November proved to be a very volatile month for stocks. By the third week of the month, the benchmark indexes listed here had given back just about all of the gains accumulated during the year. However, a spurt during the last week of November helped push stocks higher by the end of the month. Each of the indexes listed here outperformed their October end-of-the-month closing values, led by the large caps of the S&P 500 and the Dow, followed by the Global Dow and the small caps of the Russell 2000. The technology stocks of the Nasdaq edged higher by the close of November, and that index still maintains a sizeable lead year-to-date among the indexes listed here.
Nevertheless, investors head into the last month of the year anxiously, as fears of a slowing economy and growing international trade tensions will likely temper expectations for steady stock gains moving forward. Energy stocks have been hit by falling oil prices, and the yield on 10-year Treasuries fell below 3.0% as bond prices rose after the Federal Reserve chairman intimated that interest rates may not be increasing as aggressively as previously thought.
By the close of trading on November 30, the price of crude oil (WTI) was $50.72 per barrel, down from the October 31 price of $64.95 per barrel. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.539 per gallon on November 26, down from the October 29 selling price of $2.811 and only $0.006 more than a year ago. The price of gold rose by the end of November, closing at $1,227.80 on the last trading day of the month, up from its price of $1,220.80 at the end of October.
|Market/Index||2017 Close||Prior Month||As of November 30||Month Change||YTD Change|
|Fed. Funds||1.25%-1.50%||2.00%-2.25%||2.00%-2.25%||0 bps||75 bps|
|10-year Treasuries||2.41%||3.14%||2.99%||-15 bps||58 bps|
Equities data reflect price changes, not total return.
Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.
Last Month’s Economic News
Eye on the Month Ahead
December will close what has been a tumultuous year for the stock market and the economy. Manufacturing, durable goods orders, and real estate are sectors that could use a push as 2018 closes. The employment sector should add more new jobs in December, although wage inflation isn’t expected to surge. Entering the holiday season, consumer spending, which has been strong, should advance further, while prices are expected to remain stable.
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 Informatio 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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