Trading during the summer months is customarily slow, and the summer of 2017 proved no different. July kicked off the third quarter with equity markets enjoying noteworthy gains over their June closing values. Both the Dow (2.54%) and S&P 500 (1.93%) posted significant gains, as did the Global Dow (3.13%). The Nasdaq posted a very favorable 3.38% monthly increase. The yield on long-term bonds changed very little from June as investors seemed to focus on surging equities. Crude oil prices reached $50 per barrel by the end of July after closing June at $46 per barrel. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.269 per gallon on July 31, down from the June 26 selling price of $2.288.
Equities held their own in August, despite hurricanes that devastated several southern states and Puerto Rico, causing extraordinary economic loss. Conflicts both at home and abroad certainly influenced investor sentiment. Clashes between protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia, and escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea dominated the news. Nevertheless, a late-month rally in August pushed equities ahead of their July values. The Russell 2000 decreased from its July closing value as energy stocks plunged. The Dow and S&P 500 posted marginal gains, while the Nasdaq led the month ticking up 1.27%. Long-term bond prices rose, with the yield on 10-year Treasuries falling to 2.12%, or 17 basis points below July’s end-of-month yield.
Investors regained some of their confidence in September, pushing stocks ahead of their August closing values. Each of the indexes listed here posted notable gains, led by the small-cap Russell 2000, which surged 6.09%, followed by the Global Dow, the Dow, and the S&P 500, each of which closed the month up about 2.0%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained a modest 1.05%, yet that index still leads the way for the year, up almost 21.0% over its final 2016 value.
Ultimately, investors saw the benchmark indexes make impressive gains by the end of the third quarter. The Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 posted gains in excess of 5.0%, followed closely by the Global Dow and the Dow. The S&P 500 trailed the other indexes listed here, yet still managed to increase by almost 4.0% over its second-quarter close. Crude oil jumped from $46.33 per barrel on the last day of June to $51.64 on the last business day of September. Gold, which had been climbing, fell at the end of the quarter, closing at $1,282.50 — still ahead of its June closing price of $1,241.10. Regular gasoline, which was $2.288 per gallon on June 26, soared to $2.508 on the 25th of September.
|Market/Index||2016 Close||As of September 29||Month Change||Quarter Change||YTD Change|
|Fed. Funds||0.50%-0.75%||1.00%-1.25%||0 bps||0 bps||50 bps|
|10-year Treasuries||2.44%||2.33%||21 bps||3 bps||*-11 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.
The summer saw the economy slow a bit, as inflation remained relatively stagnant, wages advanced only slightly, rhetoric between North Korea and the United States became testy, and Mother Nature blasted the southern states with two very powerful hurricanes. Through it all, the stock market continued to enjoy monthly gains, with several of the benchmark indexes reaching all-time highs. The start of the year’s last quarter may see the economy pick up as some economic indicators are projecting. While the Federal Open Market Committee didn’t raise interest rates in September, it most likely will do so at least once during the fourth quarter. Employment is expected to remain steady as it has averaged roughly 176,000 new jobs per month.
Data sources: Economic: 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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