Market Commentary, 06/19/17
The major US market indexes ended the week mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained half a percent last week to close at 21,384. The S&P 500 index was essentially flat, adding 0.06% to close at 2,433.15. The Nasdaq fell for the second week in a row, losing 0.9% ending the week at 6,151.
In US Economic news, The Federal Reserve increased the fed funds rate by a quarter percentage point, for the third time in as many quarters, to 1.25%. The move will increase the cost of borrowing for consumers and business to help stave off the threat of excessive inflation and an overheated economy. Senior Fed officials also reiterated their intention to raise interest rates one more time this year in the face of the unexpected recent softening in inflation data. According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the rate of inflation for the last 12 months slowed to 1.9%, due largely to the drop in gas prices. This is slightly below the Fed’s inflation target of 2%.
The Labor Department reported first-time unemployment benefits fell 8,000 to 237,000 last week. This brings the total number of weeks that applications for benefits have remained under the key 300,000 threshold, indicating a “healthy” jobs market, to 119 straight weeks. In addition, the number of people already receiving unemployment checks totaled less than 2 million for its ninth straight week. The last time these so-called continuing claims remained under 2 million for this long was in 1973. Combined, the total number of people applying for unemployment benefits and those already receiving them is now at a 45-year low.
The market continues to plow forward, with both the Dow and S&P 500 hitting all-time highs last week. The Fed’s decision to increase interest rates confirms its confidence in the economy, which continues to grow.
Jeremiah Patterson, CFP®
Copelin Financial Advisors
514 Brooks Street
Sugar Land, TX 77478
Phone: 281 240-2902
Fax: 281 240-2856
Securities offered through ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Broker-Dealer and Member FINRA & SIPC Advisory Services offered through Harvest Investment Services, LLC., a Registered Investment Advisor Copelin Financial Advisors, Inc and Harvest Investment Services, LLC are independent of ProEquities, Inc.