Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through December 4th

The Omicron variant continued to weigh on markets over the week sending stocks down. The S&P 500 fell 1.2% and the Dow dropped 0.9% for the week. Abroad, the FTSE All World Ex US declined 0.6% for the week. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped to 1.34% from 1.48%, its largest one week drop in yield since June of last year. Oil prices fell further down another 2.8% for the week to finish at $66.26 a barrel.

US hiring fell short of expectations with just 210,000 jobs added in November, however the labor force participation rate rose to 61.8%, the highest level since March 2020. The unemployment rate also fell to 4.2% from 4.6%.

In congressional testimony Fed Chief Powell said the central bank will consider speeding up its tapering timeline to combat persistently high inflation.

OPEC+ agreed to continue to steadily increase its oil output with pent up demand outweighing any limitations from the Omicron variant.

Weekly jobless claims increased to 222,000 but the number was better than expected.

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