U.S. and World News
- A year after the vote for Britain to leave the European Union, Brexit talks have finally begun in Brussels. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will be sitting down with U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis to work through the details of the anticipated two year separation process. Additionally, Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled an offer to allow at least 3 million EU citizens living in the U.K. to stay after Brexit, an offer that was welcomed by other European heads of state, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
- Senate Republicans released their version of the healthcare reform legislation this week, giving the public their first chance to see what their iteration looks like. The Senate version is similar to the House bill in that both would radically overhaul Medicaid, remove the individual and employer mandates as well as eliminate taxes tied to Obamacare. There are also some differences, for instance, the Senate version would provide subsidies based on income, cost of coverage and age, as opposed to just age as was in the House bill. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is expected to issue its analysis of the bill early next week.
- Markets ended the week slightly higher. The S&P 500 rose by 0.22% and closed at 2,438. The Dow Jones increased by 0.05% for the week and closed at 21,395. Year to date, the S&P is up 9.98% and the Dow is up 9.52%.
- Interest rates held steady this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.76% and 2.14%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil slid 3.78% this week, closing at $43.11 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 19.75%.
- The spot price of Gold ended the week modestly higher, closing at $1,256.67 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 9.51%.
- Initial jobless claims increased by 3,000 from last week, coming in at 241,000. The Labor Department noted no unusual factors affecting the data this week. The four week moving average for claims moved up to 245,000.
- Existing home sales rose 1.1% in May, beating consensus expectations of a -0.4% decline in sales. Sales of single family units rose 1.0%, while sales of multi-family unites increased by 1.6%. By region, existing home sales increased in the Northeast (+6.8%), West (+3.4%), and South (+2.2%), but declined in the Midwest (-5.9%).
- New home sales increased by 2.9% in May, following a -7.9% decline in April. The result was better than consensus expectations, New home sales increased in the South (+21k), and West (+19k), but declined in the Northeast (-4k) and Midwest (-19k) regions.
Fact of the Week
- Today (6/23) marks the 1 year anniversary of the historic Brexit vote where U.K. citizens elected to leave the European Union. Markets initially moved to the downside following the surprising result, but quickly rebounded. In the one year since the vote, the United Kingdom’s stock market (FTSE 100) has gained 21.8%, outpacing the overall MSCI European Index (+14.2%) and the S&P 500 (+17.7%). (Returns are stated in local currency)
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