Weekly Market Recap – December 15, 2023

The major U.S. stock indexes advanced by nearly 3%, marking their seventh consecutive positive week, driven primarily by expectations of imminent interest-rate cuts. The Dow achieved a record level, surpassing its previous high set on January 4, 2022. While the S&P 500 was approximately 1% below its all-time high, the NASDAQ remained around 8% away from its historic peak.

The Fed chose to maintain its benchmark interest rate within the range of 5.25% to 5.50% for the third consecutive meeting but signaled a likely shift to a more accommodative stance soon. Projections from most Fed members suggested the potential for three rate cuts in 2024, a notable change from their previous outlook in September, which anticipated one more rate hike in the current year followed by two cuts next year.

The evolving rate outlook triggered a bond market rally, resulting in lower yields. The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond dipped below 4.00% on Thursday for the first time since late July, while the 30-year Treasury yield also experienced a decline, remaining slightly above the 4.00% threshold on Friday.

The seven-week streak of gains propelled the NASDAQ nearly 18% higher from its recent late October low, with the S&P 500 and the Dow both recording approximately 15% gains.

Following the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday, small-cap stocks surged, leading to a nearly 6% weekly gain for the Russell 2000 Index. Despite lagging behind large-cap peers year to date, the Russell 2000 has surged more than 21% since its recent low on October 27.

Survey results released on Friday indicated the potential for an economic recession in the eurozone, with monthly readings in Germany and France revealing declines in business activity across services and manufacturing. This follows a report highlighting that GDP across the eurozone remained essentially flat in the third quarter of this year.

As the year enters its final two weeks, Wall Street analysts anticipate double-digit earnings growth for S&P 500 companies next year. On average, analysts project a year-over-year earnings gain of 11.8%, surpassing the 10-year average growth of 8.4%, according to FactSet. The projected growth rate for the first quarter of 2024 is 6.8%.

A closely watched report scheduled for Friday will provide insights into whether U.S. inflation continued to moderate in November. The government will update its Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index, the preferred gauge for tracking inflation by the Fed. The most recent report showed that core PCE inflation, excluding food and energy prices, rose by 3.5% in October on an annual basis, down from 3.7% the previous month.

Major U.S. Economic Reports

Consumer price indexNov.0.1%0.0%
Core CPINov.0.3%0.2%
CPI year over year3.1%3.2%
Core CPI year over year4.0%4.0%
Monthly U.S. federal budgetNov.-$314B-$249B
Producer price indexNov.0.0%-0.4%
Core PPINov.0.1%0.1%
PPI year over year0.9%1.2%
Core PPI year over year2.5%2.8%
Initial jobless claimsDec. 9202,000220,000
Import price indexNov.-0.4%-0.6%
Import price index minus fuelNov.0.2%-0.2%
U.S. retail salesNov.0.3%-0.2%
Retail sales minus autoNov.0.2%0.0%
Business inventoriesNov.-0.1%0.2%
Empire State manufacturing surveyDec.-14.59.1
Industrial productionNov.0.2%-0.6%
Capacity utilizationNov.78.8%78.7%
S&P flash U.S. services PMIDec.51.350.8
S&P flash U.S. manufacturing PMIDec.48.249.4

Closing Prices for the Week

Dow Jones Industrials Average37,305.16
Nasdaq Composite14,813.92
S&P 500 Index4,719.19
CBOE Volatility Index12.28
S&P GSCI537.56
U.S. Dollar Index102.550
10-Year T-Note (Mar ’24)112-130
Crude Oil WTI (Feb ’24)71.78
Natural Gas (Jan ’24)2.491
Gold (Feb ’24)2,035.7
Silver (Mar ’24)24.154
Corn (Mar ’24)483-0
Wheat (Mar ’24)629-2
Soybean (Mar ’24)1331-4
Coffee (Mar ’24)189.30
Sugar #11 (Mar ’24)21.99

Trading futures and forex involves significant risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone.

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