The Week In Review


The stock market ended a down week on a flat note. The S&P 500 surrendered a seven-point gain to end just above its flat line. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 1.0%, the Nasdaq fell 2.7%, and the Dow ticked up 0.1%.


Prior to the open, investors received the November Employment Situation report (178,000; consensus 180,000), which essentially matched estimates. It was a bit surprising to see a 0.1% decline in average hourly earnings ( consensus 0.2%), but with the year-over-year rate hovering at 2.5%, the market does not expect this report to alter the rate hike picture. In fact, the implied probability of a rate hike, as indicated by the fed funds futures market, increased to 97.2% from yesterday's 92.7%.


Equity indices climbed through the first two hours of action, but relative strength among four of five countercyclical sectors was not enough to offset losses in heavily-weighted groups like consumer discretionary (-0.6%), financials (-0.9%), and industrials (-0.1%).


The financial sector narrowed its weekly gain to 0.9%, responding to some flattening in the yield curve as the 10-yr yield slipped six basis points to 2.39%. Treasuries climbed alongside other sovereign debt, as participants employed caution ahead of a weekend constitutional reform referendum in Italy. Polls conducted before the blackout period pointed to a likely victory for the 'no' camp, which is expected to be met with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's resignation. It was reported throughout the week that the European Central Bank is ready to step up its purchases of Italian bonds if there is an increase in volatility. This understanding was likely the driving force behind today's strength in Italian debt that sent the country's 10-yr yield lower by 13 basis points to 1.91%.


The consumer discretionary space spent the day in a slow retreat with Starbucks (SBUX 57.21, -1.30) acting as an overhang. The stock settled lower by 2.2% after the company announced that Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz will be appointed Executive Chairman and a new CEO will be named. Elsewhere in the sector, other quick-service restaurant names and apparel names also struggled while homebuilders outperformed. Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG 400.03, -2.35), Yum! Brands (YUM 62.42, -0.27) both lost near 0.5% while Gap (GPS 24.30, -0.75) surrendered 3.0% after a disappointing same-store sales report. Homebuilders bucked the trend within the sector with the Dow Jones US Home Construction ETF (ITB 27.04, +0.03) adding 0.1%.


On the upside, rate-sensitive real estate (+1.2%) and utilities (+0.9%) were bolstered by the decline in Treasury yields, while the technology sector (+0.4%) rebounded from yesterday's weakness, but still lost 2.9% for the week. Chipmakers contributed to today's strength in the top-weighted group, sending the PHLX Semiconductor Index higher by 1.3%. The high-beta index narrowed this week's loss to 4.9%. The energy sector (+0.1%) also settled among the outperformers, benefitting from continued strength in crude oil. WTI crude climbed 1.2% to $51.68/bbl, settling just below its 2016 high ($51.93) that was notched in late October.


The energy sector gained 2.6% for the week, ending well ahead of the remaining sectors.


Today's participation was shy of the 200-day average of 926 million as 882 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.


Taking another look at the November Employment Situation Report:


Nonfarm payrolls increased by 178,000 ( consensus 180,000). Job gains have averaged 180,000 per month so far this year versus an average monthly increase of 229,000 in 2015.

October nonfarm payrolls revised to 142,000 from 161,000

Private sector payrolls increased by 156,000 ( consensus 170,000)

October private sector payrolls revised to 135,000 from 142,000

Unemployment rate was 4.6% ( consensus 4.9%) versus 4.9% in October

November average hourly earnings were down 0.1% ( consensus +0.2%) after being up 0.4% in October

Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen 2.5% versus 2.8% for the 12-month period ending in October

The average workweek was unchanged at 34.4 hours ( consensus 34.4)

The labor force participation rate was 62.7% versus 62.8% in October

Monday's economic data will be limited to the 10:00 ET release of November ISM Services ( consensus 55.6).


Russell 2000 +15.7% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average +10.0% YTD

S&P 500 +7.2% YTD

Nasdaq Composite +5.0% YTD

Week in Review: Win Streak Snapped


The stock market took a breather after three weeks of solid gains. The S&P 500 surrendered 1.0% for the week while the Nasdaq Composite continued its recent underperformance, falling 2.7%. It is worth noting that the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) eked out a slim gain, logging its fourth consecutive weekly advance.


The outperformance of the Dow has been a common theme since the election as market participants piled into stocks of companies that are expected to benefit from increased infrastructure spending. A portion of the gains in growth-sensitive areas has come at the expense of technology stocks, leading to relative weakness in the Nasdaq. In addition, there has been some speculation that the immigration policy of the next administration could make things a bit more difficult for tech employees to obtain work visas in the US.


The trading week was highlighted by OPEC securing an official agreement to lower production to 32.5 million barrels per day after months of speculation about the likelihood of an agreement being struck. Crude oil responded by rallying into the area of its 2016 high (51.93).


With oil returning to its best level of the year, the energy component is now in position to contribute to an uptick in inflation expectations. Those expectations have already seen a notable uptick since the election as participants piled into stocks that should benefit from infrastructure spending. The 10-yr note registered its fourth consecutive weekly loss, driving its yield up to 2.39% after marking a 17-month high at 2.49%.


On Friday, investors received the November Employment Situation report (178,000; consensus 180,000), but the release did little to change rate hike expectations even though average hourly earnings declined 0.1% ( consensus 0.2%). The fed funds futures market remains all but convinced (94.9%) that a rate hike will be announced on December 14.