Top Stories Last Week
- Global Equity Markets were Little Changed
Equity markets were little changed as Hurricane Sandy forced the NYSE to close for two days. On the week, Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 0.1%, MSCI EAFE index gained 0.1% and MSCI emerging market index rose by 0.6%. Gold continued its decline, down by 2.0% while the GSCI commodity index tumbled 2.1% as better-than-expected job reports lowered the probability of further monetary easing. In the bond markets, Barclays US Treasury index gained 0.2% while US high yield bond lost 0.1%.
- US Economy Added 171K Jobs in October
U.S. job growth sped up in October while the unemployment rate ticked higher as labor participation rate increased, offering signs of a steady but slow recovery as the presidential candidates make a final push ahead of next week’s presidential election. U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by a seasonally adjusted 171K jobs last month, better than the median economists’ forecast of 125K. The unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.9% as more Americans come back to the job markets.
- Hurricane Sandy Hit Northeast
A fierce Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast on Monday night, leaving more than 100 people dead, causing severe flooding on the Jersey shore and power outages for 8.5 million homes. The New York Stock Exchange was forced to close for two days. The New York public transportation and suburban transit systems were shuttered. New York’s largest airports were closed. The estimate loss of Hurricane Sandy is about $50 billion.
- US Housing Recovery is Gaining Momentum
Residential housing prices increased in the year ended August by the most in two years, a sign housing recovery is gaining momentum. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities rose 2% from August 2011, the biggest year-to-year gain since July 2010, after climbing 1.2% the prior month. The median forecast of 25 economists projected a 1.9% gain. The stabilization of housing markets will help boost the US economic growth.
Top Stories to Watch This Week
- US Election
Americans will choose their next president between Barak Obama and Mitt Romney on Tuesday. The race is expected to be very tight.
- Chinese Leadership Transition
China’s ruling Communist Party will hold congress to appoint a new generation of leaders.
- ECB and BOE Meetings
European Central Bank and Bank of England are widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged.
- More Earnings Reports
Retailers such as JC Penney, Kraft, Macy’s and Nordestrom are among the companies reporting quarterly earnings this week.