||As of 11/2
Equities data reflect price changes, not total return.
Last Week’s Headlines
- Estimates of the damage done by last week’s superstorm, including not only property damage but lost revenue from business activity, reached as high as $50 billion. Some economists warned that Sandy’s economic impact could cut as much as 0.5% from the nation’s gross domestic product in the fourth quarter, though rebuilding efforts also could add to GDP in subsequent quarters.
- The U.S. economy added 171,000 jobs in October and job growth in the previous two months was revised upward, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 7.8% to 7.9%, in part because more people once again sought to enter the labor force.
- There was more good news from the housing market as home prices continued to rise in August, though at a slightly slower pace than the month before. The 0.9% increase in the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index, which followed July’s 1.6% increase, put prices at their highest level since September 2010, and up 2% from August 2011.
- Consumers spent more in September, according to the Commerce Department, but they may have been dipping into their savings to do so. While spending was up 0.8%, the personal savings rates fell to 3.3% of income–the third straight month of declines in the savings rate. Meanwhile, personal incomes were up 0.4%, although they were essentially unchanged after accounting for taxes and inflation.
- U.S. manufacturing also saw some encouraging signs. New factory orders grew more during September–4.8%–than in any month in more than a year, according to the Commerce Department. Business productivity rose 1.9% in the third quarter–about the same pace as in Q2–and the number of hours worked was up 1.3%. Almost all of the gains came in the services sector rather than manufacturing, which has been hurt by reduced global demand. However, in October, the Institute for Supply Management’s index of manufacturing activity saw a second month of accelerating expansion, rising to 51.7% (anything above 50% represents growth).
Eye on the Week Ahead
Let the games begin: Financial markets are likely to begin assessing how the election results might affect the January 1 fiscal cliff and renewed debate over the debt ceiling. Also, both the European Central Bank and Bank of England will meet, and the Greek parliament will vote on fresh austerity and budget measures.
Key dates and data releases: U.S. services sector (11/5); balance of trade (11/8).
Data sources: Includes data provided by Brounes & Associates. All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. 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.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indexes listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.