Fall is looking pretty green. Stocks started October strong, climbing to new record highs once again, despite the devastating shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday evening, which claimed the lives of more than 50 people and injured over 500 others. The major indices all settled the week in the green with the Dow, the Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 adding 1.6%, 1.5%, and 1.2%, respectively.
This week’s bullish bias had its roots in last week’s run to record highs, which was sparked by the release of the GOP’s latest tax reform outline. The House kept the ball rolling this week by passing a budget that slashes government spending in anticipation of decreased tax revenue. The GOP still has a long way to go, but the market liked the progress.
Excited by the idea of a tax overhaul, the S&P 500’s financial sector climbed 1.9% this week to finish comfortably ahead of the broader market. The financial sector has added 10.6% since closing at a three month low on September 7 and now trades just a tick behind the benchmark index for the year.
Automakers were strong this week after reporting largely solid U.S. sales figures for the month of September, which were helped by the replacement of vehicles lost to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. General Motors (GM) showed particular strength, climbing 11.3%, after reporting a year-over-year increase of 12.0%.
Netflix (NFLX) also had a good showing, hitting a fresh all-time high, after UBS raised its target price to $225 from $190 and following news that the company will raise the price of its standard and premium video-streaming services. NFLX shares settled with a gain of 9.2%.
Equities did end the week on a down note, however, following a noisy Employment Situation Report for September. The market took the report with a grain of salt since it was tainted by the impacts of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, but it didn’t do much to alleviate rate-hike concerns nonetheless, showing an increase of 0.5% in average hourly earnings.
As a reminder, average hourly earnings growth, which is positively correlated with inflation, has been tepid in recent months, putting the Fed’s rate-hike forecast into question. However, following Friday’s jobs report, the market now strongly believes the U.S. central bank will hike rates one more time this year, thereby achieving its goal of three rate hikes in 2017.
The fed funds futures market places the chances of a December rate hike at 93.1%, up from last week’s 77.9%.
Source: Briefing Investor