Weekly Market Recap – December 8, 2023

The major U.S. stock indexes marked their sixth consecutive positive week, albeit with a continued slowdown in momentum. The S&P 500, NASDAQ, and Dow each recorded fractional gains, with Friday’s S&P 500 closing level reaching the highest point year to date. Over the past six weeks, the index has surged by nearly 12%.

November’s jobs growth figure reached 199,000, slightly exceeding the expectations of most economists. This outcome extended a recent trend of moderate but consistently positive momentum in the labor market. While surpassing October’s jobs growth of 150,000, it fell below the 12-month average of 240,000. The unemployment rate decreased to 3.7% from the previous month’s 3.9%.

A survey of U.S. consumers revealed a decline in their expectations for inflation to the lowest level since March 2021. The University of Michigan’s December sentiment survey indicated that consumers anticipate an annual inflation rate of about 3.1% 12 months from now, a significant drop from the 4.5% figure in the November survey.

Throughout October and November, analysts reduced their fourth-quarter earnings-per-share estimates for S&P 500 companies by an average of 5.0%, as reported by FactSet. While analysts typically trim estimates during the initial two months of a quarter, the recent reductions surpassed the 20-year average of a 2.9% reduction.

U.S. crude oil prices dipped below $70 per barrel on Wednesday, marking the lowest level in over five months. Although oil prices rebounded later in the week, they remained well below the recent peak of around $89 on October 20.

Gold futures experienced a surge on Monday, briefly surpassing $2,100 an ounce for the first time. However, this level was not a record when adjusted for inflation, and the price spike reversed course later in the day. Despite a weekly decline of over 3%, gold remained above $2,000 per ounce.

Investors are attentively monitoring several key events in the upcoming week, including the release of the monthly Consumer Price Index report on Tuesday, the conclusion of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday, and a monthly update on retail sales scheduled for Thursday. While the Fed is anticipated to maintain unchanged interest rates in its final meeting of 2023, policymakers may provide insights into the potential timing of rate cuts in 2024.

Major U.S. Economic Reports

Factory ordersOct-3.6%2.8%
S&P U.S. services PMINov50.850.8
ISM servicesNov52.7%51.8%
Job openingsOct8.7 million9.4 million
ADP employmentNov103,000106,000
U.S. productivity (revision)Q35.2%4.7%
U.S. trade deficitOct-$64.3B-$61.2B
Initial jobless claims12/2220,000219,000
Wholesale inventoriesOct-0.4%0.0%
Consumer creditOct$5.2B$12.2B
U.S. employment reportNov199,000150,000
U.S. unemployment rateNov3.7%3.9%
U.S. hourly wagesNov0.4%0.2%
Hourly wages year over yearNov4.0%4.0%
Consumer sentiment (prelim)Dec69.461.3

Closing Prices for the Week

Dow Jones Industrials Average36,247.87
Nasdaq Composite14,403.97
S&P 500 Index4,604.37
CBOE Volatility Index12.35
S&P GSCI531.90
U.S. Dollar Index104.010
10-Year T-Note (Mar ’24)110-085
Crude Oil WTI (Jan ’24)71.23
Natural Gas (Jan ’24)2.581
Gold (Feb ’24)2,014.5
Silver (Mar ’24)23.276
Corn (Mar ’24)485-4
Wheat (Mar ’24)631-6
Soybean (Jan ’24)1304-0
Coffee (Mar ’24)177.15
Sugar #11 (Mar ’24)23.36

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

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