Equities continued their positive trend in February as each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted monthly gains. The Dow recorded 12 record highs in February and posted a monthly gain of 4.77% – its best month since November. The S&P 500 (3.72%) and Nasdaq (3.75%) each climbed over 3.50% for the month. For the S&P 500, February marked the best monthly gain since last March. Since the presidential election, investors have continued to pour money into stocks, likely in anticipation of tax cuts and policies intended to boost corporate earnings. The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell as bond prices increased with higher demand.
By the close of trading on February 28, the price of crude oil (WTI) was $54.00 per barrel, up from the January 31 price of $52.80 per barrel. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.314 per gallon on February 27, up from the January 30 selling price of $2.296 and $0.531 higher than a year ago. The price of gold climbed at the end of February, closing at $1,248.80 on the last day of the month, up from its January 31 price of $1,212.50.
|Market/Index||2016 Close||Prior Month||As of February 28||Month Change||YTD Change|
|Fed. Funds rate target||0.50%-0.75%||0.50%-0.75%||0.50%-0.75%||0 bps||0 bps|
|10-year Treasuries||2.44%||2.45%||2.39%||-6 bps||-5 bps|
Equities data reflect price changes, not total return.
The announcement following the Federal Open Market Committee’s March meeting will be a focus for investors. Judging from the minutes following the Committee’s February meeting, an interest rate increase in March is definitely on the table.
Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: 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); http://www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). 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. 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. The U.S. Dollar Index is a geometrically weighted index of the value of the U.S. dollar relative to six foreign currencies. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment
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