Weekly Market Wrap: Stocks continued to surge in 2012 making it 10 positive weeks out of 11. The S&P 500 index added another 2.42% to close at 1,404. Oil and Gold both dropped this week. Oil lost 0.24% to finish at $107.20 and Gold lost 3.14% to close at $1,660.17. The Dollar was lower against other major world currencies losing 0.21% to $79.81.
Year-To-Date for the major indexes:
- The S&P index +11.65%
- The Dow Jones Index +8.31%
- The NASDAQ Index +17.28%
- The Russell 2000 Small cap Index +12.05%
- EAFE International Index +11.93%
- The 10 year treasury is currently yielding 2.30% and the 30 year is yielding 3.41%. Yields moved solidly higher for the week and are higher for the year.
Monday stocks added 1 point on light volume as China’s trade deficit increased and Italian 4th quarter GDP confirmed that they have move into a recession. There was little US data.
Tuesday stocks surged 25 points on moderate volume as retail sales were better than expected, small business optimism increased and the Federal Reserve held steady on their low-interest rate policy citing improvements in the economy. The Nasdaq index closed reached 3,000 for the first time since December of 2000 and is still a ways away from its all-time high of 5,048 in March of 2000.
Wednesday stocks lost 2 points on moderate volume as import prices missed, mortgage applications were lower for the 5th straight week and Gold dipped to a 2 month low. However, bank stress tests were mostly positive.
Thursday the index added 8 points on moderate volume as jobless claims continued to move lower, New York and Philadelphia manufacturing beat expectations and wholesale prices were in-line with expectations. The S&P 500 index reached 1,400 for the first time since June of 2008 but is still 10.5% below its all-time high of 1,565 reached in October of 2007.
Friday stocks added 2 points on heavy volume as consumer confidence and industrial production both dropped and February consumer prices were higher than expected due to rising gas prices.
Stocks surged through some levels this week that we have not seen in quite some time. The S&P 500 index reached the 1,400 level for the first time since June of 2008 and the Nasdaq cleared 3,000 for the first time since December of 2000. Both indexes are significantly below their all time highs yet.
US data continued to improve and data out of Europe was mostly positive as well giving the markets a chance to add to 2012 gains. As long as this remains the case markets should continue to do well. Oil prices were steady this week and for about the last month which should give consumers a break from rising gas prices.
Mortgage rates moved a little higher this week. The Schwab Bank 15-year rate is at 3.75% and the 30-year rate is at 4.375%. These rates are as of 03/16/2012 and assume a $250,000 conforming rate mortgage.
What to watch for on the economic calendar next week:
Monday – Housing Market Index
Tuesday – Housing Starts
Wednesday – Existing Home Sales
Thursday – Weekly Jobless Claims
Friday – New Home Sales
Ronald J. VanSurksum, CFP®
Advanced Asset Management, LLC
March 19, 2012