The Markets – The S&P 500 index finished November +2.89% bringing the year-to-date return to +3.24%. The Dow was +2.67% for the month bringing it to positive territory year-to-date at +3.31%. The NASDAQ finished the month +2.36% and year-to-date +6.19%, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Thanksgiving holiday-shortened week ended with the S&P 500 falling 3.79%, while the Dow tumbled 4.26%, and the NASDAQ closed down 4.26%. This was the worst week for the Dow and NASDAQ in 8 months. It was also the worst Thanksgiving week for the stock market since 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday of November. That week was followed by one of the best weeks in the market over the past 20 years the very next week. Yes ladies and gents, volatility is back in the market.
Closer to home, crude oil continued to plunge. The commodity fell 6% to its lowest level in one year and had its worst month in 10 years.
According to ShopperTrak, in-store traffic was down 1.7% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday as compared to last year. However, according to Adobe Digital Insights, online purchases on Friday were up nearly 24% compared to last year. Since online comprised 11% of total sales last holiday season, we calculate that the net retail sales, versus last year, are positive 0.94%.
In the coming months, economists will be paying close attention to the Fed, who will most likely raise interest rates 2 – 4 times between now and December 2019. However, the Fed’s recent tone has been more dovish than anticipated, soothing the nerves of recession hawks.
Presidents Trump and Xi appear to have avoided escalation, but risk is present. As the leaders of the G20 nations gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina to discuss the most pressing issues plaguing the world. Two big topics that were expected to be addressed are climate change and trade. As tensions run high between the U.S. and China, it seems the two presidents made progress towards a possible resolution. While Trump and Xi did not depart singing Kumbaya, they did announce a 90 day truce in which it appears both parties are working toward a resolution.
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