Markets posted strong gains last week after struggling for much of October. The S&P 500 had its best weekly performance since May, and the NASDAQ had its first positive week since September. Despite domestic markets dropping on Friday, November 2, the S&P 500 added 2.42%, the Dow increased 2.36%, and the NASDAQ gained 2.65%. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE were also up 3.34%.
What drove market performance last week?
We received a fair amount of data and reports, with the following details holding particular weight for investors:
- U.S. - China trade updates were inconsistent.
Stocks fluctuated widely on Friday, in large part because of contradictory updates on a potential trade deal between the U.S. and China. President Trump said the two countries are a lot closer to an agreement. Larry Kudlow, Trump's economic advisor, shared a different perspective, indicating the U.S. is not working out a trade deal with China. These conflicting reports contributed to volatility in the markets as investors tried to determine exactly where we stand.
- U.S. corporate earnings were strong but imperfect.
So far, the 3rd quarter earnings season has been a strong one. Of the 74% of S&P 500 companies that have released their data, 78% have beaten their earnings-per-share estimates, and earnings have grown 24.9% year-over-year. However, concerns for at least one major tech company's projections affected investor behavior. In addition, analysts predict that in 2019, earnings growth will not match the double-digit results we've experienced this year.
- Labor market growth beat expectations.
The economy added 250,000 jobs in October, a stronger increase than expected. Wages also rose, posting 3.1% growth over the prior year, the fastest annual growth since 2009. Investors interpreted these results to mean that the Federal Reserve would continue raising interest rates at its projected pace.
Where should you go from here?
If you felt at all whipsawed by last week's price fluctuations, especially after October's declines, you weren't alone. Even if you know that market volatility is normal, it can feel intense in the moment. Right now, many investors are also jumping in and out of popular, crowded stocks, causing market levels to shift more quickly than many people are used to. To navigate these accelerated changes, you need to remove emotion from investing decisions and stick to your long-term vision even more.
Rather than trying to predict what stocks will do in the immediate future, we are here to help you plan for the financial life and legacy you desire. Please let us know if you have any questions about where you are and how to pursue your future.
Monday: ISM Non-Manufacturing Index
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: PPI-FD, Consumer Sentiment
Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
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Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.
International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.
The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.
The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.
The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.
The S&P US Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index contains US- and foreign issued investment grade corporate bonds denominated in US dollars. The SPUSCIG launched on April 9, 2013. All information for an index prior to its launch date is back teased, based on the methodology that was in effect on the launch date. Back-tested performance, which is hypothetical and not actual performance, is subject to inherent limitations because it reflects application of an Index methodology and selection of index constituents in hindsight. No theoretical approach can take into account all of the factors in the markets in general and the impact of decisions that might have been made during the actual operation of an index. Actual returns may differ from, and be lower than, back tested returns.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.
The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
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Past performance does not guarantee future results.
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