Stocks were higher in the holiday-shortened week amid expectations that a strong holiday season would boost top-line growth for retailers, ending a two-week stretch of lower markets. The S&P 500 gained 0.93% on the week and finished at a record high of 2,602.42. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.86% on the week at 23,557.99, and the Nasdaq Composite closed up 1.57% on the week at 6889.16. Last week’s especially strong performance of the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index can be attributed in large part to notable gains amongst several technology and Internet-related giants, including Facebook, Apple, Alphabet, and Amazon.com.
Energy stocks saw good gains as U.S. crude prices reached a two-year high, following the shutdown of imports from the TransCanada Keystone pipeline. The closure of the pipeline following a leak in South Dakota is expected to reduce deliveries to the U.S. by around 85% through the end of the month. Investors also looked forward to an upcoming OPEC meeting in Vienna and the possible announcement of new production cuts by Saudi Arabia.
Although there were no updates released about US tax reform, it continues to be the focus for investors. The US House of Representatives voted to pass its version of the bill, and it is currently under discussion in the Senate.
The Fed minutes and the durable goods data helped reverse a small rise in longer-term Treasury yields earlier in the week. Yields fell slightly on Fed concerns about below-target inflation. For the week ahead, Fed governor Jerome Powell, selected by President Donald Trump as the next Fed chair, will appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday for his confirmation hearing and should provide some insight into how he plans to lead the Fed. The next day, Fed Chair Janet Yellen testifies on the economy on Capitol Hill, before the Joint Economic Committee.
European securities traded slightly higher this week. SPD said that is open for talks for a grand coalition government wanting to put an end to the political deadlock, after Angela Merkel’s statement that she prefers new elections. Also, German’s business confidence rose to record levels in November. In addition, a very important factor for the increase in asset prices, which was led by Italian financials, is that European Banking Authorities want to impose looser rules on the disposal of NPLs. PMI data was released on Thursday and showed that business growth is gathering pace in the Eurozone.
Frankfurt’s DAX closed at 13.059,84 on Friday after it posted 0,5% weekly gains. France’s CAC 40 closed at 5.390,46 after it rose 1,34% in the week. The FTSE MIB in Milan closed at 22.416,31 after a weekly rise of 1,47%.
It was a good week for Europe’s peripheral markets too. Spain’s IBEX 35 closed 10.053,50 after it gained 0,43% in the week. Athens Stock Exchange closed at 723,18 with weekly gains of over 1,5% amid reports that the effects of stress tests on Greek banks won’t be as big as firstly expected. Moreover, the Greek Government bond-swap exercise, which started two weeks ago, will probably be successful and will improve Greek bonds’ liquidity and will also be a huge step towards Greece’s financial freedom. Portugal’s PSI 20 closed at 5.283,50 on Friday after it rose 0,47% week on week.
Euro continued its rise from the beginning of the year and re-approached the level of $1,20 after it closed at $1,1935 on Friday.
This week, at the meeting in Brussels on Friday, the European Council President Donald Tusk gave Theresa May until 4th December to come up with a new offer on the Brexit divorce bills. Negotiations are currently stuck on two issues, the first one is the amount the UK needs to pay towards the cost of EU loans and European official’s pensions. The second one regards the future arrangements for the future country’s land border with Ireland.
From the macroeconomic point of view, data released on Thursday showed that the UK economy grew 0.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2017. The main driver of the growth has been the increase in private consumption, that accounted for 0.6% QoQ. On the other hand, the increase in investment has been able to offset the negative impact of the trade deficit.
Despite inflation outpacing wage growth, household spending strengthened after a weak second quarter. However, in the effort to maintain spending habits, consumer have been saving less and borrowing more.
The FTSE 100 closed on Friday at 7410, 0.39% higher than the previous week. The Pound appreciated against the dollar by 0.90%, closing at 1.333 USD. By contrast, the pound weakened against the common currency, closing the week at 1.118 EUR. The benchmark 10-year gilt yield remained stable during the week, closing 0.11% lower than last week at 1.25.
Next week on Thursday, the Consumer Confidence for the November month will be released, expected at -11. Moreover, on Friday, the Manufacturing PMI for the month of November will be announced, expected to be 56.5.
Rest of the World
Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed at 22,550.85 on Friday, marking an overall decrease by -0.23% on a weekly basis. Topix closed at 1,780.56 (+0.14% on a weekly basis), the Shanghai Composite Index closed at 3,353.82 (-0.21% on a weekly basis) and the Hang Seng Index showed a significant increase over the week (+2.19%) closing at 29,866.32 on Friday. Overall, markets showed a general consolidation continuing the realization of profits.
The Yen weakened by -2.07% against the US dollar week-on-week, closing at ¥114.48. The Australian dollar strengthened over the week, after reaching a 3-month low on last Friday and closing at $0.7614, losing 0.61% week-on-week. The Euro lost almost 0.60% against the Yen over the week, closing at ¥133.07 on Friday.
Oil prices increased this week, after news spread that an OPEC meeting is set to extend oil cuts and support crude prices. Crude closed at $58.96 per barrel on Friday, gaining 4.54% in the week and also Brent closed at $63.72 per barrel posting +3.85% weekly gains. Gold closed at $1,288.57 per ounce on Friday after it lost 0.11% over the week.