risen 6.30%.
- The spot price of Gold ended the week higher by 1.47%, closing at $1,293.86 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 12.76%.
- Initial jobless claims increased by 10,000 from last week, coming in at 249,000. The Labor Department did not note any distortions to this week’s data. The four week moving average for claims rose to 238,000.
- The headline Consumer Price Index (measure of inflation) rose 0.1% in October, in line with consensus expectations. Over the last 12 months, headline CPI has increased 2.1%.
- Core CPI (excludes food and energy) rose 0.2% in October, also in line with expectations. Over the last year, Core CPI has risen 1.8%.
- Housing starts rose 13.7% in October. The increase was led by a sharp 36.8% rise in the more volatile multifamily starts category. However, single family starts moved higher as well, rising 5.3% in the month. While hurricane rebound effects may explain some of the strength in the South region (+17.2%), starts also moved higher in the Midwest (+18.4%) and the Northeast (+42.2%), but edged lower in the West (-3.7%).
Fact of the Week
- According to the Energy Information Administration, American exports of natural gas will exceed its imports of natural gas in 2017, the first year in which that has happened since 1958.
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