Market Watch: December 31, 2018
The Markets (as of market close December 28, 2018)
A crazy week of market swings finally closed with each of the benchmark indexes listed here posting gains for the first time in three weeks. Christmas Eve (Monday) saw stocks drop precipitously heading into the holiday, surely putting a damper on festivities for some investors. The Dow fell over 19% from its peak early Wednesday, only to surge by the end of the day. By week's end, each of the benchmarks listed here posted gains led by the Nasdaq, which climbed almost 4.0%, followed by the Russell 2000, the S&P 500, the Dow, and the Global Dow. While the bond market was generally quiet, long-term bonds saw yields reach a nine-month low as bond prices soared. Despite last week's positive returns, it is unlikely that the indexes listed here will gain enough on New Year's Eve to close the year ahead of last year's ending values.
Oil prices remained relatively low last week, closing at $45.07 per barrel by late Friday, down slightly from the prior week's closing price of $45.42 per barrel. The price of gold (COMEX) increased last week, closing at $1,283.10 by last Friday evening, up from the prior week's price of $1,259.10. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.321 per gallon on December 24, 2018, $0.048 lower than the prior week's price and $0.151 less than a year ago.
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 Economic Headlines
· Due to the government shutdown, most economic reports are unavailable. If and when this information becomes available, it will be included in the corresponding Market Week report.
· For the week ended December 22, there were 216,000 new claims for unemployment insurance, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's level, which was revised up by 3,000. According to the Department of Labor, the advance rate for insured unemployment claims remained at 1.2% for the week ended December 15. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended December 15 was 1,701,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the prior week's level, which was revised up by 17,000.
Eye on the Week Ahead
Hopefully, the first week of the new year will bring some encouragement to investors who have seen stocks drop precipitously over the past several weeks. On the economic front, the employment figures for December are out at the end of the week. New hirings have dipped some over the last few months, although wages have increased overall.
Data sources: 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: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). 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. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.
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 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.