November 21, 2016
YELLEN HINTS STRONGLY AT A RATE HIKE
Thursday, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen told Congress that the central bank could raise the benchmark interest rate “relatively soon,” calling current monetary policy merely “moderately accommodative.” She added that Fed officials envision “only gradual increases in the federal funds rate over time to achieve and maintain maximum employment and price stability.” Friday, the Fed Rate Monitor Tool at Investing.com put the possibility of a December rate hike at 91%.
FRESH SIGNS OF A HEALTHY ECONOMY
Two economic indicators really stood out last week. Headline and core retail sales increased 0.8% in October, according to the Census Bureau (which also revised the September retail sales gain north to 1.0%). Housing starts advanced 25.5% last month, the Bureau also noted; this more than offset a 9.5% September dip.
CONSUMER PRICES ROSE 0.4% IN OCTOBER
This change in the Consumer Price Index took its year-over-year increase to 1.6%. A mere 0.1% monthly gain in the core CPI left its 12-month advance at 2.1%. Producer prices were flat last month, with core prices retreating 0.2%; in the year ending in October, the headline Producer Price Index rose only 0.8% with the core PPI advancing 1.2%.
BIG THREE SEE ANOTHER WEEK OF GAINS
Wall Street was still very bullish last week, and the Nasdaq Composite set the pace among the three major indices. The tech benchmark added 1.61% in five days to settle at 5,321.51 Friday. Smaller weekly gains came for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (0.11% to 18,867.93) and S&P 500 (0.81% to 2,181.90). WTI crude ended the week at $45.56 on the NYMEX; gold, at $1,208.50 on the COMEX.
THIS WEEK: On Monday, Jack in the Box, Palo Alto Networks, Tyson Foods, and Weibo present earnings. October existing home sales figures are out Tuesday, along with earnings from Barnes & Noble, Burlington Stores, Campbell Soup, Chico’s FAS, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Dollar Tree, DSW, GameStop, Hormel Foods, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Kirkland’s, Medtronic, Urban Outfitters, and Valspar. Wednesday is filled with major reports: Wall Street looks at October new home sales and capital goods orders, initial jobless claims, the final November household sentiment index from the University of Michigan and the minutes from the November Federal Reserve policy meeting, along with Q3 results from Deere & Co. On Thursday, U.S. stock and bond markets are closed for Thanksgiving. Friday, Wall Street returns for a half-day of trading with no major earnings reports or news releases scheduled.
Sources: wsj.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 11/18/16
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