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.
Last Week’s Economic Headlines
· The September unemployment rate fell to its lowest rate since 1969, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.7% in September, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 270,000 to 6.0 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 0.5 percentage point and 795,000, respectively. Job gains for the month were a bit tempered at 134,000, although August’s figure was revised 69,000 higher to 270,000. Over the last 12 months, the average monthly gain sits at 201,000. Jobs were added in professional and business services (54,000), health care (26,000), transportation and warehousing (24,000), and construction (23,000). The average workweek remained unchanged at 34.5 hours in September. The average hourly earnings for all employees rose by $0.08 to $27.24. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by $0.73, or 2.8%.
· While the effects of trade tariffs may still be unknown, the trade deficit continues to expand. According to the Census Bureau, the goods and services deficit was $53.2 billion in August, up $3.2 billion from July. August exports were $209.4 billion, $1.7 billion less than July exports. August imports were $262.7 billion, $1.5 billion more than July imports. In what is sure to impact the third-quarter GDP, exports fell 0.8% in August after dropping 1.0% in July. While service exports actually rose 0.3%, exports of goods declined 1.4%.
· Reaching a four-month high, the IHS Markit final U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) registered 55.6 in September, up from 54.7 in August. Production across the goods-producing sector rose at an accelerated and sharp rate in September due to a sustained rise in new business and favorable demand conditions.
· In contrast to the Markit PMI™, the Institute for Supply Management® reported that its PMI® registered 59.8%, a decrease of 1.5 percentage points from the August reading. Driving the fall was a drop in new orders. Otherwise, production and employment increased in September.
· In the non-manufacturing (services) sector, the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® for September revealed survey respondents were bullish in their assessment of business in the services. In fact, growth in the non-manufacturing sector is moving at a faster rate and is at an all-time high since the inception of the composite index in 2008. Business activity, new orders, employment, and prices all increased in September over their August totals.
· For the week ended September 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 207,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s level, which was revised up by 1,000. According to the Department of Labor, the advance rate for insured unemployment claims remained at 1.2%. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended September 22 was 1,650,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the prior week’s level.
Eye on the Week Ahead
While consumer spending has risen, price inflation has been slow. Out this week are both the Producer Price Index and the Consumer Price Index for September, which are expected to show only marginal price increases.
Data sources: 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. Market data: 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); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). 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.
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