Clocks recently sprang ahead for daylight saving time, but stock prices fell back. Stocks were down every day last week, and the major averages all ended down over 2% for the week. This snapped the NASDAQ Composite’s 10-week winning streak, and gave the Dow (only) its second weekly loss of the year. Weighing on the market were things such as weak economic data out of China, lowered forecasts for euro zone growth by the European Central Bank, and a surprisingly low headline number on U.S. job growth.
The Department of Labor reported the economy added 20,000 jobs last month, well below market expectations for a gain of approximately 180,000. While this headline number seemed to spook the market, a broader look at the entire jobs report paints a more encouraging picture. Numbers for the prior two months were revised up a bit, and after revisions job gains have averaged 186, 000 per month over the last 3 months. Also, the unemployment rate fell from 4 to 3.8% last month, and average hourly earnings increased at their fastest rate in nearly a decade, rising 4%, and bumping up the yearly gain to 3.4 percent. Overall, the employment picture in the US remains strong by historical standards.
Looking to the week ahead, we’re tracking a batch of economic reports including Durable Goods Orders, Construction Spending, New Home Sales, and Consumer Sentiment. We’re also watching a handful of companies that are scheduled to report earnings, such as Oracle, Adobe, and Dollar General. As always, contact us with any questions you may have, or if you would like to set up a meeting.
All the best,
Southport Station Financial Management, LLC