Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through November 2nd

US stocks ended the week at new record highs after their fourth straight week of gains, on positive economic news and solid corporate earnings.  The S&P 500 jumped 1.5% and Dow gained 1.4% for the week.  Abroad, the FTSE All-World Ex-US climbed 1.2% for the week. The 10-year Treasury yield edged down over the week to finish at 1.73%.

The October hiring report beat expectations with 128,000 new hires despite the strike at GM which reduced the workforce by about 50,000.  August and September hiring numbers were revised higher as well.  The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6% from 3.5%, as more individuals joined the workforce.  Wage growth held steady at 3%.

The Fed announced after its October meeting that it was cutting its benchmark lending rate by 0.25% for the third time in as many meetings.  The Fed now targets a range of 1.5%-1.75% for the Fed Funds rate.  They also said that they wouldn’t reduce rates further unless there was a clear deterioration of the economy.

The ISM’s Purchasing Managers index was 48.3 in October, below forecast and shows contraction in manufacturing activity.

US economic growth rose 1.9% in the third quarter, a slightly slower pace than the second quarter, but better than the 1.6% expected by economists.  The gain was driven primarily by consumer spending.

EU leaders agreed to a three-month extension of the Brexit deadline to 1/31/20.

Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings to date over 75% have topped analysts’ expectations.

Google agreed to buy Fitbit for $2.1 billion.

Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot agreed to a $50 billion merger between the two automakers.




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