The Week on Wall Street
Stock benchmarks declined for a second straight week as coronavirus news tempered risk appetite.
The S&P 500 fell 2.14% on the week. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 1.76%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 2.55%. Away from North America, developed markets slumped 2.24%, according to MSCI’s EAFE index.
The Fed Makes a Minor Move
The Federal Reserve left short-term interest rates alone at its January meeting, but it did make what Fed chairman Jerome Powell called a “small technical adjustment” in view of its continuing purchases of Treasuries. Wednesday, it slightly increased the interest rate paid to banks that park excess capital reserves at the Fed.
The move may give the Fed a bit more control over short-term rates this quarter and assist the operations of U.S. financial markets.
Encouraging New Consumer Data
Rising to 131.6 in January, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index reached its highest level since August. Consumer spending increased 0.3% in December, according to a new Department of Commerce report.
Economy Expanded at a 2.1% Pace in Fourth Quarter
The Bureau of Economic Analysis released this estimate Thursday. That number matches the gross domestic product of the third quarter and affirms that the U.S. avoided a fall slowdown.