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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

12/4/15

 The stock market enjoyed a broad rally on Friday that lifted the S&P 500 (+2.1%) back above its 200-day moving average (2,065). The daylong surge helped the benchmark index turn this week's loss into a slim gain of 0.1%.

 

Equities charged out of the gate and doubled their gains during afternoon action even though the November Employment Situation report came in ahead of expectations (211,000; Briefing.com consensus 196,000), which is unlikely to get in the way of the Federal Reserve's rate hike plans.

 

Interestingly, Treasuries stumbled immediately after the release of today's data, but they followed that move with a charge to new session highs. The 10-yr note ended near its best level of the session, pressuring its yield four basis points to 2.27%. Meanwhile, the Dollar Index (98.35, +0.43) climbed 0.4%, erasing a portion of its 2.3% loss from yesterday.

 

Nine of ten sectors ended the day in the green while energy (-0.6%) spent the day in negative territory with crude oil contributing to the weakness. WTI crude settled near its low, surrendering 2.4% to $40.08/bbl. The energy component fell from the $41.50/bbl level this morning in reaction to reports that OPEC has agreed to increase its daily production target to 31.5 million barrels from 30.0 million; however, the official OPEC statement released in the late morning did not specify a production target. For the week, crude oil lost 3.9% while the energy sector fell 4.6%.

 

On the flip side, nine groups posted gains with eight adding 1.4% or more. Top-weighted sectors traded comfortably ahead of their peers with technology (+2.5%), financials (+2.7%), and health care (+2.4%) holding the lead into the close. The technology sector rallied thanks to relative strength in large cap names like Apple (AAPL 119.03, +3.83), Alphabet (GOOGL 779.21, +11.01), and Microsoft (MSFT 55.91, +1.71) while high-beta chipmakers underperformed intraday, but the PHLX Semiconductor Index rallied into the close to end the day higher by 1.9%.

 

Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, the industrial space (+1.5%) spent the day behind the broader market due to relative weakness among transport stocks. The Dow Jones Transportation Average climbed 0.8%, but railroad names struggled with Norfolk Southern (NSC 92.06, -1.05) falling 1.1% after rejecting an unsolicited offer from Canadian Pacific (CP 134.49, -6.42).

 

Today's daylong charge invited above-average participation with nearly a billion shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.

 

Economic data included Nonfarm Payrolls and Trade Balance:

 

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 211,000 (Briefing.com consensus 196,000)

October nonfarm payrolls revised to 298,000 from 271,000

Private sector payrolls increased by 197,000 (Briefing.com consensus 185,000)

October private sector payrolls revised to 304,000 from 268,000

Unemployment rate was 5.0% (Briefing.com consensus 5.0%) versus 5.0% in October

The U6 unemployment rate, which accounts for the total unemployed plus persons marginally attached to the labor force and the underemployed, was 9.9% versus 9.8% in October

Average hourly earnings increased 0.2% (Briefing.com consensus 0.2%) after increasing 0.4% in October

The average workweek was 34.5 hours (Briefing.com consensus 34.5) versus 34.6 hours in October

The labor force participation rate was 62.5% versus 62.4% in October

The US trade deficit widened to $43.90 billion from an upwardly revised $42.50 billion (from -$40.80 billion) in September while the Briefing.com consensus expected the trade deficit to be $43.0 billion

October exports were $184.10 billion, which was $2.70 billion less than September exports. October imports were $228.00 billion, which was $1.30 billion less than September imports

Monday's data will be limited to the 15:00 ET release of the October Consumer Credit report.

 

Nasdaq Composite +8.6% YTD

S&P 500 +1.6% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average +0.1% YTD

Russell 2000 -1.5% YTD

 

Week in Review: Stocks Wobble

 

The stock market began the trading week on a modestly lower note with the S&P 500 surrendering 0.5% after spending the day in a 13-point range. The Monday session marked the end of November, a month during which the S&P 500 added 0.1% while the Nasdaq Composite (+1.1%) outperformed. Equities held slim gains at the start of the trading day, but the early strength faded quickly, sending the S&P 500 below its flat line where the index remained into the afternoon. The S&P 500 tried to stage a rebound during afternoon action, but that move was followed by a slip to new lows. The benchmark index settled near its worst level of the day, masking gains in five of ten sectors. For instance, energy (+0.4%) and technology (+0.1%) outperformed from the start, but their strength could not lift the overall market. The energy sector settled in the lead even though crude oil surrendered a solid intraday gain to end lower by 0.2% at $41.63/bbl. For the month, WTI crude tumbled 10.7% while the energy sector lost 0.8%.

 

On Tuesday, the stock market began December on an upbeat note with the S&P 500 climbing 1.1% while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.9%) settled just behind. All in all, the session was very quiet as the S&P 500 marked its high during the opening hour and inched above that level during afternoon action. The index briefly slipped from the morning high after economic data showed that the ISM Index (48.6; Briefing.com consensus 50.4) registered its first contractionary reading (below 50) in 36 months. The disappointing report was met with a spike in Treasuries that sent the 10-yr note to a fresh high. The benchmark instrument settled on its best level of the day, pressuring its yield six basis points to 2.15%. All ten sectors posted gains with heavily-weighted groups like health care (+1.7%), technology (+1.1%), consumer discretionary (+1.0%), and financials (+1.3%) ending in the lead.

 

The market ended the midweek session on a broadly lower note with the S&P 500 sliding 1.1% while the Nasdaq (-0.6%) settled a bit ahead. Equity indices spent the first 90 minutes of the session near their flat lines, but the energy sector (-3.1%) struggled from the start and accelerated its retreat into the afternoon, which dragged down the entire market. Meanwhile, the remaining groups held up relatively well at the start, but they could not resist the pressure, which intensified as the session wore on. Interestingly, the selling in the market accelerated shortly after Fed Chair Janet Yellen concluded her speech at the Economic Club of Washington with the remarks being perceived as a sign that the Fed is ready to raise rates at the December policy meeting.

 

Equities ended Thursday on a woeful note after global investors reduced their equity exposure in reaction to an underwhelming policy statement from the European Central Bank. The S&P 500 lost 1.4%, falling below its 200-day moving average (2,065), while the Nasdaq Composite (-1.7%) underperformed. The key indices held slim gains at the open, but that proved to be a mirage as the market marched lower throughout the day after the European Central Bank made a slight adjustment to its interest rate corridor (deposit facility rate down to -0.3% from -0.2%, marginal lending facility unch at +0.3%, and main refinancing rate unch at +0.05%), but did not increase the size of its asset purchases, thus disappointing a global equity complex that was hungry for more stimulus. The euro responded by having its best day of the year, soaring nearly 450 pips off its intraday low against the dollar to 1.0950. In turn, the Dollar Index (97.79, -2.25) plunged 2.3% to early November levels.