Domestic equities suffered for a second week as end-of-year profit-taking was joined by renewed Fed tapering concerns in light of a budget agreement in Washington and encouraging retail sales. Meanwhile, bond investors seemed to hold their collective breath in advance of the Fed’s upcoming meeting as the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury ended last week where it began.
|Market/Index||2012 Close||Prior Week||As of 12/13||Week Change||YTD Change|
|Fed. Funds||.25%||.25%||.25%||0 bps||0 bps|
|10-year Treasuries||1.78%||2.88%||2.88%||0 bps||110 bps|
Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.
Last Week’s Headlines
- A bipartisan budget conference committee reached an agreement that could mean the end of congressional budgetary standoffs for two years. The agreement, which was passed by the House, is scheduled to be taken up by the Senate this week. The legislation tweaks the sequester cuts that went into effect earlier this year and makes modest reductions in the U.S. deficit over the next 10 years.
- Five regulatory bodies approved adoption of the so-called Volker rule, which is intended to curb certain banking practices that were partly responsible for the 2008 financial crisis. The provisions prohibit proprietary trading by large banks, put limits on market-making and hedging activities, and limit compensation arrangements that encourage the sort of risky trading that led to JPMorgan Chase’s costly 2012 “London Whale” debacle. Banks will have until mid-2015 to comply with the regulations.
- The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.7% in November, putting them 4.7% higher than a year earlier. It was the biggest increase in five months and was led by sales of cars and electronics.
- Wholesale prices fell 0.1% in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That put the annual wholesale inflation rate for the last year at 0.7%.
- Mary Barra, head of General Motors’ global product development group, was named the company’s chief executive officer. She is the first woman to become CEO of one of the Big Three automakers.
Eye on the Week Ahead
All eyes will once again be on the Fed this week as it meets for the last time this year.
Key dates and data releases: U.S. industrial production, business productivity/costs, international capital flows, Empire State manufacturing survey (12/16); consumer inflation (12/17); Federal Open Market Committee announcement, housing starts (12/18); home resales, Philly Fed manufacturing survey (12/19); quadruple witching options expiration, final Q3 GDP estimate (12/20).
Data sources: All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e., wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. Market data: U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); WSJ Market Data Center (equities); Federal Reserve Board (Fed Funds target rate); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold, NY close); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
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