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Week in Review: That was some kind of week [Nov. 11-22]

The week that just concluded was some kind of week. There was turmoil (and massive losses) in the cryptocurrency market as FTX was outed for facing a liquidity crunch. The week ended with FTX Group stunningly filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That wasn’t even the half of it.

There was a wild midterm election on Tuesday, the final results of which are still unknown as of this writing. Reports suggest the GOP will manage to claim a majority in the House, yet some Senate races are still too close to call. In fact, it might take the December 6th runoff election in Georgia to determine if Democrats or Republicans have control of the Senate.

With the GOP likely holding a majority in the House, though, it is evident that the next few years likely won’t include any new major spending plans or tax hikes. In other words, there will be legislative gridlock for the next few years unless the two parties work together to avoid being labeled a “do nothing Congress.”

The stock market this week was anything but a “do nothing market.” It was filled with trading excitement that produced the best day for the market on Thursday since 2020, and some huge gains for the major indices – The Dow popped 1,200 points!

The main catalyst for the excitement was the October CPI report, which came in better than expected and much better than feared.

Briefly, total CPI increased 0.4% month-over-month in October while core-CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.3% month-over-month. The monthly changes left total CPI up 7.7% year-over-year, versus 8.2% in September, and core CPI up 6.3% year-over-year, versus 6.6% in September.

The key takeaway from the report wasn’t singular. It was manifold: (1) The report helped validate the peak inflation view. (2) The report is apt to compel the Fed to take a less aggressive rate-hike approach at the December FOMC meeting. (3) Some encouragement was borne out of the understanding that the shelter index (computed with a lag) contributed more than half of the monthly all items increase, suggesting price increases moderated in many other areas.

This welcome inflation news, combined with a huge drop in the dollar and market rates, launched an epic rally. The Nasdaq Composite for its part soared 7.4% on Thursday. Many of the beaten-up growth stocks made double-digit percentage moves, including Amazon.com (AMZN), but just about every stock came along for the CPI ride.

Growth stocks, though, were the favored rebound candidates as the 10-yr note yield dove 31 basis points to 3.84%. The 2-yr note yield, which is sensitive to changes in the fed funds rate, plunged 32 basis points to 4.31%.

Those moves were precipitated by changing rate-hike expectations. The fed funds futures market now sees an 83.0% probability of a 50-basis points rate hike at the December FOMC meeting (versus 56.8% before the CPI data) and a terminal rate of 4.75-5.00% by June (versus 5.00-5.25% before the CPI data).

The dollar got clobbered on those same shifting expectations. The U.S. Dollar Index fell a whopping 4.0% on the week to 106.42.

The drop in the dollar took some of the pressure off the multinationals and aided in the belief that downward revisions to 2023 earnings estimates may not be as severe as feared, assuming the weakness persists.

Another factor aiding that belief was a Bloomberg report that China relaxed quarantine guidelines for inbound travelers and is aiming to avoid city-wide testing when COVID transmission chains are clear. This news, which came on Friday, helped boost oil and copper prices.

It also added to the market’s newfound enthusiasm for a year-end rally. The S&P 500, which dipped below 3,500 following the disappointing September CPI report in mid-October, peeked its head above 4,000 on Friday and closed just below that level when the final bell for the week rang.

All 11 S&P 500 sectors logged a gain this week, none bigger than the information technology sector (+10.0%), which was driven by a huge comeback effort among the semiconductor stocks and by Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT). For the week, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index was up 14.9%.

Other standouts included the communication services (+9.2%), materials (+7.7%), real estate (+7.1%), consumer discretionary (+5.9%), and financial (+5.7%) sectors. The weakest performers were the defensive-oriented health care (+1.8%) and utilities (+1.4%) sectors.

 

Source: Briefing Investor

 

Mike Minter

Mike develops investment portfolio allocations, handles trading and rebalancing, and conducts research and analysis as a Portfolio Manager and Financial Advisor for the firm. As a perpetual student of investing and the markets, Mike considers himself obsessed with the subject. Mike has earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) and Certified Fund Specialist® designations. He is also an active member of the Houston chapter of the Financial Planning Association (FPA).   Read Mike’s Profile HereRead More Articles by Mike

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