Markets moved modestly higher this week with domestic stocks up nearly 1 percent and the benchmark 10-year Treasury was off 2 basis points. As if held up by a mysterious force, Bitcoin set a new high Friday just shy of 18,000.
Stocks climbed in the U.S., Asia and Europe as the U.S. government averted a shut down and the jobs report reinforced optimism. The U.S. added 228,000 jobs in the month of November, higher than the expected addition of 195,000 jobs, due to an accelerating hiring trend which economists expect to continue into the next year. The S&P 500 hit new highs today, trading above 2,650.
It was an eventful week in Washington and on Wall Street. Republicans appeared to be moving along on the tax bill, but a hiccup occurred Thursday evening that has delayed voting until sometime next week. Strong economic data and hopes for a corporate tax cut led the S&P higher by 1.6 percent this week.
Volatility returned to the markets this week with the S&P 500 declining by about one percent as investors followed political events in Washington, D.C. Interest rates were lower with the 10-year U.S. Treasury declining in yield from 2.36 percent to 2.22 percent.
After eight consecutive weeks of positive returns, the S&P 500 declined by 0.25 percent as investors digest another solid earnings season and evaluate the implications and likelihood of the “Jobs Act” becoming law. To add to the confusion, there are substantial differences between the House and Senate version of the bill released on Thursday.
Friday revealed strong earnings in large cap tech-fueled stocks, resulting in a slightly positive week for the market. This leaves the S&P 500 at another all-time high. Interest rates ticked up as well, as economic data continued to show improvements. The 10-year U.S. Treasury ended the week with a yield of 2.43 percent, up from 2.35 percent.
Treasury rates and the U.S. dollar climbed while U.S. equities are headed towards six straight weeks of gains. The market appears to be betting on the successful passing of a tax overhaul after the U.S. Senate approved a budget resolution. The bond market fluctuated and ended the week yielding around 2.37 percent, trading up from last week’s level of 2.27 percent.
Stocks finished higher for the fifth-straight week, while bond prices were flat. Although Fed comments and more discussion of tax reform dominated the capital markets headlines, but there was little movement in the large indices.
After eight consecutive days of positive returns, U.S. equities closed slightly lower Friday and finished the week up 1.10 percent. Emerging markets, up 2.75 percent, extended the lead as the best performing asset class of 2017 with a total return greater than 30 percent.
Equities continue their grind harder and higher this week as optimism for economic growth remains. The S&P 500 finished the week up three quarters of a percent resulting in year-to-date gains of over 14 percent. Yields also ticked up resulting in the 10-year Treasury yielding 2.32 percent.
As the Western states struggle with wildfires and the Southeastern states get pounded by hurricanes, the stock market quietly made new highs. The S&P rallied this week 1.4 percent, closing in on the psychologically important 2,500. Conversely, bonds felt the swing into equities with rates on the 10-year U.S. Treasury rising 13 basis points to 2.20 percent.
The passing of Hurricane Harvey and the imminent landfall of Irma failed to rock the boat for equities, which remain near all-time highs despite puts and takes amid industries being impacted by severe weather events. More remarkable than trade posturing in home improvement and insurance stocks is the observation that benchmark interest rates and the dollar continue to slide.