Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through January 6th

US stocks got off to a strong start to the year ending at record highs on optimism about global growth. The S&P 500 rose 2.6% and the Dow rose above 25,000 to gain 2.3% for the week. Internationally, Europe rose 2.1% and Japan posted a new 26 year high surging 4.2% for the week. The yield on the 10 year Treasury rose from 2.40% to 2.49%.  Article

Hiring remained solid in the last month of 2017 with 148,000 jobs added. While the number fell below expectations and was below the pace of earlier months, the unemployment rate has held at a 17 year low of 4.1%. Wage growth remained at 2.5%. Article

Auto sales had their first annual sales drop since the financial crisis dropping 1.8% in 2017, but firms are still posting strong profits and the industry posted over 17 million vehicles sold for the third straight year.

In minutes released from the Fed’s December meeting Fed Governors weighed whether tax cuts would require the Fed to raise rates more aggressively and officials expressed confidence in the strength of the economy.

BP announced it would take a $1.5 billion accounting charge related to the new tax rules joining Goldman Sachs who announced a $5 billion charge.


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