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Leigh Baldwin & Co.

112 Albany Street, Cazenovia, NY 13035 | Phone: (315) 655-2964 Toll Free: 1-800-659-8044

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The Week In Review

11/7/14

The major averages ended Friday on a quiet note with the S&P 500 (unch) locking in a 0.7% gain for the week. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq (-0.1%) spent the duration of the day in negative territory to end the week unchanged.

This morning, the latest Nonfarm Payrolls report revealed the addition of 214,000 jobs in October. The reading came in below the Briefing.com consensus estimate (235,000), but the overall tone of the report did not represent a departure from recent trends. Furthermore, the data did not stoke up fears of the Fed being in a rush to hike the fed funds rate. To that point, the 10-yr note rallied, sending its yield lower by eight basis points to 2.30% while the Dollar Index (87.58, -0.44) took a step back from its best level since mid-2010. The index narrowed its weekly gain to 0.7%.

The weaker dollar served as a supportive factor for crude oil, which climbed 1.0% to $78.71/bbl. Fittingly, the strength helped the energy sector (+0.9%) finish ahead of the remaining cyclical groups. Similarly, the materials space (+0.5%) was also supported by commodities. The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX 18.64, +1.43) jumped 8.3% as gold futures soared 2.8% to $1174.70/ozt. Steelmakers gave another boost to the sector after industry giant ArcelorMittal (MT 12.59, +0.21) reported better than expected revenue, which overshadowed below-consensus earnings. Shares of MT spiked 1.7% while the Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX 41.94, +0.87) rallied 2.1%.

Meanwhile, the remaining cyclical sectors struggled to keep pace with the market. The consumer discretionary sector (-0.2%) lagged throughout the session with Dow component Disney (DIS 90.00, -2.00) falling 2.2% despite reporting a one-cent beat.

The top-weighted technology sector (-0.03%) also spent the day in the red with chipmakers facing broad pressure. NVIDIA (NVDA 19.79, -0.43) and Skyworks (SKWS 59.88, -2.26) reported their quarterly results, but above-consensus earnings from the former and in-line results from the latter could not stop the PHLX Semiconductor Index from surrendering 0.9%.

The high-beta weakness was also apparent in the biotech space as the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 290.14, -3.18) lost 1.1% and contributed to the underperformance of the Nasdaq. As for health care (-1.0%), the sector ended behind the remaining nine groups with DaVita (DVA 74.49, -3.54) and Humana (HUM 130.58, -9.29) contributing to the weakness. The two registered respective losses of 4.5% and 6.6% after DaVita beat by a penny and Humana missed on earnings and revenue.

Elsewhere among countercyclical groups, consumer staples (+0.3%), telecom services (+0.8%), and utilities (+1.0%) settled ahead of the broader market.

Participation was ahead of average with more than 750 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.

Economic data included Nonfarm Payrolls and Consumer Credit:

Payrolls increased by 214,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading closer to 235,000
Although payroll growth exceeded the 200,000 mark for the ninth consecutive month, earnings growth remained anemic, increasing just 0.1% (Briefing.com consensus 0.2%)
The combination of a historically low labor force participation rate and jobless claims steadily tracking below the 300,000 mark should lead to robust growth, but businesses remain reluctant to step up hiring
The Consumer Credit report for September showed an increase of $15.90 billion, which was lower than the Briefing.com consensus estimate of $16.00 billion
There is no economic data scheduled to be released on Monday.

Nasdaq Composite +10.9% YTD
S&P 500 +9.9% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +6.0% YTD
Russell 2000 +0.9% YTD
Week in Review: Dollar Charges Ahead

The stock market had its issues on Monday, mostly because of what was happening outside the stock market. To that end, the dollar hit a seven-year high against the yen, crude futures slumped below $80/bbl, and economic reports from around the globe were mixed at best. On top of that, market participants were staring straight ahead at political issues wrapped up in election day for the U.S. on Tuesday. Those items were reason enough not to expect the stock market to do all that well on Monday, never mind that it also had to contend with the thought that it was overbought following a 10.8% gain off the October 15 low and due for a period of consolidation.

The major averages ended the Tuesday session on a mixed note. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spent the bulk of the day near its flat line while the S&P 500 settled lower by 0.3%. Stocks were pressured from the start, but the early weakness could be traced back to Europe where the European Commission lowered its GDP forecast for the region. The commission now expects 2014 GDP to grow at 0.8% (prior 1.2%) while the forecast for 2015 was lowered to 1.1% from 1.7%. Also in Europe, a report from Reuters revealed a potential power struggle at the European Central Bank. According to the report, ECB board members have been unhappy with President Mario Draghi effectively making some policy decisions on his own. Furthermore, the report claimed that up to ten out of 24 ECB members are not in favor of a sovereign QE program.

The market registered a midweek gain with the S&P 500 climbing 0.5% to a fresh record high. The benchmark index maintained a ten-point range while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) spent the bulk of the day near its flat line. Equities climbed at the start after Tuesday's midterm elections altered the balance of power in Washington. The GOP picked up seven Senate seats to claim a 52-seat majority while also adding ten seats to their majority in the House of Representatives. In addition to giving a small overnight boost to index futures, the news helped the Dollar Index (87.45, +0.47) climb to a new multi-year high at the expense of the yen (-105 pips) and the euro (-60 pips).

Equities posted modest gains on Thursday ahead of the Nonfarm Payrolls report for October (Briefing.com consensus 235,000), which will be released tomorrow. The S&P 500 added 0.4% with seven sectors ending in the green. The key indices spent the entire session in a slow and steady climb off their opening lows, but the same could not be said for the greenback. The Dollar Index (88.08, +0.64) spiked 0.7% after the European Central Bank released its latest policy statement. Although the central bank did not announce any changes, the euro tumbled below 1.2380 against the dollar after Mario Draghi said the bank will begin purchases of asset-backed securities soon and will not hesitate to introduce additional easing if needed. The reminder of willingness to consider additional measures boosted European equities and helped U.S. futures climb off their overnight lows. However, it should be noted that the ECB has already discussed its intentions to begin ABS purchases in the past. Furthermore Mr. Draghi's comments about additional easing contrasted with Tuesday's Reuters story, which claimed nearly half of the ECB board opposes the implementation of a sovereign quantitative easing program.