Markets ended a fairly bullish week mixed, gaining in some sectors, while others fell to earnings jitters. The S&P 500 notched a new high, while the Dow finally reached a record close. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.11%, the Dow gained 0.29%, and the Nasdaq lost 0.54%. Earnings season hit the halfway point and some analysts are giving the performance a barely passing grade. While corporate profits are healthy, they are being achieved through cost cutting and accounting acrobatics rather than revenue growth. Barely half of S&P 500 companies that have reported in have beaten estimates, highlighting the fact that U.S. firms are still struggling with weak demand and slow economic growth.
Of course, there are some bright spots such as in the tech sector, where third-quarter earnings growth is expected to hit 5.81%, as compared to estimates of 2.6% at the beginning of the season. Consumer discretionaries are another strong point, led by double-digit growth from retailers.
The Federal Reserve held a scheduled FOMC meeting last week, but decided to delay any taper of its bond-buying program for another day. This was not unexpected since the government shutdown caused the delay of critical economic reports and data collection, leaving Fed economists without a clear picture of the current state of the economy. While the Fed has one more meeting left in 2013, it's looking increasingly unlikely that they'll initiate tapering while the country is still recovering from Washington's actions.
We expect that the earnings season will occupy investors' attention this week as they look for confirmation of the market rally. We'll also get a look at the October jobs report and an advance third-quarter GDP estimate. It's hard to know how investors will view these reports since the effects of the government shutdown will have skewed results. Although we don't yet have any complete information about the costs of the shutdown, one report suggests that it took a $24 billion chunk out of the economy. This may mean that fourth quarter growth may slow down and that people who lost wages may not be spending as much on holiday shopping.ECONOMIC CALENDAR:
Monday: Factory Orders
Tuesday: ISM Non-Mfg. Index
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: GDP, Jobless Claims
Friday: Employment Situation, Personal Income and Outlays, Consumer Sentiment, Ben Bernanke Speaks 3:30 PM ET
Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov . International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
U.S. factory growth fastest in 2 ½ years. The manufacturing sector expanded at its fastest pace since April 2011 in October. The growth was unexpected and could signal a strong start to the fourth quarter.
Eurozone inflation slumps to near four-year low. Inflation in Europe fell to 0.7% in October, shocking economists and increasing pressure on the ECB to ease policy to combat high unemployment.
Economists slash U.S. growth estimates. Economists cite the effects of the drawn-out government shutdown on economic activity and have cut their estimates of U.S. GDP growth in the 3rd and 4th quarter to 2.3% and 3.0% annualized growth, respectively.
Gasoline price volatility spikes. Local gasoline prices are swinging drastically due to fuel distribution problems. Refiners keep stocks of gasoline low to save money, increasing the system's vulnerability to temporary shocks that can affect prices. 
The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.
The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.
The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.
The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
Past performance does not guarantee future results.
You cannot invest directly in an index.
Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.
These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.
By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.