U.S. and World News
- The House of Commons will vote on Theresa May’s new Brexit withdrawal agreement on December 11th, which calls for London to follow many of the European bloc’s rules in an effort to keep trade agreements intact. Meanwhile, people in the “Remain” group are hopeful that the European Union’s top court will determine that the U.K. can unilaterally cancel Brexit after it has been completed. European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has advised Britain that this agreement is “the only one possible”.
- President Trump has threatened to raise tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of Chinese goods effective January 1st and institute tariffs on $267 billion more Chinese imports that would include iPhones and laptops. The announcement preludes the G20 summit in Argentina taking place this weekend that will be attended by President Trump, Xi Jinping. President Trump and the Chinese President are expected to have a dinner meeting on Saturday night to discuss trade.
- Tensions are rising between Vladimir Putin and Ukraine after Russia captured and fired upon three Ukrainian navy vessels that had entered the Kerch strait near Crimea last weekend. Russia is now planning to deploy more surface-to-air missile systems to the area. Ukraine is calling for NATO to deploy warships to the sea of Azov, between the two countries.
- Stocks rebounded this week. The S&P 500 gained 4.91% and closed at 2,760.16. The Dow Jones rose 5.52% and closed at 25,538.46. Year to date, the S&P is up 5.10% and the Dow Jones is up 5.54%.
- Yields dropped again from last week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are yielding 2.82% and 2.99%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose slightly this week, up 0.36% and closing at $50.60 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices are down 16.17%.
- The spot price of Gold fell 0.07% this week and closed at $1,222.12 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are down 6.19%.
- Initial jobless claims rose by 10,000 to 234,000 this week. The four-week moving average of claims rose by 4,000 to 223,000. Claims rose by 5,000 in New York, 3,000 in Pennsylvania, and 2,000 in Georgia.
- The core PCE price index ex-food and energy rose by 0.10% month-over-month in October versus expectations for a 0.2%. The year-over-year rate fell 0.2% to 1.8% versus expectations for 1.9%.
- Personal income rose by 0.5% month-over-month in October versus expectations for a 0.4% increase.
- Consumer spending rose by 0.6% in October versus expectations for a 0.4% increase.
- Pending home sales fell by 2.6% in October versus expectations for a 0.5% increase. Declines were led by the West region.
- Sales of new single-family homes fell by 8.9% in October to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 544k versus expectations of 575k. This is the lowest level since March 2016.
- Second-quarter GDP growth was unrevised and remained at 3.5% versus expectations for a revision to 3.6%.
- The October goods trade deficit increased by $1.2 billion to $77.2 billion, versus expectations for a reading of $77.0 billion.
- Wholesale inventories rose 0.7% in October versus expectations for a 0.4% increase.
- The Conference Board index of consumer confidence fell 2.2 points to 135.7 in November, in-line with expectations.
Fact of the Week
- Outstanding student loan debt in the US doubled from $360 million to $720 billion from 3/31/05 to 12/31/09. It double again to $1.44 trillion as of 9/30/18.
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